August 24, 2015
Wine of the Week: Grüner Veltliner
We zoomed in on Gewürztraminer in one of our previous posts. Today’s Wine of the Week series is dedicated to another hard-to-pronounce wine: Grüner Veltliner. Intrigued to learn more about that lovely alternative to Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc that comes straight from Austria? Today’s post is all about the exotic Grüner Veltliner!
Grown almost exclusively in Austria, Grüner Veltliner has gained popularity in the United States only around the end of the last century. Praised by sommeliers for its refreshing spiciness and versatility, the dry white holds noble rank on some of the finest wine lists, as a favorite for food and wine pairings.
What is Grüner Veltliner?
Grüner Veltliner, or, as we affectionately name it, Gru-Ve, or “Groovy”, is Austria’s most widely planted wine grape, as well as the country’s signature white grape. Tim Atkins, famous British Master of Wine, is “more convinced than ever that, alongside Germany and France, Austria is one of the three great white-wine producing countries on the planet”. And he is not the only one to say so – Austrian wines are known for their consistent quality and incredible ageing abilities; and Grüner Veltliner is its best example. The yellow-green grapes produce dry wines with high acidity and the Grüner’s trademark hint of white pepper.
How to pick your Grüner Veltliner?
Most Gru-Ve wines are tangy and refreshing, with a very unique acidity. The grape produces quite a wide range of styles – from light and zesty, usually cheaper wines, to rich, peppery, highly ripe wines. For the latter, look for producers from the region of Wachau, and more specifically the label “Smaragd”; which is a promise for full-bodied and complex wines – on the pricey side, but beautifully age-worthy. Lighter-bodied wines are easier to come across, especially in the United States, and are more affordable. Is the wine designated “Steinfeder”? The wine is easy, young and fresh. “Federspiel” will be in the style as well, but for a more medium-bodied drinking.
How to pair your Grüner Veltliner?
One of Grüner Veltliner’s main characteristics is its wonderful ability to pair with everything from a green salad to Asian spices to a traditional Austrian dish. Vegetables love Gru-Ve, including asparagus, zucchini and even artichoke. Oh, and try it with a rich roasted chicken or with a sushi dinner – wasabi included.
2001 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner, Lamm, Kamptal
2007 Weingut Stadlmann Gruner Veltliner, Thermenregion
2012 Weingut Fred Loimer Lois Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal
2013 Weingut Emmerich Knoll Ried Kreutles Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau
2013 F.X. Pichler M Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau
And if you can get your hands on the true gem 1990 Knoll Grüner Veltliner Smaragd, Vinothekfüllung, you’re in for one of the best and Groovy-est wine experiences!