Grüner Veltliner: wine, grape variety, characteristics and history of the Austrian wine prince
Grüner Veltliner is the main grape of Austria, you’ll find it in every corner of the country, so much so that it corresponds to 1/3 of the Austrian national production.
Organoleptic characteristics of the Grüner Veltliner
This vine produces a fairly aromatic, sharp white wine, full of aromas of citrus fruits, pineapples, aromatic herbs, almonds, rocks, cucumber, and white pepper. If you want to learn to recognize Grüner Veltliner, always look for green scents like beans, lentils, with a pungent touch. All this wine is centered around the green, but you don’t have to think about Sauvignon Blanc, it’s not so shameless, it can’t trigger a similar pyrazine fury.
But after all, the name Gruner is indicative, since grun in German means green. It’s no coincidence that another of its names is Grüner Muskateller, meaning green muscat. Many with too much zeal call it a semi-aromatic grape due to its unmistakable aromas, but it is not necessary to go down to such a level of useless semantic meticulousness.
Of course, after twenty tastings you will learn to recognize it, but do not think about the boredom of an opulent Gewurztraminer, quite the contrary: the experience with the Gruner is much more akin to tasting Riesling. And it is precisely with Riesling that it shares a series of intriguing mineral scents.
What does Grüner Veltliner taste like?
On the palate, it is very fresh, agile, not very alcoholic, austere. It is not a fat and opulent wine, rather it seduces you with a thin, graceful profile, where elegant notes are played on a highly precise score.
Nowadays minerality in the world of wine is the new Black, everyone chases it, it’s becoming a fever, but in the case of this great wine at least you can say it is mineral without fear of being redundant and fashionable. The Gruner Veltliner is salty like a rock.
Production areas of the Grüner Veltliner
His fulminant ascent, outside of Austria, is due to characteristics of finesse and elegance that make it unique. However special conditions are needed: hills with good altitude and cold, to find the right balance between sugar, acidity and polyphenolic richness. The Gruner is one of those wines that can explode if it is too ripe, so a good compromise between richness and acidity is the key to not obscuring its subtlety.
The king of Austria
If you are in Austria look for wines from Wachau in the first place, then Kamptal and Kremstal, but also Alto Adige offers excellent bottles of Grüner Veltliner, especially the Valle d’Isarco. If you want to sample the New World Gruner, Napa Valley and New Zealand have few, but select bottles.
Winemaking styles of the Grüner Veltliner
Like Riesling, thanks to its acidity, it manages to excite in the first years of life due to dynamism, but with a few years of aging, it evolves splendidly, opening up to a profound evolution. It is usually aged in steel and large wood casks, never toasted, the new barriques inexorably will destroy its charm and it would be a pity. Honestly, we never tasted a vanilla-scented Grüner Veltliner. Some winemakers produce fatter and decadent wines, but on the other hand, the alcohol content is significantly higher and those wines are heavy and sloppy.
Serving temperature of the Grüner Veltliner
We are talking about a fragrant acid white wine, so serve at 10-12 degrees. For more intense and structured wines 14 degrees.
Grüner Veltliner is similar to…
Think of a Verdicchio with a splash of Riesling in a sea of lentils.
Grüner Veltliner food pairings
White meats, vegetables, vegan, Chinese and Thai cuisine, parmigiana ravioli, spaghetti with clams, chicken tikka masala, Chicken Cacciatore, Vitello Tonnato, truffle risotto, pasta alla carbonara: all dishes that contain cumin and lemongrass are welcome.