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Looking through the aisles of my favorite wine shops I spied an intriguing green one-liter package, dressed simply, with an informative but unassuming label. It was a Grüner Veltliner, a category of wine, not a private label, I was guilty of not tasting often enough. I was drawn to it and became increasingly interested in making this Grüner Veltliner my homework, wanting to know more about the winemaker and bottle’s contents.

Berger—the producer—boldly marked in forty-eight-point font across the poster-esque label was not initially familiar to me. Just south of the dwarfed graphic and varietal name there was the trademarked tattoo of a “Terry Theise Selection, ” an importer responsible for some of my favorite French (mostly sparkling), German and Austrian white wines. It was enough to know two things: The wine would be available through Winewise Distributors for my own wine shop, and the importer read as a guarantee of quality. I purchased a bottle for no more than fourteen dollars, to support the shop and to continue my research.

I chilled the vessel down and pulled up a website where I could glean a little bit more before I tasted. I also selected an album in the interim I thought would be complimentary to the zesty Austrian wine—Lionel Hampton’s Decca Recordings.

So… by the Austrian numbers… when cold enough, I uncapped the crown top, eagerly pouring my first glass, gave my Reidel Overture series wineglass a few revolutions to release more esters, brought the stemware to my nose. I inhaled deeply, picking up a lot of citrus fruits and something reminiscent of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, and drank a sip. Like most of the information I found on Erich and Michaela Berger’s entry level 2010 Grüner Veltliner it wasn’t loaded with complexity but then that misses the point. From nose to mouth, I sipped, closing my eyes, while the vibes sounded in the background; I tasted a melody of fresh Meyer lemon, light minerals and a slightly herbaceous note that reaffirmed that Cel-Ray perfume.

My first Grüner in a while was a great experience, fit for the oncoming inferno of July and August—in Los Angeles—but I wouldn’t relegate the crisp and vibrant Austrian white wine just to the pool or the beach. I thought instantly of its pairing prowess—bevy of dishes like flaky white sea bass or some savory mushroom and herb pastas came springing to mind. For a simple white wine it afforded bounteous opportunities, whetting my appetite for more experimentation with the Austrian varietal and bookmarking it as a candidate for an everyday sipper.

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