Want to dive deep into the world of Gruner Veltliner?
This Austrian varietal is an incredibly versatile grape that can be blended into a wide range of white wine styles. It also makes many age-worthy dry white wines worthy of any wine collection!
Let’s explore all about the grape’s origins, its viticulture, and most importantly, its wine styles.
Also, discover the 10 best Gruner Veltliner wines of 2021 and the easiest way to get hold of them!
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- A brief history of Gruner Veltliner
- Gruner Veltliner parentage
- Gruner Veltliner regions
- Gruner Veltliner viticulture
- Gruner Veltliner wine styles
- Does Gruner Veltliner age well?
- Serving guidelines and food pairing for Gruner Veltliner
- 10 best Gruner Veltliner wines of 2021
- Grüner Veltliner Infinite Smaragd 2017 - Weingut FX Pichler
- 2015 Weingut Emmerich Knoll Loibner Gruner Veltliner Trockenbeerenauslese
- 2005 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner Eiswein
- 2018 Gut Oggau Mechthild Weiss
- 2006 Weingut Franz Hirtzberger Honivogl Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
- 2011 Weingut Turk '333' Veltliner
- 2011 Weingut Rabl Gruner Veltliner Eiswein
- 2006 F.X. Pichler M Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
- 2001 F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Kellerberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
- 2006 Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Baumpresse
Let’s dive in!
A Brief History Of Gruner Veltliner
Gruner Veltliner ( pronounced ‘grooh-ner VELT-leehn-er.’), Gru Ve or just Gruner is the most widely planted grape in Austria.
The grape’s true origins may be lost in the passage of time, but we can take some hints from its name! That the word ‘Gruner Veltliner’ means a ‘green’ grape from the town of Valtellina in northern Italy, is a good clue itself!
Read about another famous Italian grape, Moscato.
Wine experts have also pointed out that it may be native to Austria. The oldest reference to the grape dates back to a document from 1855.
Until the 1940s, the Gruner Veltliner grape varietal did not have its own identity on the international stage and was regarded as just another Austrian grape. It had the reputation of early ripening and being susceptible to many diseases.
This changed when Austrian winemaker Lenz Moser developed a vine training system that mitigated these issues, making it easier to grow. Today, 90% of Austrian Gruner Veltliner plantations use the Lenz Moser system to improve their yield.
Gruner Veltliner has always been the traditional wine of choice in Austria. But its international fame skyrocketed after wine critics Jancis Robinson and Tim Atkin took up its cause in 2002. They conducted a series of wine tastings and placed Gruner Veltliner at par with Grand Cru wines from Burgundy.
Since then, Gru Ve’s niche has been steadily growing.
Gruner Veltliner Parentage
This white wine grape is a direct descendent of the ancient varietal, Savagnin (also known as Traminer.)
Savagnin shares a parent-child relationship with other famous grapes such as Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc too.
The other parent to Gruner Veltliner is an obscure and nearly extinct variety of Austrian grape, St. Georgener Rebe.
However, it’s important to note that Gru Ve bears no relationship to other Austrian grapes with ‘Veltliner’ in their name - Roter Veltliner and Frühroter Veltliner.
Gruner Veltliner Regions
Austria is undoubtedly the Gruner Veltliner capital of the world. But the white grape has found homes across the globe.
Take a look at the most famous wine regions for Gruner Veltliner.
Like the appellation control systems in France and Italy, Austria, too, grades its wine regions according to the Districtus Austriae Controllatus or DAC system.
Based on the classification, the most important Gruner Veltliner growing regions of the nation are:
- The Weinviertel or the ‘wine quarter’: Lies in the country’s northeastern corner where Gru Ve is the primary variety
- Kamptal and Kremstal: Lies in the center north of Austria where the predominantly loess soil yields a healthy harvest of Gru Ve and Riesling grapes
- The Wachau: A UNESCO World Heritage wine region that makes the highly valued Steinfeder and Federspiel, and Smaragd style wines
- Leithaberg: Located between Lower Austria and Burgenland, home to Gru Ve blends with Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Neuburger
- Deutsch Wagram: Lies in Lower Austria, close to Vienna city limits
Rest of Europe
Outside Austria, Gruner Veltliner plantations are most widely found across the eastern European nations of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
In Slovakia, the grape is known as ‘Veltlinske Zelené.’
In central and western Europe, parts of Germany, France, and Italy also grow this Austrian grape variety.
More recently, the New World of wine outside of Europe has caught the fancy of this fresh, green grape varietal. Winemakers in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States have embraced its fruity flavors.
Here are some major wine growing regions in these countries:
- New Zealand: Gisborne, Central Otago, Marlborough
- Australia: Adelaide Hills
- Canada: British Columbia
- USA: Umpqua Valley (Oregon), California, New York, Washington, Maryland, Virginia
However, despite its growing popularity, Gruner Viltner remains a relatively challenging grape to grow outside of northern and eastern Europe.
Read more: The ultimate guide to picking the right wine glassware for your wine.
Gruner Veltliner Viticulture
Gruner Veltliner, in its home region, is a mid-ripening variety that yields a generous harvest. It thrives in soil with high loess (sedimentary deposits.)
However, it continues to remain susceptible to downy and powdery mildews. But as more vineyard owners use the Lenz Moser technique of vine training, they too are reaping the benefits in the form of a bumper Gruner Veltliner harvest.
Gruner Veltliner Wine Styles
The versatile Gruner Veltliner can be turned into everything from young, fresh, table wines full of fruit flavors to bold and complex aged wines.
Here’s how the two distinct styles differ from each other.
Light, crisp, and dry
Full-bodied and dry
Aromas and flavor profile
Citrus (lemon peel, lime, and grapefruit), stone fruit, and fresh vegetal notes.
Focused on minerality
Spiced notes of pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, etc.
Acquires a honeyed, marmalade-like character over time
Bottling and aging
Bottled with small amounts of carbon-di-oxide to add a touch of spritz to the wine
Fermented and aged in stainless steel, large old oak casks, or new oak barrels. Aged further in bottles
- Do you prefer the light spritz of an Asti Spumante or the luscious bubbles in a classic Champagne? Find your favorite sparkling wine in this detailed guide.
Does Gruner Veltliner Age Well?
Wine lovers have been enamored with Gruner Veltliner’s vibrant, fresh flavors for some time now. But Austrian winemakers want serious wine collectors to look beyond Gruner Veltliner’s novelty status and consider its aging potential too.
The typical Gruner is packed with 12.5% ABV. The high alcohol levels in the wine act as natural preservatives.
Critics also note that the Gruner Veltliner’s aging process can be smoother than a Riesling, which has its ups and downs. On the other hand, Gruner steadily gets better with time, making it an ideal wine in any stage of its lifecycle.
High-value Gruners like Emmerich Knoll’s Smaragd or FX Pichler’s ‘Monumental’ wine can age well up to 20 to 30 years, developing spicy, herbal, and vegetal flavor profiles.
Looking to store fine wines like Gruner Veltliner, sweet ice wine, or a precious Lambrusco? Check out how to design the perfect wine cellar for your collection.
Serving Guidelines And Food Pairing For Gruner Veltliner
Enjoy the zesty flavors of this highly dry and acidic wine at 7 ºC (46 ºF).
Gruner Veltliner is often the chef’s favorite wine for how easily it pairs with most hard-to-pair-with dishes. It has palate cleansing properties due to its high acidity and herbal notes.
Pungent and strong-flavored foods like a dish of artichokes, asparagus, green beans, and leeks take easily to this wine. You can also benefit from Gru Ve’s spiced notes by pairing seafood, roast chicken, or Asian food.
Of course, its best friends are traditional Austrian dishes like sautéed kidneys and Wiener schnitzel. And for the evening, forget about the calories!
But first, find out how many glasses of wine are in a bottle.
10 Best Gruner Veltliner Wines In 2021
Young and crisp or full-bodied and aged - there’s a Gruner Veltliner for all your wine needs!
Pick your favorite from this list of the ultimate Gru Ves of 2021.
1. Grüner Veltliner Infinite Smaragd 2017 - Weingut FX Pichler
The Pichler estate is the jewel in the of Wachau, Austria’s premier wine region. Their historic estate, founded in 1898, lies by the banks of the Danube.
Their Unendlich line of wines translates to ‘infinite’ or ‘unending’ - a fitting description for the memorable wine. Its nose contains spice and herbs that settle into a well-balanced wine with an exquisite finish.
Price of Grüner Veltliner Infinite Smaragd 2017 - Weingut FX Pichler: $185
2. 2015 Weingut Emmerich Knoll Loibner Gruner Veltliner Trockenbeerenauslese
Emmerich Knoll is a prestigious Austrian winemaker known for its dessert wines made with botrytized Gruner grapes. Their estates are planted with the flagship varietals of Riesling and Gruner and other white wine grapes.
The 2015 season was promising for the Wachau region and offered all the necessary conditions for a late harvest. This yielded a wine that’s a highly aromatic and sweet dessert wine that’ll stand the test of time.
Price of 2015 Weingut Emmerich Knoll Loibner Gruner Veltliner Trockenbeerenauslese: $100
3. 2005 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner Eiswein
The Schloss Gobelsburg castle and vineyard have a dazzling history going back to 1175, when the Zwettl monastery managed it. The modern-day estate continues to preserve the quintessential Austrian winemaking traditions while pursuing the latest innovations.
Their 2005 is full of honey and fresh orange aroma. Its spiced notes balance the abundant natural residual sugar of this dessert wine.
Price of 2005 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner Eiswein: $280
4. 2018 Gut Oggau Mechthild Weiss ($108)
The Burgenland based boutique estate of Gut Oggau focuses on small batches of biodynamically produced wine.
The ‘Mechthild’ Cuvee represents the kind yet strong grandmother who roots the family in traditions and ethics. Gut Oggau prepares it from the fruit of old vines pressed in a 200-year old press. The unadulterated wine can take up to two years to mature in the bottle.
Price of 2018 Gut Oggau Mechthild Weiss: $108
5. 2006 Weingut Franz Hirtzberger Honivogl Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
The scenic Hirtzberger estate is planted with equal portions of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner.
The 2006 Gru Ve is a Smaragd designated wine with high residual sugar. It comes enveloped in a satiny, creamy texture, replete with mocha-coffee, malt, and honeyed notes.
Price of 2006 Weingut Franz Hirtzberger Honivogl Gruner Veltliner Smaragd: $178
6. 2011 Weingut Turk '333' Veltliner
The 300-year-old estate of the Turk family are known for their slow and careful vinification practices.
A direct result of such measured vinification is the ‘333’ wine from the 2011 vintage. It was made with grapes from the top three vineyards owned by the family, bringing together their most distinct characteristics in one superb wine. Enjoy the orange zest after decanting the young wine.
Price of 2011 Weingut Turk '333' Veltliner: $94
7. 2011 Weingut Rabl Gruner Veltliner Eiswein
The elegantly crafted Gru Ve wines from Weingut Rabl are the result of the watchful eyes of the father-son duo who run the estate. Their mantra is simple - only the best of grapes make it into the wine.
This reflects in the 2011 eiswein, made with frost-bitten grapes in November. It has high acidity and 265 grams of residual sugar per liter in a delicious bouquet of overripe fruits and caramel.
Price of 2011 Weingut Rabl Gruner Veltliner Eiswein: $70
8. 2006 F.X. Pichler M Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
The Pichlers always manage to raise the bar for Austrian wine production with each vintage! And, this distinctive wine speaks of their generations of winemaking experience.
The ‘M’ in the wine’s name stands for ‘Monumental,’ which is how most wine lovers would describe this extravagant wine. Enjoy its pineapple and mango flavors with an equally exotic meal.
Price of 2006 F.X. Pichler M Gruner Veltliner Smaragd: $100
9. 2001 F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Kellerberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd
Durnsteiner Kellerberg site receives a generous share of sunlight in the day and is comfortably cool at night. Its unique microclimate makes for delightfully distinct wines.
Their 2001 vintage stands out with a combination of tree fruit notes like peach, green apple, and pear standing on a firm ground of minerality.
Price of 2001 F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Kellerberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd: $124
10. 2006 Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Baumpresse
Nikolaihof is a Wachau vineyard that can claim a fascinating 2000 years of winemaking on the same land!
Their 2006 is emblematic of this remarkable continuity, made with ancient presses and aged in a 700-year-old cellar. It has the vibrant freshness of a typical Gru Ve along with the resounding depth of a wine befitting such pedigree.
Price of 2006 Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Baumpresse: $110
Where To Buy Gruner Veltliner
Gruner Veltliner is more than just an up and coming wine preferred by the sommelier. High-end, age-worthy Gru Ves have the potential to compete against a white Burgundy or some of the established Californian wines.
This makes Gru Ve a necessary addition to both your table and your cellar!
But where do you find the best, original Austrian Gruner Veltliner?
Hunting in local supermarkets, wine stores, online stores and wine auctions may seem like a painstaking adventure!
Don’t worry. We’ll show you the easiest way to find your bottles of Gru Ve - so that you can simply focus on perfecting your recipe for apple strudel!
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Get Groovy With Austria’s Favorite Wine!
All it takes is a sip to fall in love with the incredibly versatile and fabulous Gruner Veltliner. It’s the perfect choice for both a homely dinner and an exotic spread of haute cuisine.
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