2019 Tatomer 'Hinter der Mauer' White
Region: Santa Barbara < California
Grapes: 70% Grüner Veltliner, 30% Riesling
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming (uncertified); Whole-cluster pressed, fermented and aged in mostly stainless steel with a small percentage in large neutral puncheons; bottled unfined with minimal SO2; 11% ABV
Winemaker: Graham Tatomer
Graham is a young gun representing the Central Coast natural wine scene. He's made a name for himself as a master of Alpine varietals, like the Grüner and Riesling starring in this blend, which he explains for us, "Hinter der Mauer is a term that has a special meaning in the village of Loiben where I worked with Weingut Knoll. It refers to the space on a terraced vineyard between a row of vines and the wall to the next level. This row is often extra narrow and exceedingly difficult to work. There is a sense of being squished. I learned of this term one jovial evening with the Knoll family. We were all sitting around the table enjoying wines and they were teaching me some Austrian dialect terms that they were both proud of and entertained by. Hinter der Mauer is not only Austrian but distinctly a Loiben term. It would not even have the same meaning in other areas of the Wachau. I think the meaning is both fun and appropriate given the Covid – 19 situation. This sense of being against the wall. I think the general consumer will share this sense of pressure."
This is the perfect winter white - dry, crisp, high acid, floral, punchy -- that shows its aromatic stone fruit side without veering towards sweetness. Graham manages to coax out Grüner's true varietal character in the wine, despite the dramatically different Central Coast climate and terroir -- read: way hotter -- than you'd get in Austria. Like it’s European sister, this wine is AMAZING with food, especially spicy dishes (think Thai, Indian, Mexican....)