I get a great deal of pleasure from a good Austrian Gruner Veltliner such as Fred Loimer's Lois. It's lively enough to match up with spicy Asian fusion dishes and yet subtle enough to make you sit back and contemplate. From everything I have read, Gruner ages well, maybe even better than white Burgundy, but since this wine is a relatively new find for me, I have never had the chance to see how a good bottle holds up in the cellar. As a result, I was intrigued by this 1999 Lois when I was bottom fishing for bargains in a recent WineBid auction. It was clear from the auction photo that the color had deepened considerably, and that may have been why the wine had no takers--even at $5 a bottle. I thought it was worth the chance and won a three-bottle lot.
Very deep color but it doesn't deepen any more when opened, as some over-the-hill whites do. There is a definite stale, oxidized smell on top--not to my liking. But it's possible to get past that to some deeper smells and flavors--nuts, spices, white pepper (maybe). Full bodied and well balanced for fruit and acidity. It's not what I expected from an aged Gruner, but then again, I don't know what I expected. I'm not sure it's typical, either for its age or the Lois label. The wine is definitely not corked; the green closure is a cork substitute. The wine may have been exposed to heat or light damage (due to the clear bottle). Another possibility is that the smell I dislike is merely part of the normal maturation of Gruner Veltliner that takes some getting used to. I'd be happy to hear from readers who have more experience than I have with mature Gruner.