2022 Culmina “Unicus” Grüner Veltliner, Okanagan Valley VQA, British Columbia, Canada (Alcohol 14%, Residual Sugar 1.19 g/l) Winery/website $24.95 (750ml bottle)
It’s not every day one gets to taste a Grüner from BC, so I was most excited to sample this bottling from Culmina. I’ve been impressed with Culmina’s wines across the board ever since I was sent some samples last year, and this Grüner was as polished and well-crafted as anything I had tasted from them previously.
Named “Unica’, the Latin for unprecedented or only, and this is quite fitting seeing as it is the Okanagan Valley’s first Grüner Veltliner. This fruit is sourced from Culmina’s estate vineyards on Margaret’s Bench, and tasting it makes me wonder why others haven’t experimented with this particular variety, as it appears to have a certain affinity for the soils of the region.
Fermented with natural yeast in a combination of concrete eggs (40%), concrete amphorae (30%), and neutral French oak barrels (30%), this wine is testament to the fact that this grape can perform in a stunning fashion outside of its native Austria. All of these ripe fruits carry over to the rich, powerful, textural, and wonderfully structured palate that certainly gives a knowing nod and wink to the elevated Smaragd wines of Austria’s Wachau region. The acidity is quite pronounced, and this allows the wine to carry the 14% alcohol with relative ease. The finish is extended and quite exquisite, with a teasing bitterness on the very back of the palate.
With this combination of acidity and weight, the wine is going to be pretty versatile when it comes to pairing with food. I’d be comfortable taking this wine into spicier territory, and it sat extremely well with a classic Thai green curry. Saying that, I’m sure it would also work with more traditional Austrian fare, as it sits right up there with some of my favourite Austrian Grüners.
A really rather lovely bottle of wine.
(Four and a half out of a possible five apples)