Wine Profile: Gruner Veltliner
In the wine world, there is something of a cult-like obsession with Riesling. And don’t get me wrong Riesling is an amazing wine. It has a huge range of styles, it’s great all on its own, and it is an excellent match with food. I will never not sing the praises of Riesling. But sometimes I think it gets all the attention and equally wonderful, interesting wines like Gruner Veltliner get overlooked.
AUSTRIA IS IT’S #1 FAN
Gruner Veltliner is an Austrian varietal that produces wines of elegance and balance. These wines can range in style from lean and crisp to full and rich and some of the best examples are combinations of both. It has only recently gained popularity in the new world but it has long dominated the Austrian wine industry. Gruner Veltliner represents one-third of all the grapes grown in the country. And of the roughly 50,000 acres of Grüner planted worldwide, over 75% of those are in Austria.
FRUIT, SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE
Light and crisp examples of Gruner are bone-dry yet still round and full with a bright streak of acidity. Sweeter versions are kept in balance by that tart acidity with flavors of baking spices and full of ripe stone fruit. Either way, there are common flavors throughout all the styles like lemon, grapefruit, stone fruits, cucumber, herbs, and white flower. But the most distinctive flavor of Gruner Veltliner is a rush of spice and white pepper on the finish.
GRUNER VELTLINER: A FOOD PAIRING POWERHOUSE
So let’s be honest, all that other stuff is good to know. But what’s really important is how a wine pairs with food. As it continues to gain popularity in the new world you should notice Gruner Veltliner popping up on more restaurant wines lists. And that is because there are very few foods that Gruner Veltliner doesn’t pair well with. There is even a whole assortment of foods that Gruner can pair with, that most other wines can’t.
First of all, much like Riesling, Gruner is excellent with Asian foods. Its tart acidity can handle the richness and the spices in most Asian cuisine. It’s also a great match with many exotic spices like curry, cardamom, star anise, and turmeric. But it’s that vibrant streak of acidity that makes it such a great match with rich and salty food, hello charcuterie boards. That is why it is a classic match with one of Austria’s famous dishes, wiener schnitzel. If this Austrian delicacy isn’t something you eat on a regular basis, fear not, because by that same rule Gruner Veltliner is heaven with fried chicken.
And as far as those foods that most other wines struggle with? Bring out all your asparagus, bitter greens, and artichokes, because Gruner’s acidity and herbaceousness can stand up to them all.
WANNA TRY FOR YOURSELF?