Note: Grüner Veltliner–the Perfect Accompaniment to Dinner At An Austrian Cafe

16 Sep

A very quick post on a wine I might forget otherwise. I took a friend out to dinner at Leopold’s Kafe a week or two ago.  Leopold’s, which is a modern Viennese-style cafe/bar/restaurant, is one of my favorite places in DC: it offers very well-executed, delicious food at reasonable prices, as well as outside seating and the best Euro eye-candy you can find in Georgetown.  It is especially good for brunch or dinner and is a great place to take a date, parents, or people you wouldn’t want to entertain at a TGI Friday’s.

I had the steak frites, medium rare.  The “steak” in question was skirt steak, which is often used to make carne asada.  It wasn’t the most tender cut of meat, but it was tender enough and very, very flavorful.  It came with what I took to be caramelized shallots and a sort of creamy chimichurri on top, as well as Leopold’s breathtakingly good frites.  She had the roasted chicken which came with potatoes, warm escarole, and some sort of mustard sauce.  Both dishes were very good and very filling.  After dinner we shared a topfentorte (cheesecake with passionfruit gel, mango, and berries) and each had a kleiner Brauner, which is basically like an Austrian machiato.

The wine was, if might say, very good.  It was the Tegernseerhof Grüner Veltliner Bergdistel (I forget what vintage but it was fairly recent–I’m guessing 2007) which, at about $40 for the bottle, was a steal.  It was clean, mid-to-full bodied, minerally, and utterly refreshing.  I wouldn’t say it was fruity per se, though there might have been some citrus.  However, the minerality dominated, as did a nice streak of acidity, and the characteristic pepper was there to add a small bite at the end.  It was a very good match for the chicken and, as I hoped, a good complement to my steak.  I would highly recommend it if you were to go to Leopold’s Kafe, especially if you were to drink it with their excellent moules frites.

The rest of the night ended nicely.  While we were eating dessert the rain started falling; we were seated outside but were underneath an umbrella.  The hostess asked if we wanted to come inside, but we waited till we were done as it wasn’t unpleasant and, actually, was quite pleasant.  Some drinks at the bar afterwards then, after putting her in a taxi, I walked home down the streets of Georgetown as the rain fell around me.

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3 Responses to “Note: Grüner Veltliner–the Perfect Accompaniment to Dinner At An Austrian Cafe”

  1. Shea September 24, 2009 at 1:07 am #

    Gruner Veltliner is much underappreciated. I love the stuff and it’s usually great value. With steak though? That’s surprising! What do you think made that work?

    And, as a Pacific Northwest native I have to say rain is also underrated. 🙂

    • vinicultured September 24, 2009 at 9:59 am #

      Well, I figured the steak was going to be fairly rich, and I love eating my frites in mayonnaise–thus, I reckoned that the Grüner Veltliner would be acidic enough to cut through the grease, and the aforementioned peppery note would match with the steak. It actually faired pretty well with the steak!

      Yes–the rain. I love it, though I prefer listening to it while having a nice cup of coffee indoors. =)

  2. Shea September 27, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    Interesting, I’ll have to try doing something crazy like that one day too.

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