citylog
The E-
Edition:
CW
page
by page

PROUDLY SUPPORTS
Buy Local FirstHumane SocietyPlanned Parenthood
SLC Arts CouncilDowntown Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Home / Articles / Food / Food & Drink /  Gruner Veltliner
Food & Drink

Gruner Veltliner

An economical, versatile, food-friendly wine

By Ted Scheffler
Posted // February 21,2012 -

Wanna impress the sommelier the next time you dine in a fancy restaurant equipped with a fancy wine list? Order a bottle of Grüner Veltliner. By doing so, you will rapidly separate yourself from the crowd of wine-aficionado wannabes; your som will be impressed.

That’s because: A. Pretty much nobody but serious wine drinkers even knows what Grüner Veltliner is, much less how to pronounce it; and B. Despite what you might think, sommeliers are impressed by customers who can spot interesting wine bargains on their lists. Well, Grüner Veltliner is almost always a good wine bargain.

It’s pronounced GREW-ner FELT-lean-er, and it’s the big daddy of Austrian wine grapes, commonly known by wine hipsters as just “Gru-V” (groovy). Grüner Veltliner constitutes about 36 percent of all Austrian vineyard plantings, and is grown in almost every Austrian wine region. The most notable versions of Grüner Veltliner tend to come from regions bordering the Danube, like Kremstal, Kamptal and Wachau. And although Grüner Veltliner tends to get compared with Austrian and German Riesling, wine expert Hugh Johnson has said that “to compare it with Riesling is like comparing a wildflower with a finely bred garden variety in which scent, color, size and form have been studied and improved for many years.”

Grüner Veltliner is a late-ripening grape variety that produces dry, crisp, bright-tasting wines of light to medium body. They tend to be greenish-yellow in color with ripe flavors of apple, apricot, peach, lime and a hint of white pepper. Novelist and wine maven Jay McInerney once described Grüner Veltliner as “a theoretical blend of Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.” That’s not a bad way to think about it. There’s a mineral background in Grüner Veltliner along with racy, crisp acidity and a unique wildflower element on the palate. These qualities combine to make it, along with Riesling, one of the most food-friendly white wines I can think of. It’s very versatile.

As Grüner Veltliners age, they begin to resemble white Burgundies, with a slight nuttiness and a rich texture, but with a much more wallet-friendly price tag. Most bottles here run in the mid-teens, and even a higher-end Grüner Veltliner like Bründlmayer Kamptaler Terrassen 2009 is only $23.49. That particular vintage is evidence of Grüner Veltliner’s ability to improve with age; it has a creaminess that is reminiscent of Semillon, with high acidity and a beautiful finish. I think it’ll get even better in the next couple of years.

Since the varieties available in Utah are so similarly priced, I recommend hosting a Grüner Veltliner tasting to discover which producers you like best. Some worthy candidates include Hugl ($12.99), Berger ($13.99), Schloss Gobelsburg ($15.99), Laurenz V ($12.99), Leth Steinagrund ($13.99), Kurt Angerer Keis ($16.99), Hiedler Löss ($14.49), Setzer ($13.49) and Hopler ($13).

I mentioned Grüner Veltliner’s versatility as a food-friendly wine. It’s frequently the go-to choice to pair with those notorious wine killers asparagus and artichokes. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, it’s hard to find foods that Grüner Veltliner doesn’t like. White meats like pork and chicken, seafood, vegetables, light pasta dishes, cheese—about the only thing I wouldn’t want Grüner Veltliner for would be hearty stews, lamb and red-meat dishes. And I’m not sure exactly why, but Grüner Veltliner is especially delicious with vegetables like the aforementioned artichokes and asparagus—something you can’t say about most wine. It’s good with everything from lightly salted edamame to seafood dishes featuring shellfish like crab and lobster. One of my very favorite pairings is potato-leek soup with Grüner Veltliner.

So, now it’s time to go impress your favorite sommelier.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post a comment
REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // February 21,2012 at 22:42

thx for writing about austrian wine, since apparently many people in utah have never heard of it-though many in other places in the US have. however, if you are going to write about wine, do try to get your facts straight. 1st of all, it's pronounced GROO-ner Velt-LEE-ner, and no one but a few misinformed people call it gru-v or groovy. people just call it gruner. as the most widely planted varietal in austria, it is made in hundreds of styles and no, it is not just light to medium bodied; there are some very full-bodied, complex single-vineyard old vine gruners that age beautifully. and again, to make a sweeping generalization about what gruners taste like when they age is ludicrous-they vary so greatly, to compare them generally to white burgundy when aged is simply wrong. and frankly, many gruners are meant to be drunk young-if you're drinking a crisp and refreshing, entry level gruner, it should be 2011 now (2010 at the oldest) finally, i hope you get to taste more gruners; some of the ones you mentions are nothing special

 

Ted
Posted // February 22,2012 at 14:39 - The Guners I mentioned are those that are available here in Utah. I didn't see any point in championing ones that can't be purchased locally.

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close