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Great Sustainable Wine: BAKER & BRAIN Gruner Veltliner



Price Range : $20 - 25

Region: Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo, California Ready to Drink: Immediately upon release

Let’s kick off our series on great sustainable wines with a wine from a region that’s a sort of epicenter in California for sustainability, experimentalism and adventurousness. If I had to pick a favorite large wine region of California, the Central Coast would be it. 

Does sustainable wine make it a better wine? Yes, it does. We see a future where the majority of consumers will absolutely demand that wineries which they support with their retail dollars have implemented environmentally-responsible vineyard practices.

This review is part of our ongoing series spotlighting great wines from sustainable wineries.

The signature Gruner Veltliner, made of grapes sourced from Edna Valley—one of the great “secret” wine regions of the world—and produced by micro-winery BAKER & BRAIN, located in the county of San Luis Obispo of California’s Central Coast, is emblematic of everything that’s right with sustainable farming leading to great wine.  

Freshness, superb quality fruit, vibrancy, transparency and minimal intervention—it’s all evident in tasting this 2016 bottling. The wine’s color is a translucent daffodil yellow. On the nose: notes of zesty citrus, elder flowers and Asian pear. On the palate, a luscious undertone of Golden Delicious apples and white peach while paying ode to the grape’s Austrian origins with characterful notes of green beans and flint by the time you get to the finish. 

Distinctively American Gruner, this is a white wine caught between the zip, focus and clarity of a cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc—minus the oftentimes cloying fruitiness of some Sauv Blancs which happen to be very popular—and the warm fruit notes of a full-bodied, high class Northern California Chardonnay. Give me the middle ground anytime.  

Well-made, stylish and authentic, we ought to applaud the kind of Central Coast adventurousness captured in the screwcapped bottle here. When stepping outside the norm succeeds like this one does, it’s truly exciting stuff.  –J.M.


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August 6, 2019