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Gruner Veltliner by window

Wine of the Week feature: Fifth Moon Grüner Veltliner

“I found myself craving a piquant, crunchy papaya salad. Drink it with whatever you want.” –Esther Mobley, SF Chronicle

SF Chronicle wine critic, Esther Mobley features the Fifth Moon Grüner Veltliner in her new Wine of the Week column in a piece titled, “This is the rare Napa winery focused on wines that pair with Asian cuisines.” She recommends our Grüner as “hyper-food-friendly.”

Our CEO, Mailynh Phan, was interviewed for the piece, in which she explains our approach to wine and food pairing. Mobley writes, “for years, that tension has been bugging Mailynh Phan, the CEO of RD Winery in Napa. The conversation around wine-and-food pairing has always been European-centric, she says, even if that’s not the way Bay Area residents eat. For example, ‘you really can’t have Vietnamese food and drink Cab,’ Phan says. Against a dish made with fish sauce or pickled vegetables, a hearty red wine’s tannins, oak-barrel influence and alcohol can turn bitter and astringent.

That’s why RD recently launched a new brand, Fifth Moon. ‘We wanted to make wines to pair with Vietnamese food and other Asian cuisines,’ says Phan.”

Mobley’s take on the Grüner (her favorite of the tasting): “This Austrian grape variety is a magic bullet for food, with crisp acidity and flavors that range from fruity to vegetal, and Fifth Moon’s 2019 Gruner is a gorgeous example of its type. It’s mouthwateringly bright and zippy, bursting with lime and hinting at green pea and mint leaf. Alongside a rich Madras curry, a sip of this Gruner would play the role of a cleansing squeeze of citrus; with a chile-forward dish, it would counter the heat with its fruity tang.”

Her interview with Mailynh shares just how important versatility with food is to us here at the winery:

“The Fifth Moon line of wines, which began in the 2019 vintage, are affordable, light-bodied and mostly white wines — very unlike a typical Napa Valley brand. They’re not meant to be trophy pieces, Phan says. They’re meant to be the type of bottle you could envision opening with takeout. In July, they started hosting outdoor tastings at RD’s winery in the industrial area of south Napa.”

The article ends with more mouthwatering praise and delicious pairing inspiration: “Across the board, the Fifth Moon wines are lithe and refreshing, including a floral Chenin Blanc and a peachy Malvasia. But I kept reaching back for sips of the Gruner. Its grassy earthiness reminds me of drinking a cup of herbal tea. Its subtle umami aroma reminds me of a light drizzle of sesame oil. The RD team recommends it with pho or Thai green curry, though I found myself craving a piquant, crunchy papaya salad. Drink it with whatever you want. Just maybe not with steak.