The Grüner files: 2012 Lark Hill & Hahndorf Hill
|Half of the currently available Australian Gruners|
It’s been quite satisfying to watch the progression of these two wines over the last few vintages. Kinda like watching two little Austrian kids growing up (with Australian accents). This 2012 vintage release sees both in rich(er) form too, carrying a little more weight than the 2011 iterations. The wines seem to be more divergent this vintage too, which is similarly satisfying.
Because I’m particularly thorough (sometimes) I had these two blind, although from first whiff it’s patently obvious which wine was which. The 2012 Hahndorf Hill ‘Gru’ Grüner Veltliner (12.5% alc, $28) is built in more of a dry, lean and aromatic Federspiel style, the grapes picked over a number of days and fermented with both commercial and wild yeasts in a range of vessels.
Of the two this looks simpler, the nose carrying celery, mushroom, lemon and grapefruit over a pithy palate. It’s perhaps a more angular and shorter wine than the Lark Hill but with a sense of vibrancy to it that makes it quite refreshing, and certainly with more balance than many an Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc. Perhaps the biggest criticism is that it is a fraction indistinct, the young vines betrayed by a lack of varietal character. I’d still drink it though (well chilled, with mud crabs). 16.8/20 89/100
Conversely, the 2012 Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner (12.5% alc, $40) is a quite different beast. Rounder and riper smelling with white peach to go with that white pepper, yet also with a palate driven by grapefruit acidity. This tastes, to mine, much more varietal (and Austrian) in its palate profile than the Hahndorf, initially fleshy, texturally peachy and ripe before then getting tighter and more phenolic through the finish. I much preferred this Lark Hill, although it is perhaps looks a little less bouncy and vibrant than the Adelaide Hills wine. From what was a hard 2012 vintage this is a pretty tasty wine. 17.5/20 91/100