Gruner Veltliner isn’t the typical variety you are likely to see growing in the middle of Sonoma County. Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia are more what you may think of. Over 30% of the Gruner grown in the entire world is grown in Austria. Nate and Lauren Belden wanted to change that, believing their Belden Barns Sonoma Mountain estate vineyard could produce delectable, mineral-intense, vibrant wine from the cool-climate variety.
With a history that dates back to the mid-1800s, the team at Belden Barns believes that if you take care of the land, it will take care of you. Beginning the estate in 2005, planting garden vegetables, beans, and corn for producing cornmeal and popcorn, along with cool climate varieties, like Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Gruner Veltliner, the estate can be considered a one-stop farming shop.
Sitting at 1000 feet elevation, and planted in volcanic soils, Belden Barns Gruner Veltliner ($28) has a richness and complexity not found in some international versions of the variety, revealing a lovely complexity in the wine. The open reveals custom notes of pepper and herb, along with a nice richness and weight to the medium-bodied wine, thanks to 17 months of aging in neutral French oak and stainless steel. Ripe golden apple and honey meld with white pepper, spring pea shoots, and wild herbs, caressing the palate, ending with a lovely finish with great acidity.
A very different white tracing its roots back, as you said, to Austria.
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