jamie goode's wine blog: Gruner with and without added sulfur dioxide

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gruner with and without added sulfur dioxide

Even 'natural' winemakers have to add stuff to wine - almost always. While wine pretty much makes itself without much in the way of additions, one chemical - sulfur dioxide - is pretty hard to do away with. It's almost universal use in wine is because it has the useful dual action of inhibiting the growth of unwanted microbes and preventing oxidation. There's quite a bit more to it than this, but the long and short of it is that if you try to make wine without sulfur dioxide additions, you run the risk of it being spoiled.

The two wines I'm drinking tonight are therefore of real interest. They're both Gruner Veltliners from the same producer and the same vineyard, but one was made conventionally, with normal sulfur dioxide addition, and the second without any. It's not a totally straight comparison because the vintages are different, but still it's interesting to see how the wines differ. I intend to ask Nikolaus Moser why he's trying to make wine without sulfur dioxide, and what he's hoping to gain from this approach, but first I wanted to try the wines. My verdict? They're both great wines, but completely different in style.

Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Schnabel 2006 Kremstal, Austria
A classic Gruner, this has a lovely peppery freshness with richer textural elements to the fruit. There's some bright minerality and fresh acidity on the palate, keeping this from being fat, and combined with the smooth, rich texture it makes for quite a compelling wine that should age nicely in bottle. Pure, refined and expressive. 91/100

Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Schnabel 'Minimal' 2005 Kremstal, Austria
This wine, made without any added sulfur dioxide, is pretty wild stuff. There's a hint of cloudiness to the yellow/golden colour. On the nose, spicy, slightly peppery fresh notes are combined with richer, toasty, vanilla, bready elements to create a warm, complex whole. The palate has really nice tangy, minerally acidity under the warm toasty, bready notes. There's also some tannic structure here, which is unusual in whites. Extremely food friendly and quite complex, with a pleasant sort of reductive character. Who knows how this will develop, but it's quite serious and thought provoking now. 92/100

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At 6:32 PM, Blogger The Food Traveller said...

Really inteersting.
I wondewhere I could order some in europe to try myself.

At 3:15 AM, Anonymous malcolmwilliamson said...


Welcome back from the Antipodes.

I'm encouraged by these TNs to do the same comparison but have had no luck in tracking the wines down.

Is Decanter correct in stating they're 'not available in the UK'?

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These two premium wines from estate Sepp Moser are, as a matter of fact, both available in the UK, however just in small quantities. They produce just 200 cases of this wine for the whole world. Try their UK importer is www.boutinot.com


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