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Aug 20, 2006 01:08 AM

GV and VV search/finds

Having been frustrated in the past trying to find Gruner Veltliner and Vinho Verde here in central CA (Fresno) I decided to follow a tip about Espiral VV being carried by a Trader Joes elsewhere in the country. Initial response from the buyer at TJs was that they didn't carry either but additional prodding sparked a recollection that they may have had a VV in the recent past. He suggested trying BevMo.

At BevMo I was again lucky enough to find a fellow on the floor that was able to direct me to the small selection that they carry. There were two VVs in stock and two empty spaces where two others had been (sorry, didn't record the MIAs), all were in the $6-8 range.

I picked up the last two bottles each of the Alianca (N/V) and the Gazela (also N/V), the latter was 9% alcohol.

I also got a bottle of the 2004 Lois GV, 11.5% abv, by Fred Loimer in Langelois, Austria (screwcap, btw).

Just curious if any winehounds have tried these and can offer any insight as to how they stack up in the greater scheme of things. TIA



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  1. I don't remember the exact taste, but Gazela wound up number two on my non vintage Vinho Verde list

    Aveleda is just so much less expensive and better tasting to me. However Gazela wasn't bad and certainly alot better than Casal Garcia which is usually what BevMo has in stock.

    The Casal Garcia is in the blue bottle and I'll bet being at BevMo, that was one of the brands sold out. The Avelida is in a pretty green bottle that is tall and slender. Don't know if BevMo sells it.

    6 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Thanks rworange, I'm almost sure Casal Garcia was one of the other two. I'll pass on it and try the other when they restock.

      1. re: PolarBear

        Since these may not be fast movers at the store, try to figure out the bottling date/vintage on those NV VV's by looking for a lot number or tax stamp. They're only good if they're really fresh.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thanks Melanie, just looked at the tax stamps more closely. The Alianca is dated 2003, the Gazela 2005. Hmmm... maybe these shouldn't be the ones to form any sort of opinion from. The fellow at BevMo said they go a month or two between shipments, wonder if they're just unloading the old stock on them?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            OK, just popped the cork on the well chilled bottle of Alianca. One taste and it became drain sanitizer.

            Can you steer me toward any places in SF, the south Bay, or central coast that might carry some decent more recent bottlings? TIA

            1. re: PolarBear

              You really should take that bottle back to BevMo and get a refund. It shouldn't be selling way past prime stuff like that.

              1. re: PolarBear

                Spanish Table in Berkeley has the biggest selection of vinho verdes I've seen.

                Beltramo's in Menlo Park has a couple of VVs and eight Gruners listed on its Web site.

                You might also check the Wine Club in Santa Clara.


        2. The Alum Rock exit in San Jose is the Portuguese section. Right near the freeway is a large market that sells Vinho Verdes and my guess is that any liquor store on that street is going to sell Vinho Verde that does a quick turnover. However, I wouldn't try vintage here, but go for the lower end verdes.

          Mayolo's Trade Rite Market
          1555 Alum Rock Avenue
          San Jose, Ca 95116
          (408) 259-6106

          The largest selection I've seen was at a liquor store in Mountain View, Sousa's.

          That's where I bought most of my vintage VV. Again, I wasn't impressed by the vintage verdes.

          Sousa's Wines and Liquors 400 Moffet Blvd., in Moffett Plaza, between Middlefield Road & Central Expressway. Hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays. (650) 967-4461.

          Spanish Table both in Berkeley and Marin has vintage and non vintage Vinho Verdes. They would be the best guide in helping you with the vintage verdes. I can speak for the Berkeley store, but I haven't tried to buy wine at the Marin location yet. They have on-line ordering an you could probably call them on the phone.

          I see they carry the generic Aleveda, a little pricy for it, but they have it.

          There's supposed to be a large Portuguese community in Montery, but I haven't explored that area yet.

          VV isn't a life changing wine. It is just a refreshing pleasant drink, so don't over anticipate. However, it shouldn't taste like the bottle you opened.

          If you are ever in Sonoma, La Salette Portuguese resturant has some nice vinho verdes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            Much appreciated Robert and rworange, I'll be up that way in a couple of months and go searching. Be interesting to hear if any has been sighted in Monterey

            Like you say, wasn't expecting anything spectacular, just a hot weather, food friendly quaff to play around with.


            The Txomin Extaniz is one of my favorite VVs. It was all the rage in SF last year and got a lot of attention from The SF Chronicle, sister Basque/tapas restaurants Piperade and Bocadillos, and wine shops in general. It's inexpensive, easy to drink, and a beautiful color.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Pei

              I love that stuff but it's gotten awfully expensive.

              Strictly speaking it's not a Vinho Verde, since it's Spanish.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                How expensive? K&L was still listing it at $15, which is what I remember paying last year. Maybe they just haven't updated their website.

                True that it's not technically a VV, but it is just ever so slightly green so I always call it a green wine in English.

                1. re: Pei

                  The Txakolis are trendy here in NYC now (maybe due to the opening of a really good tapas place called Tia Pol) and run about $15 a bottle. But please, it's a young, fizzy, easy drinking wine at 3 times the price of some really good vinho verdes and not that different, in my opinion.

                  Last night, however, we had a still Bizkaiko Txakolina from Itsas Mendi, very nice and somewhat more complex (cirtus, herbs, crisp, nicely balanced acidity) maybe worth a try at $16-$18 retail.

                  1. re: kenito799

                    What vinho verdes are really good and cost $5?

                    1. re: kenito799

                      I am replying to myself since CH won't let me reply to Pei...
                      Aveleda is great, $5.99
                      Espiral is also great, $3.99 at Trader Joe's
                      Gazela may not be great but it's also around $5

                      1. re: kenito799

                        With cheap Vinho Verde, make sure you're not getting an old vintage on closeout.

                        Though at Trader Joe's, or any decent wine shop, you can always return it if it's bad.

                2. FWIW, shared a bottle of the Gazela with a friend last night, we both thought it was damn good, esp. given the price. Granted, I'm a VV neophyte, but I can see having this one around as a daily sipping wine as well as a match for Asian and even some seafood dishes.

                  1. The Lois is a good, entry level Gruner Veltliner. I've had it a few times and I think it's a good food pairer as well.

                    I have found what must be the largest selection of Gruners at an online shop that specializes in the stuff:


                    I think they're even shipping from Northern California, so it must be cheap to get the stuff to your door in Fresno. I've tried quite a few wines from them and been impressed by all. Prices ranged from under $10 to around $50, with lots in between.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: OliveBelle

                      Thanks OliveBelle, that's a great site, might have to try some of their Eiswein as well.

                      BTW, tried a bottle of Velt.1, an '05 GV that I found at our local discount place for $10. Didn't care for it as much as the other I've tried in that price range, forgotten the name but it's the 1 liter green bottle with the beer bottle cap.

                      1. re: PolarBear

                        Sounds like Berger. It's not my favorite either. I like it when GV has that really typical white pepper finish, and lots of minerality, too.

                        (BTW I've had some Eisweins from that shop. Really excellent.)