April 22, 2008

2004 Nigl Gelber Muskateller Kremstal

At least a year ago, I bought one bottle of the 2004 Nigl Gelber Muskateller, a dry white wine from the muscat grapes made by one of Austria’s top producers. I love wines like this, oddities from great producers that don’t cost much but promise interesting drinking.

The only problem is that I end up with too many one-off bottles. More than a few, like this one, are also weird enough to leave me wondering when to open them. Sure, this should be nice with spicy food, but I have a bunch of wines that fit that bill. So bottles occasionally sit longer in the cellar than I intend.

Then tonight, we’re having Thai take-out from a great little place in the neighborhood – Chaba Thai for you locals. And our neighbors are coming over. They’re game for unusual wines, so out comes the Gelber Muskateller.

First, a quick thought about screw caps. This has one, and I’ve read reports of people suggesting that screw caps can be tough to open sometimes, especially if you have arthritis. I don’t, but sometimes screw caps are a bit of a struggle. The good advice I got is that you should hold the lower part of the screw cap capsule with one hand and the bottle in the other hand. Twist the bottle and the screw cap will crack open without much effort at all.

Once opened, this wine is crystal clear and pale with a fresh, faintly muscat aroma. Instead of heavily floral aromas, this wine shows more grapefruit and mineral notes. In the mouth, it’s dry with some fat fruit and then piercing acidity and a long, mouthwatering finish.

This wine isn’t terribly complex, but it’s really delicious and much more pleasingly subtle than other dry muscats I’ve had. Not many it’s true, but that’s because they tend to taste more like dessert wines than table wines. Maybe I ought to try more, if this one’s any indicator. But then again, when will I get around to drinking them? The wine queue is only getting longer.

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