2,555 Days in Barrel - Seeking the Sublime:
2011 Sonntag Geschlossen Grüner Veltliner

Posted by Joe Salamone

After nearly a decade slumbering in a 2,400-liter, century-old barrel, this wine has very literally transcended what one might normally think of as Grüner Veltliner.

There are few precedents for today's wine; not many wines spend this much time in barrel.

The influence that this slow, silent, and cold elevage has on the wine's taste and feel, borders on indescribable.

First of all, it is about the textural elegance, weightless mineral and citrus inflected mist. The bulk and weight of most Grüner Veltliners is gone. Instead, there is a silken elegance with a mix of exoticism and rigor. This wine weaves together pears and citrus with a caramelized and textural quality not unlike some of the suavest Chenin Blancs.

We have written in the past about a bottle that is perhaps this wine's closest relative, Nikolaihof's "Vinothek." Our description of the Vinothek is very much applicable here: "The wine seems to ricochet through the natural world, bouncing from floral to earth to stone fruits to minerality in a dynamic interplay."

Yet, with this wine, we are not in the noble Wachau; and we are nowhere near the $150-$200+ price the top Vinothek's command. Here, we're talking about as low as $26.95.

The wine originates in the extreme northern territory of Austria's Weinviertel, only kilometers away from the Czech border. Markus Sonntag is a serious farmer; like Nikolaihof, he practices biodynamic farming. Yet he works only two hectares in this forgotten corner of Austria and it is the farming he is most passionate about, not the process of bottling and selling wine. So, for the better part of a decade, Markus has focused on the farming and regularly topping up the barrels in the cellar so the influence of oxygen is kept at bay. Actually selling the wine was beyond an afterthought.

Thus the play on words of the bottling: "Sonntag Geschlossen" translates roughly to "closed on Sunday." Though in this case, the Sonntag cellars have been closed for years. It was, in fact, only after begging for the wines for years that Markus allowed his friend Florian Schuhmann to finally begin bottling select barrels.

This is the first release, and it is a staggering and beautiful wine. It also, uniquely, remains within reach of nearly all buyers; chalk this up to nothing more than the obscurity of the producer and the region. At $29.95, this is a no-brainer and should be snapped up by every curious palate. At $26.95 in the 4-pack, the value is close to ludicrous.

While only a handful of cases have come to the U.S., we secured as much as possible, as quickly as possible. If you're interested, we'd suggest you do the same.

To order, email offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2011 Sonntag Geschlossen Grüner Veltliner

Special Bottle Price: $29.95

Special 4-Pack Price: $107.80 ($26.95/btl)