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Unreserved Wine Talk

262 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


248: Austrian Grüner Veltliner's Versatility & the Magic of Minerality with Terry Theise

Is minerality a taste, a texture, or something else when it comes to wine? Why is Austrian Gruner Veltliner more versatile than Riesling? How do you find a great grower Champagne?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Terry Theise, a much-respected expert on and importer of boutique wines from Germany, Austria, and Champagne.

You can find the wines we discussed at



Three of you are going to win a personally signed copy of Terry Theise's terrific book, Reading Between the Vines. To qualify, all you have to do is email me at and tell me that you’d like to win a copy. I'll choose three people randomly from those who contact me. Good luck!



What do people misunderstand about Riesling?

Which questions can you ask retailers to better explore the world of Riesling?

What are some of the best and worst Riesling pairings that Terry has had?

How can you best pair Riesling with food?

Why was it difficult to change people’s opinion of Austrian wine?

What is it about German and Austrian wines that keeps them from being on top of the wine world?

Why does Terry say Sauvignon Blanc can sometimes be described as vulgar?

What makes grower Champagnes different?

What prompted Terry to write his first book, Reading Between The Wines?

Why did Terry want to make the case for What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking in his second book?


Key Takeaways

I agree with Terry that minerality is an incredibly useful metaphor to refer to a wine’s texture and something more. Riesling is one of the greatest and most fundamental wines when it comes to minerality.

I love Terry’s description of petrichor, the smell of pent-up, super-charged air just before a thunderstorm. It makes wines smell and taste super vivid.

Austrian Gruner Veltliner is more flexible than Riesling when it comes to food pairings. It’s such a lovely, undervalued wine worth exploring.

Great grower Champagne is also worth seeking out, though far more of a challenge as these producers are so small and scattered throughout the region.

I love Terry’s phrase that wine is an important glide path into the world of beauty.


Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live

Join the live-stream video of this conversation on Wed at 7 pm ET on Instagram Live VideoFacebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?

Want to know when we go live? Add this to your calendar:


About Terry Theise

Terry Theise is a much-respected expert on and importer of boutique wines from Germany, Austria, and Champagne. He has published two bestselling books—Reading Between the Wines and What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking: In Praise of the Sublime. His articles have appeared in The World of Fine Wine and other magazines. Terry has also won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional, Wine & Spirits Man of the Year Award and Food and Wine magazine’s Importer of the Year Award.





To learn more, visit

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