I had a great lunch last week in the Merrion Hotel’s Cellar Restaurant with Laurenz (Lenz) Moser, the charming Austrian behind the Laurenz V Grüner Veltliner wine series.

But let’s get it in order, the vine, the man and the wines.

The grape: Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s native grape. To label it “like a Riesling” doesn’t do it justice. Not even close.

In fact, to try and describe it is actually quite difficult. Over lunch it was described as having the flinty zippiness of a Loire Sauvignon (Sancerre), the oiliness of a Pinot Gris (or Pino Grigio) from Alsace, with the freshness and zestiness of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

And what about the Riesling similarity? In its youth Grüner Veltliner can have a high acidity and with age it takes on the rich floral and petrol (kerosene) aromatics of Riesling.

The man: Laurenz Moser

A strong will and single minded belief that white wine and, in particular, his Grüner Veltliner have a larger role to play in the wine world.

From the beginning of the twelfth century, while my ancestors were planning the Battle of Clontarf, his were peacefully making wine, a tradition Laurenz has carried through to this day.

The tradition doesn’t just start and finish in the twelfth century. More recently, the name Lenz Moser came to prominence with the trellising system that Laurenz III, Lenz’s grandfather, developed, a feat that Laurenz is vocally proud of and rightly so.

But enough about the past and onto the present. Lenz has been working hard to create an international market for his prized Grüner Veltliners.

And he’s well placed to do it too, having worked closely with Robert and Mike Mondavi for over 8 years. His latest venture, TxB Fine Wines, is a hat tip to the late Robert Mondavi, the TxB being “Thanks, Bob”.

The wines: Singing, Friendly and Charming Grüner Veltliners

The Laurenz V brand focuses solely on Austria’s Grüner Veltliner grape with three lines:

  • Singing Grüner Veltliner, Laurenz V & Sophie (his daughter)
  • Friendly Grüner Veltliner, Laurenz V
  • Charming Grüner Veltliner, Laurenz V

We tried the 2007 “Singing” and “Friendly” followed by a tasting of the Charming (2004 through to 2007) and the Lenz Moser 1978 (from the family’s previous business which they sold in the 1980′s).

To be honest, they were all great years with the 2006 being a little bit “muted”. Lenz was on hand to explain why. As it ages, Grüner Veltliner wine can enter a second phase which he described as “going to bed” or going dormant where it doesn’t particularly taste of much, until it comes out the other end richer and more aromatic.

Lenz’s approch is to get away from the typical Austrian style – typically dry, flinty, peppery and austere – to produce wine that is more friendly or charming to the consumer. Hence the names on the label, “Friendly” and “Charming”. As Lenz put it himself,

“The worm has to taste good for the fish, not for the fisherman”

The 1978 Lenz Moser Grüner Veltliner

Having tried a 1983 Grüner Veltliner before, this was really interesting – the colour hadn’t changed much, just got slightly darker. Apparently, in 1978 the wine was so dry, so high in acidity that it gave it years of aging ahead – proven at lunch.

It’s clearly still alive and richer, more oily or buttery than the Charming’s most recent years.

The Screwcap versus the Cork: Lenz’s perspective

Lenz has spent a fortune on corks over the years, but prompted by Bibendum in the UK, he has now moved to screwcap and has saved on 8% of his stock being corked.

As Seamus from Quinntessential Wines put it, it’s not the badly corked wines that are the problem – they can easily be identified and returned – but rather the mildly corked wines which dulls the fruit, and taints the wine permanently as being dull and lifeless in the eye of the consumer.

And for dessert, Apfelstrudel – a great Austrian dessert for a friendly and charming Austrian.

Availability of Laurenz V. wines


The Laurenz V wines are available in:

  • Fallon & Byrne, Dublin
  • The Corkscrew – Chatham St
  • Donnybrook Fair
  • Power & Smullen – Lucan

Restaurant wise “Friendly” is available in:

  • Brasserie 66
  • Bay restaurant – Clontarf
  • Blue Bistro – Dawson St
  • Bon Appetit – Malahide
  • Carton House & Clarion Hotels nationwide
  • Champions Restaurant (Dundalk Racecourse)
  • Hugos Restaurant – Merrion Row
  • ITSA4 Sandymount
  • Juniors Café – Bath Ave
  • L’Ecrivian
  • The Leftbank – Park St. Dundalk
  • Merrion Hotel
  • Nuremore Hotel (Monaghan)
  • The Pigs Ear – Nassau St
  • Rosso Restaurant,  Dundalk
  • Saba, Dublin
  • The Vine Restaurant, Wexford