Columnist, Food

★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are five grüner veltliners available in the Washington area that demonstrate the range and quality of this grape. Local importer Klaus Wittauer, of KW Selection, offers the best range of grüner available locally. Wittauer recently changed distributors in the District, Maryland and much of Virginia, so these wines may be more widely available than reflected here.

Steininger Grand Grü Kamptal Reserve 2012

★ ★ ★

Kamptal, Austria, $25

This is a subtle wine, ripe and fleshy in texture, yet it grows on you as you pay attention to its flavors after swallowing. It will make nearly any food taste better, though it stands alone quite proudly. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.

KW Selection; Siema in the District, Maryland, and central and southern Virginia; Select Wines in Northern Virginia: Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese and Twisted Vine in Arlington; Balducci’s, Le Tastevin and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton; Vienna Vintner in Vienna; Wine Cabinet in Reston.

Anton Bauer Grüner Veltliner Rosenberg 2012

★ ★ 1 / 2

Wagram, Austria, $19

Anton Bauer produces a range of grüners priced from about $10 to $28, all of them good. His single-vineyard bottlings, called Gmörk, Rosenberg and Spiegel, serve as an affordably priced tutorial in the subtle differences among vineyard sites. They progress in vine age as they move up the hillside, with Spiegel at the top. The Rosenberg offers textbook grüner flavors of lemon grass and chalk, with floral talc sprinkled in. ABV: 12.5 percent. 

KW Selection; Siema in the District, Maryland, and Central and Southern Virginia; Select Wines in Northern Virginia: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits and Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s (Bethesda), Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Balducci’s, Le Tastevin and Unwined in Alexandria; Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton; Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church; Wegmans (various locations), Whole Foods Market (various locations).

Leth Grüner Veltliner Steinagrund 2012

★ ★ 1 / 2

Wagram, Austria $16

Classic grüner flavors of talc and lemon grass, with star fruit, quince and maybe even a hint of jasmine tossed in. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Bacchus: Available in the District at DCanter, Dean & DeLuca, Lion’s Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s; on the list at Birch & Barley, Blue Duck Tavern, Floriana, Old Ebbitt Grill, Palena, Vidalia. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits and Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits and Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, Montgomery County Liquor Store in Potomac, Pine Orchard Wine, the Wine Bin in Ellicott City, Wine Merchant in Lutherville, Wine World Beer & Spirits in Abingdon.

Gobelsburger Grüner Veltliner 2012

★ ★

Kamptal, Austria, $19

Schloss Gobelsburg is one of importer Terry Theise’s top grüner producers, and its single-vineyard grüners and Rieslings are worth seeking out on restaurant wine lists. The Gobelsburg is an introductory grüner that displays the minerality and clarity of Kamptal, a small, prestigious region a bit removed from the Danube River. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Cork Market, DCanter, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill; on the list at Ardeo+Bardeo, Central Michel Richard, CityZen, Cork, Daikaya, Lincoln, Red Hen, Tabard Inn, Woodward Table. Available in Maryland at Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Dominion Wine & Beer in Falls Church. 

Hugl Grüner Veltliner 2012

1 / 2

Austria, $12 (one liter)

Who can argue with a one-liter bottle — an extra third of wine — for such a bargain price? This is an excellent introduction to grüner, a bit more aggressive and grassy than most, yet still featuring that nice balance of fruit and acidity that makes the wine succeed. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Kysela: Widely available in the District, Maryland and Virginia.