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2012 Skeleton Gruner Veltliner 

Burgenland, Austria

Retail $11-$15

Don't be put off by the skeletal figure on the label. Although the name and the image suggest Halloween, there's nothing scary about this wine. Austria's warmest growing region, Burgenland, is renowned for producing well-structured red wines, such as Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt. The southeastern region also produces the country's most famous indigenous white grape, gruner veltliner. Gruner means green, and "Veltin" was the name for an area in the lower Austrian Alps in the 1600s. Today the area lies around Valtellina, Italy, but the grape is inextricably associated with Austria. The closest expression to the grape is sauvignon blanc, and the Skeleton's dry, lime and green bell pepper characteristics are bold enough to be unmistakably gruner. There also are pear notes, clean minerality, green apple tones on the bouquet and characteristic acidity on the crisp finish. Drink it with Asian dishes and spicy cuisines, artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower, egg dishes, rich sauces and soft cheeses. Buy it at: Cost Plus World Markets, Dorignac's, The Fresh Market, Prytania Liquor Store and Voodoo Mart.

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