Origin: Austria (likely indigenous)

Grown: Austria (The most widely planted white variety), Czech Republic (where it is known as Veltlin), but also planted worldwide now as the variety quickly grows in popularity, does particularly well in New Zealand

Climate: Cool to moderate, continental climate

Viticulture: Ripens late and is more or less undrinkable if harvested to early (some sparkling wines disregard this rule though). Like almost always too high yields give unexciting wines, lacking in personality

Vinification: Generally unoaked, which lets this unique grape variety speak for itself (some nice, oaked examples out there with more focus on nuttiness then spice)

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Wachau
    (Look for “Smaragd” a designation from Wachau that has very specific requirements making the wines that fall under this category a safe bet)
  • Kremstal
  • Kamptal

General Personality:

  • Colour: Pale, with hints of green when young
  • Aromas: Lime, grapefruit, white pepper, dill, celery, ginger, mineral (hazelnut if oak aged)
  • Taste and Texture: Dry, high and clean acidity, full-bodied and rich
  • Conclusion: Refreshing and tangy, can sometimes be “just” light and fresh (but hardly ever bad even when over cropped), but well-made examples will showcase the uniqueness of this variety, spicy and flavoursome! It works well on its own (especially when sparkling) but showcases its best when paired with food
  • Future: Mostly a wine to be enjoyed young, but some examples (especially Smaragd from Wachau) can easily age for 20 years and still pack a punch, the acidity and minerality stands the test of time

Food pairings:

  • General: If you think of Austria… Austrian food… The first (and probably only) thing that will come to mind is the traditional Weiner Schnitzel. Breaded and fried veal with French fries or mashed potatoes. Well, okay that would undeniably be a good paring (feel very free to substitute the veal to something a bit more humane). The crisp acidity in GV works as a slice of lemon bringing freshness to any dish. But for that effect you can use countless other dry white wines. What makes GV truly unique is its flavour profile. It is for instance the only wine to be paired with grilled asparagus (which otherwise have a tendency to ruin even the best of wines)
  • Obvious pairing: Asparagus quiche with sundried tomatoes
    Like I said, asparagus! Yes, you can make it simple and just quickly grill the asparagus, or you can play a bit with this quiche. Eggs are another thing that can sometimes bring out the “ugly side” in a wine (has to do with the sulphur and fats in eggs), but GV can oddly enough, handle that as well, making sparkling GV perfect for Eggs Benedict. Here is a recipe, completely without eggs, but for you traditionalist out there, this one will work just as well for you
  • On the wild side: Brussels sprout
    If sommeliers out there were to select Wine Enemy Number One, Brussels sprouts would definitely take a medal, if not the gold. It is terrible paired with wine, unless that wine is Grüner Veltliner. GV can handle close to anything! Make a modern interpretation on toast (just replace the cheese), or play with the other flavour compounds in GV, either way, do not miss out on this one. Here you will truly see why GV is loved by wine geeks the world over