Austria's Stefan Rucker, Ukraine's Ruslan Podgornyy and Austria's Thomas Rohregger (L-R) cycle up the Grossglockner mountain during the third stage of the 60th Austrian Cycling Tour, July 9, 2008. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler(AUSTRIA)You're probably grateful to learn I'm not just a wine nerd. One of my other passions is cycling (yes, my road bike even has a name). I've found if you are really passionate about something (or things),  it is only natural your various interests intersect - however much in your thoughts rather than in practice. Case in point: I'm not likely to sip some vino and get on my bike, but sometimes I think about what "grape" I might be on any given day. (One of these days I'll probably even post on the topic in and of itself - or better yet, start a discussion on the new Pour Favor Facebook page....) For whatever reason, this week I've been feeling a bit Gruner Veltliner -  and feel compelled to post accordingly... Gruner Veltliner is a native Austrian white grape - their most well known and most planted, in fact.  Like training athletes, I find Gruner gets even better over time. 8 out of 10 times I open a bottle, it tastes better on day two than day one, and even better on day three than day two (after that, you may be pushing it). It takes time for it's muscle to show.  Gruner is a svelte athlete, with terrific definition, but without an overblown, steroid-infused look/feel.  (Exactly the one I'm going for myself.)

Gruner also balances it's sweet (read: fruit forward) with it's sexy (read: character-driven, white pepper 'spice appeal') side. Think ripe, fleshy white peaches, a hint of citrus, a dash of apricot - and white pepper minerality. This is the formula for one of the most food-friendly and versatile wines you can find. And its extra touch of oomph (i.e. weight from its svelte muscles) makes it a terrific white to enjoy during the winter months. Lovely acidity even allows it to precede a meal - or a night out on the town.

Which ones do I tip my hat to in particular? Try the Hofer Gruner Veltliner for a mere $12 (and a 1L bottle at that!); the Laurenz Singing Gruner for $15; or, seek out one of Kurt Angerer's special offerings.

Are you feeling like a Gruner these days, too?