Ingrid Groiss - 2015 Grüner Veltliner, Pankraz
Out of stock
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein
On the Details
The details included on our website are meant to serve as general notes and don’t precisely represent all the infinite details that go into the crafting of a wine and how it will ultimately develop over time. The majority of the people we represent in our wine portfolio grow their own grapes and make their own wines, but they don’t open a recipe book and follow it no matter what the season presents. Deeply committed winegrowers evolve and embrace constant change because no season is the same as another; they use intuition and intimate knowledge of their vineyards, past vintages and the growing season to make thoughtful and often spontaneous adjustments that suit each year.
Many times I’ve heard winegrowers and winemakers give different explanations or specific details about the same wine on separate occasions; even for them it’s difficult to keep track of all the tiny details from one wine to the next, and year to year. So, which “fact” should we present and how do we pinpoint such a thing when it’s a constantly moving target?
The reality is that we are simply unable to cover such technical details with true accuracy. There is too much variation from one parcel to the next, from genetic advantage and health between vines in the same row, vintage-to-vintage, how the winegrower managed certain moments during the growing season (like pruning, canopy management, cluster selection, etc.), treatments and the dates they were implemented along with how much of each type they sprayed at what precise moment and why, or how much they added of something to the wine (such as sulfites), and all the other off-the-cuff decisions made during the wine’s creation.
On Tasting Notes
How does a wine taste one day after it was bottled, or two months, a year, ten years, or glass by glass and taste by taste? A taste of wine is merely a snapshot in time from that specific bottle which has been influenced differently in one way or the other either by temperature changes, travel, the cork, the glassware it’s served in, how long it’s been open and how we serve it. Was the glass topped up while descriptions were being written, thereby changing the expression of the previous two ounces and rendering those descriptions suddenly less relevant in the mind of the taster? The same might be asked as to whether it was decanted before analysis; both change a wine’s expression and not in a small way for those with a highly tuned palate. What if the taster was tasting on an empty stomach? Or during a meal? Or after eating? All of these contexts elicit various reactions to wine, including a different set of chemical reactions in our mouths.
What if the taster was in a particular mood when they analyzed a wine that everyone seemed to love and they can’t figure out why they don’t feel the same? What was the weather like the day it was tasted, drank, assessed or judged? For those who follow the Biodynamic calendar, was it a root, leaf, flower or fruit day, and did it change when the clock struck 3:00pm from a fruit day to leaf day and did thisreally impact the wine or did they just think it did because Maria Thun’s Biodynamic calendar suggested it would? Did they find that the wine tasted unexpectedly fruity which was strange because it was a leaf day? Did they taste only the first, middle or last parts of a bottle? Everyone who knows anything about a good wine knows that its least profound moment (although still good) is when the cork is first pulled, and the most inspiring during the last sips. Wine is alive and full of change and so are we; so was it the wine that changed, or the taster?
It’s impossible to present every detail accurately, to tell the full psychoanalytical story of a single vintage, lot, bottle, glass or taste. And once we have all the details, what will we do with them? Yet I understand the desire to get all the answers as the means and method in which to connect the dots of contemplation, study and enjoyment created by our life experiences through wine. The meaning of life can be glimpsed through its nuances, as it can through many other things.
The best I can do is share what I’ve observed along with what the winegrowers or other tasters have also noted. The wines we represent show a range of moments from their gestation in the cellar to the time they were a few months old, all the way up until the day they developed into adolescents with all their potential laid bare. I will attempt to bring to light a wine’s consistencies through many bottles in different settings and moments, starting from the first tastes out of barrel in raw and unfinished form. It’s not possible to satisfy every curiosity, but I hope that I can furnish compelling observations to think on and which might serve to lead us further into the rabbit hole we all keep going down together.
Terroir: The Weinviertel is many things to Austrian wine country: its northernmost region, highest volume production, perhaps its most extreme climate with freezing winters and cold summer nights with sometimes scorching and dry summer days, the lowest precipitation and soil types/structures that can change from meter to meter with a range of loess, sand, gravels, primary rock, limestone marls, radiolite chert, conglomerates and more—all depositions from former times by seas that came and went followed by the Danube River (called Urdonau then) which once flowed through. The Groiss vineyards are located in the western end of the Weinviertel, principally in Fahndorf and Breitenwaida, on hilly countryside where the climate is on the extreme side of high to low temperatures with very suitable well-drained but deep alluvial soils and little to no bedrock.
The ubiquity of the word “terroir” in wine nomenclature renders this category the most obvious. It’s the goal in this snapshot to bring to light some (but not all) of the details that influence a wine’s characteristics. Not every terroir description within our range of technical sheets will have the same information—how boring if it was all the same—and throughout our collection it’s our hope that there is information that stimulates new avenues of thought.
The general climate and overview of the region and how it relates to other parts of the wine world is addressed on the website above the bottle photo of the wine page you are on, and within each producer’s profile page.
Vinification: Once the grapes are received a pre-fermentation maceration of the grapes is made and the amount of time based on their health and what the year brought (cold vintages longer, warm vintages less) and usually spans about 6-18 hours. Sulfites are added as late as possible and never in the grape must; this allows some of the more unstable phenols to oxidize there and not later in the wine which helps the wine's resistance to oxidation later. Some sulfite additions won’t be made for longer than 3 months and is based on how turbid the wine remains; the more turbidity the less need for sulfite protection so once the wine begins to fall clear she will add it. Grapes are 70% destemmed before press and a natural fermentation is made with 20% uncrushed whole clusters in used 500l barrels; max temperature 22-25C. Malolactic happens (less than 10%) but not desired.
This is the kind of information one would typically expect to find on a tech sheet. Each detail included on ours is based on the general practice in the cellar with more of a macro overview and not the quantum mechanics of each wine. There are some details included that may not seem consequential, but we’ve included them because we believe they are important when considering some intricacies of a wine and its potential stability.
Details like sulfite addition and its timing get into the many endless rabbit holes you can go down since there’s so much to say about them. Some of the more obvious implications (at least to the experienced wine professional) include whether whole clusters are fully or partially used in red wine, or not at all; fermentation times, which is not a perfect assessment here, because there is always a variation of days from one vintage to the next; the amount of extractions per day/week/total and how the producers extracts (rack and return, pumpovers, punchdowns, pushdowns by hand, or infusion—all have varying levels of extraction), a very important detail during the process which can ultimately influence to a great degree the color, tannin, weight and other elements within a wine’s final characteristics; fermentation temperatures, which can ultimately focus a wine in one direction or the other—for example, low fermentation temperatures tend to bring out the fruitiness of a wine, while higher temperatures bring to the forefront early in the wine’s life more secondary and tertiary qualities. The list seems infinite, but what I include is deliberate and not meant to be routine in its implication.
Aging: 10-12 months in 500-liter Austrian oak barrels (not new, but not so old). Fined with bentonite and plate filtered before bottling.
The cellar aging is one of the more obvious inclusions in this information detail. I won’t go into too many specifics about the consequences of each choice such as aging vessel types and the length of time within them; it would require writing an entire book on the subject since there is much to consider.
The information in this section includes details that begin from about the time the wine has finished its primary (alcohol) fermentation and/or secondary (malolactic) fermentation to the moment it’s put into the bottle, including whether the wine has been fined and/or filtered.
This area of our product description has nothing to do with technical information but rather a subjective look into the wine in its earliest stages from when we’ve tasted it in vat and discussed its tendencies with the winegrower, to tasting the wines shortly after bottling and perhaps some years after the vintage date. In any case, it’s imperative to take note that these assessments are largely based on young wines and not specifically what they may become with plenty of time in the cellar. It’s also important to note that the information in this section is not vintage specific.
Many of a wine’s youthful characteristics may hold up to some degree over time, but there are too many potential scenarios for each (and every individual bottle and taste from a particular bottle as it opens up in the glass, and many other factors, like our mood or the weather—see our sort of disclaimer here) to change in unexpected ways. When one considers a wine’s natural balance in certain vintages, how it was crafted, how much sulfur was added and how it was handled after bottling makes it difficult to know where it’s headed after its first couple of years; some wines in their youth are vigorous but can quickly fall flat. There are techniques deliberately employed to give a forceful display of pleasure and intrigue when young, but are not equipped to stand the test of time with that seductive youthful energy fully intact. On the other side, many wines are not extroverted in their early years but blossom into a glorious artistic interpretation that remains true to its terroir and can give goosebumps, or inexplicably bring us back in time to smells from our childhood. Our categorization of each wine is not made by a single taste of a specific vintage but an assessment of what we have noticed, or what other tasters and especially the winegrowers, have contributed to our experience with the wine; who knows the wine better than the one who raised if from bud break to bottle and has analysed every nuance and tendency and the conditions in the vineyard and cellar as it evolved?
As much as anything in this section, I’ve attempted to add a few more dimensions (at risk of being too abstract and/or personal) to the shape of the wine. There are more common descriptors like Acidity, Tannin and Body, all of which are important and more easily understood, but they leave too many supporting dimensions like Finish, Intensity, Core and Texture that bring the wine out of a one or two dimensional view and into 3D.
A range of descriptors for each of these categories could go on forever and there are many creative words that may be more apt than what was chosen. That said, I’ve decided to at least keep the range within each category simple.
There are largely only three words, and sometimes four, that separate each with a dash between them. Some wines exist all the way to one side of this simplified range and are bolded only where it seems to fit in. Others have two, or rarely all three bolded, and I hope that the implication is obvious that when there are numerous descriptions bolded that the wine seems to fit in a more broad range, or somewhere in-between the two words.The most important thing to consider is that the wines are calibrated to my palate and it’s likely to not be consistent with yours. However, my goal is to at least be consistent so when you taste a wine categorized as having a dense core, instead of a lithe one, or an electric intensity instead of subtle, you at least have an understanding of what it may be like be on one side of the spectrum instead of the other. In this way you can theorize to some degree what some different dimensions of a wine may be like if you’re familiar with some wines we work with already that have been assessed.
Often there are many of these categories that are bolded together and this is simply to say that the wine is likely to be a great drink at many moments in its evolution and may also have a track record of proof. When is the optimal moment for a wine is up to the taster; not everyone likes aged wines nor does everyone like young wines, so to each their own! I’ve simply attempted to give a clue based on whether the wine was built for the long, medium or short haul. When Unknown is selected, it’s an indicator that while I love the wine (otherwise we wouldn’t import it!) I have no experience with it other than it tasted great young and I don’t know much more than that.
The three categories chosen represent an oversimplified grouping (like most of the details included) of each producer based on their general approach to wine. There is not one category that is better than another, they’re simply different.
The inspiration to use these words to classify the polar opposites of one’s approach to wine comes from the centuries old debate of nature versus nurture. Without completely attempting to breakdown and rebuild the concept, I suppose if we consider the parallel of parenting children, this may (or may not) be an easy way to understand the idea.
Most of us know the helicopter parent who must always be in control and overprotective to make sure their child doesn’t get hurt by something around them, or enjoy a piece food they happened to pick up off the ground and put in their mouth. This parent (the nurturer) also has a plan and intends to execute it with accuracy and little room for negotiation while employing as much knowledge to ameliorate any risk around any conceivable corner and to protect their child even to the point of potentially suppressing their true personality.
The naturalist (listed under the category naturer) is the opposite. They see their child grab the food off the floor and watch to see what happens knowing it won’t hurt them if they taste it and wait to see whether they like it before stepping in to stop them from grabbing the next morsel. They’re likely to give the children the opportunity to figure it out for themself and allow nature a stronger say in the development of the child, or for our purposes, the wine. These are the winegrowers who embrace random developments in the name of discovery, and sometimes they are willing to push the limits and let the wines take on undesirable characteristics in order to open up the possibility to uncover something pure and honest. In this case maybe the flaws are understood but left alone because if the treatment of it means destroying the terroir or something unusually curious, they may not want to move to correct the wine in the cellar. Sometimes the risk is well calculated and the wines bounce back, other times they don’t, but at least it’s just wine and not a kid.
We work with a band of winemakers who march to the beat of their own drum. Some are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, but most play somewhere in-between. We have no problem embracing the full monty naturalist or the overprotective nurturer, but we have our limits on both ends.
Every detail counts when it comes to a wine’s vineyard soil. Soil constitution can be divided into a few basic but distinguishing categories that play a role in shaping the wine and some are more significant than others: bedrock type, soil composition (what is that dirt actually made of), depth and grain size (clay, silt, sand, gravel, cobbles and/or boulders). These factors determine soil nutrition and water retentive abilities which influence the shape and taste of a wine. The soil is also one of the reasons specific grapes were chosen; for example, in Austria, Grüner Veltliner thrives better in soils with a high water retentive capacity and easy access to nutrients, while Riesling develops its complexity in poor soils and a much more stressful environment to find its peak expression.
For winegrowers who minimize manipulation in the cellar and vineyards in order to give voice to the terroir the soil becomes paramount. Consequently some consistent patterns emerge from different wine regions around the world grown on similar soil types and experienced tasters often find those links in blind tastings. The connection between soil and wine remains one of the most consistent qualities/traits of a vineyard and its resulting wine despite the influence (or non-influence) of those who crafted it. It’s also one of wine’s great somewhat unsolved mysteries.
The farming section is broken down into four different farming categories that explain in simple terms the way we view the cultivation of grapes.
The first is sustainable farming, an approach with a large interpretation between those who use an endless supply of synthetic treatments in their vineyards and others who only use treatments only if absolutely necessary. We have no interest in working with domaines/brands on the extreme and careless side of conventional farming. The producers we largely represent are vignerons, which is to say that they work in their own vineyards and are in touch with what it needs and doesn’t need, and they craft their wines from the grapes they grow.
Many of our producers categorized under sustainable farming work with organic and biodynamic treatments, however they are not certified because they want the flexibility to do what they feel they need to in order to keep their business healthy, which of course seems perfectly rational. Imagine if you lost your entire income for a year simply because you thought you should adhere a strict dogmatic approach to something in your life. Would you take such a risk when you know it could cost you so dearly, impacting everyone in your family and those who put their faith in you as their employer?
Much of our work as importers is to visit vineyards (after all that’s where good vignerons spend most of their time), not just taste the new wines and quickly move on to the next appointment. As the curator of our portfolio, I have visited the vineyards of every producer in our collection—some every year—to observe whether they are using any kinds of topical treatments, like herbicides or pesticides. The best time to see whether they are being honest about herbicidal treatments is in the spring, and that’s why I usually go then to visit the vineyards. The most difficult treatments to observe with certainty are systemic treatments (those which are not contact treatments, but are taken into the plant’s tissues to resist nature’s challenges), but I’ve always made it a point to ask our growers directly and it doesn’t take but a second to know if they’ve used them before they even say a word.
I’ve had many enlightening conversations and debates with growers and scientists about the use of synthetic treatments in vineyards and it seems there’s no effective way in which to grow grapes and make wine that doesn’t have some level of negative environmental impact, even within natural wine practices. Perhaps to the dismay of us idealists, there are many compelling arguments for the use of certain synthetic treatments in vineyards when compared to the impact imposed by the constraints of organic or biodynamic certification, and it’s a tough argument one way or the other once the research is presented.
I have come to the point where I believe that what is crucial is that the one who crafts the wine works in the vineyards to understand its specific challenges. It’s their experience and knowledge of a plot’s tendencies that gives them the knowledge to measure applications with precision instead of carpet bombing with something that can do more harm than good.
If we look at the organic and biodynamic practices honestly, the treatments seem ideologically correct when we consider what’s better for our bodies, but it’s hard to say that it’s ecologically sound if it’s required to use two to four times as much copper sulfate (a heavy metal that kills microbial life in topsoil and pollutes water systems) and sulfur treatments in the vineyards as a precision, sustainably farmed vineyard. Furthermore, unless these methods are done by hand it's three times as much tractor exhaust, maintenance and vehicle replacement, which contributes to the oil industry through more tires, oil and gas, and to the metal, mining and plastic industry (and there's more) which obviously causes more pollution, degrades the earth’s resources and speeds up the rate at which we are indirectly killing animal and plant life on our planet, including future wine drinkers. Maybe sustainable is the way to go if we place our planet above our personal ideals (and perhaps our health), but that’s an ethical decision each of us has to make. As importers of wine, we have our hands as dirty as anyone else’s with the methods needed to get wine from a European cellar to the table in the US.
Organic Farming category is one that we’ve reserved for those who maintain a certificate of organic farming within the governing body of the country in which they grow the wine. There is great sacrifice in both effort and money to maintain this kind of certification and we want to respect it. There are many out there who use organic methods without fail but do not carry the certification, who we’ve placed into our “Uncertified Naturalist” category. We may not agree with the merit of the certificate on all fronts (the most common complaint is that it’s mostly a paperwork check and little to do with someone qualified to survey vineyards to see if it’s really being done organically) and we know that all who maintain it don’t do an equal level of work in the vineyard as others with the certificate, but that’s not a consideration of ours for this category. It’s simply a matter of fact that the producer must carry a certificate to be noted as organic.
The same approach applies for the Biodynamic Farming as the Organic Certification category. If there is no certification by either Demeter, Biodyvin or another entity that certifies biodynamic farming (I don’t know of others, but perhaps they exist), then the producer/wine will not be included in this category even if they fully adhere to all the relevant practices, they are reserved for the Uncertified Naturalist category.
Our Uncertified Naturalist is an in-house category we’ve created where we place our growers who work in an enlightened way, including a commitment to using only certified organic, biodynamic or a completely natural products for any vineyard treatments. They may or may not follow some organic or biodynamic principles such as monitoring lunar cycles, but what’s important is that they are in touch with their land and have great reverence for nature and that it’s obvious when we observe their vineyards in person and ask the hard questions. These are producers whose vineyards I have in fact seen first-hand and believe them to be honest about their claims, not only by their word but also by an obvious biodiversity of nature (the biggest clue) in their vineyards. This category includes many of our so-called “natural wine” producers, but is not at all limited to them.
This category is subdivided into Forbidden, Never and Sometimes. The first implies that it’s against the regional wine law, the second that it isn’t forbidden but not needed or never used, and the last pertains to those who use it when necessary.
This detail has been included for no other reason than to stimulate thought and discussion about the subject. It’s an interesting debate and there are many good perspectives on all sides. Whether it’s important to the quality of a wine or not is up for grabs and we are always open to try to understand different viewpoints.
Irrigation is worth noting because there are many places in the world where it’s forbidden by law, like much of France; most believe it’s still completely forbidden there but in some regions, especially in the south, growers are now able to attain legal permission in the wake of climate change. For example, many of the stony limestone vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are being irrigated, and some believe these zones shouldn’t have been included in the appellation altogether for this reason.
Dry farming is the practice of not using supplemental irrigation but relying completely on the rainfall (and subterranean water) that occurs on the plot of land being farmed. In theory (a word I feel obliged to use when speaking about wine concepts), dry farmed vineyards are likely to develop deeper root systems than those that are artificially irrigated. Roots grow to where the water flows and vines won’t work hard for water if they don’t need to. If going deep is the only option for survival, they will dig.
Drip irrigated vines often tend to have clustered root systems at the surface where the water supply is located, especially when the frequency is very regular and the length of time of the drip short. Frequent shallow irrigations in one particular spot will keep roots from working deeper into the soil, and in theory miss possible opportunities to uptake soil components deeper below the surface that could potentially increase the complexity of the grapes. However, in more attentive and precise agricultural approaches to those who value a soil’s contribution to the complexity of a wine may consider irrigating for longer periods with bigger gaps in frequency, simulating a somewhat natural rainfall. This will saturate deeper below the topsoil and if the soil has good water retentive capacity, it will develop a reserve the roots can dig deep to reach.
Dry farmed vines with more deeply developed root systems have the benefit of not relying on an unnatural water supply because of their access to water deep below the surface, so they can weather a drought on their own. However, the climate is changing and dry farming may no longer be so easily taken for granted in some parts of the world.
According to soil scientist and California vintner, Ryan Stirm, late season compensation for drought by the use of artificial irrigation may—depending on how the root systems have developed—promote more vegetative growth via the hormone auxin, which tricks the vine and keeps it growing and developing more sugar in the fruit at the expense of ripening the seeds. Physiologically, dry-farming naturally balances the plant hormone cycles throughout the year and saves an enormous expense and can potentially make more compelling wine with deeper complexity in certain elements. This is not to say that wines grown with artificial irrigation are not complex, but perhaps express their complexities in different ways.
As mentioned before there are regions where irrigation is forbidden by law, and those where it’s permitted but the winegrower doesn’t apply it or isn’t even equipped to do so if it’s needed. The last category, “Sometimes,” is not a mark indicating good or bad. I believe that conscious winegrowers interested in quality are prudent with this countermeasure to drought but they likely understand the pros and cons on both sides of the theoretical argument.
This information won’t be revamped every year unless something has changed significantly in the grower’s practice. Therefore, all chemistry details in this section are not vintage specific and will be supplied within a range of what is common. Of course, one can deduce where the scales are tipped beyond the range if a vintage was extremely cold or hot. Some of the lab numbers were not attainable, either because the grower didn’t have them, doesn’t test for them, or didn’t want to share them. However, if the question was posed and unanswered the category will be filled with N/A. If it hasn’t yet been posed it will remain empty.
Titratable Acidity (g/L):
Residual Sugar (g/L):
Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Ingrid Groiss
Other Ingrid Groiss Wines
More: Mineral, Elegant and Aromatic White wines similar to this one.
- Fred Prinz
2015 Riesling, Hallgarten Jungfer, Kabinett$31.00
- Joh. Bapt. Schafer
2015 Riesling, Trocken$24.00
- Font du Loup
2017 Cote de Rhone Blanc$24.00
- Poderi Colla
2015 Langhe Riesling$30.00
- Isle Saint Pierre
2016 Bouches du Rhône, Blanc$12.00
- Pierre Morey
2015 Bourgogne Aligote$24.00
2017 Monzinger Riesling Kabinett$40.00
- Chateau Cremade
2010 Palette Blanc$42.00
- Pierre Morey
2015 Bourgogne Blanc$45.00
- Cantina Madonna delle Grazie
2016 Mediteranee Blanc$14.00
- Weingut Tegernseerhof
2017 Gruner Veltliner, ‘Superin’ Federspiel$27.00
- Bruno Clair
2016 Marsannay Blanc$53.00
2015 Lenz Riesling$30.00
- Clos Salomon
2015 Montagny “Le Clou”$30.00
- Domaine Coursodon
2017 Saint Joseph Blanc, ‘Silice’$50.00