WWoW:Darcie Kent, Rava’s Black Jack Vineyard, Monterey County Gruner Veltliner, 2009
I am (admittedly so) a sucker for wines made with grapes grown outside of their country of origin. I am fascinated by the thought of it. I admire the vintners and growers that take risks on doing such and I become giddy
with anticipation before tasting these wines. The purists will scoff and turn their nose up at the very thought but some of these wines are downright exciting! Tasting different varietals out of their normal context is a great way to give you and your palate perspective and some real insight into the true character of that particular grape. So, in the spirit of adventure this week we get into a bottle of Darcie Kent Gruner Veltliner from Monterey County, California.
‘A Gruner from California, you say?!?!’ Yep, that’s right. Gruner Veltliner’s usually hail from Austria; cool climate wines that exhibit a racy acidity (I’ve learned that when writing about acidity in wine the word ‘racy’ is employed a lot, so I am jumping on the bandwagon…until I can think of a suitable alternative…I am pondering ‘zippy.’), delicious green apple and citrus flavors with a subtle (…or not so subtle) hint of spice. These are usually fantastic food wines, deservedly so. GV’s became the Sommelier’s darling about ten years ago and remain in favor. I am a fan of their crispness and I have forsaken Sauvignon Blanc as my go-to summer wine to be with my dearest GruVe. That being said, some of these wines can be too austere; too much ZIPPY acidity and not much else. This is certainly not a problem with Darcie Kent’s Gruner Veltliner!
Darcie Kent is an artist and winemaker, in fact I am told that she paints all of her own labels. Darcie and her husband founded Darcie Kent Winery in 1996, in Livermore’s Crane Ridge Foothills. They focus on hand-crafted, limited production, single vineyard wines. Their 2009 Rava’s Black Jack Vineyard Gruner Veltliner is one of these wines. It has a wonderful nose of citrus, leaning heavily on the lime notes. That crisp citrus continues on the palate and leads into some white fruit flavors. I immediately noticed that the mouth feel was a bit different for a Gruner. This wine actually has body. It is medium in weight and finishes with almost tropical notes. It is a much riper version than its Austrian pen pal but still possesses all of its good qualities. Good acid, good fruit but with an added richness. This Gruner Veltliner does nothing to dispel the fact that these are fantastic food wines. Pair this with seafood of the shellfish variety and you cannot go wrong!
So go ahead, crawl out on that limb and reward yourself. GRU-VE!
Robert Wailes is the manager and head Adult Beverage Consultant for Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick bar in New Orleans. He has been interested in wine and adult beverages for as long as he can remember (seriously!).