This Austrian grape continues to be a trendy favorite and with good reason. It creates an exceptionally versatile white wine that pairs well with everything from spicy Asian to poached fish, and it's a refreshing alternative to chardonnay on a hot summer day. While there are some bottlings of gruner that are on the richer side and meant to age well, the intro offerings featured here are for immediate enjoyment. A big plus is that they come in a larger 1-liter bottle, giving you one third more than the typical 750-ml bottle.
2009 Burger Gruner Veltliner, $12.99
One of the valley's first gruners from the exceptional 2009 vintage, Burger mixes of sweet lemon and sour cherry on the nose, along with layers of mango, lime, pepper, spice and basil. This is an exceptionally well-balanced wine with enticing fruit flavors of peach, papaya, gooseberry and lime. Peppery orange zest comes through on the persistent finish.
2008 Eckker Gruner Veltliner, $10.99
This wine opens with beautifully perfumed aromas that are highlighted by pear and lime and backed by fragrant honeysuckle with just a hint of mineral. The palate is round and racy with ripe lime fruit flavors colored by subtle pineapple and lemon zest. The finish is bright and refreshing and offers a clean hit of tart citrus.
2008 Hugl Gruner Veltliner, $12.99
The nose is an intriguing mix of fruit and veggies with lime and kumquat on the fruit side and fresh spring greens on the veggie, colored by a spicy dash of white pepper. Lithe and lively citrus flavors drive the palate, but they're backed by rich touches of gooseberry and creamy blood orange. A light minerality marks the finish.