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Gruner Veltliner

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It's Austria's most widely planted grape, accounting for about half that country's wine production. Even at rather high yields, it results in a refreshingly quaffable white. When the harvest is more limited, richness and complexity are added to the mix. Gruner Veltliner, or Gru-Vee as those dangerously more hip than I have dubbed it, is the hot ticket in the wine world. This time last year, only a very few examples were available in the Boise market. Now the craze has officially hit the valley with more than a dozen different bottles from which to choose. The timing could not be better—the 2006 vintage just hitting the shelves is considered an excellent one. Here are the panel's top picks:

2006 Buchegger Gruner Veltliner, $13.99

This wine has light but floral aromas with gooseberry and honeysuckle backed by ginger and currant as well as a nice creamy texture in the mouth that displays excellent balance between lightly sweet apple and pear, and crisper lemon and lime. The ginger comes through on the finish along with a subtle touch of fresh snap pea.

2006 Markowitsch Gruner Veltliner, $11.99

Enticingly spicy aromas are marked by sweet melon, mandarin orange and lime. Bright, forward fruit flavors—creamy citrus, melon and a light hit of peach—show remarkable persistence. There's a classic touch of fresh garden veggies both on the nose and in the mouth, while the finish is clean and refreshing with a nice touch of lemon zest.

2006 Pollerhof Gruner Veltliner, $12.99

On the richer side of the flavor and aroma spectrum, it's rich and spicy on the nose with stone fruit and summer squash. Bright and racy in the mouth, it offers unctuous peach and citrus fruit flavors backed by spice and white pepper. This one comes in an oversized one-liter bottle making it an undeniable bargain.

This week's panel included Rosemary Gray, Boise Co-op Wine Shop; David Kirkpatrick; Cindy Limber, Bardenay; Karen McMillin, Young's Market; Kevin Settles, Bardenay; and Leslie Young, Spirit Distributing.

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