If Riesling is the twinkle in a German’s eye then Gruner Veltliner is definitely the glimmer in any Austrians. It is Austria’s claim to fame since Roman times and now considered indigenous to the region. Of the many Austrian regions the Wachau Valley is considered one of the best, though quality varies between producers. As with a lot of wines, the pendulum has made a broad swing from the cheap mass-commercialized wines of the 80s to the seriously carefully crafted wines of these days.
Gruner Veltliner has been on my list of wines to find for some time now. I wanted to try it after reading about the fruity aroma and pepper spiciness. It isn’t often that you get white wine with these qualities fused together. When the local wine shop decided to start carrying this I was excited to grab a bottle and indulge. While not being the full bodied spicy white I read about, it does have a certain interest and complexity I had never tasted.
Look: In the glass the wine has quite a golden green colour, not something I’ve ever seen to this extent. The wine flowed down the edge of the glass in thin viscous lines, also not what I expected from a light looking white wine.
Smell: On the nose it bursts with a strong fruitiness of sweet apple, peach, and ripe melon. What I noticed the most though was the flowery aromatics, a mix of rose, lilac, and green jasmine, sweet and savoury. There is a certain waxiness to it with bits of green herbs and flinty minerals to add some interest.
Taste: This wine has a waxy medium bodied feel in the mouth with a sharp acidity that seems to fall off towards the back of the palate. In there are flavours of tree fruits, peaches and pear, with a slight inclining towards limey citrus. It tastes a bit green with an herbal character and very light pepperiness but the minerality really takes over straight into the finish. Some fruit flavours linger here but the minerality takes over the show and creates a slightly bitter end.
Conclusion: This wine is a bit lighter and less spicy than I expected. It is still pretty good despite not living up to these expectations. It smells wonderful with favorable floral aromatics and sweet fruitiness. The fruit flavours are light and fresh enough to not overpower food while the acidity is sufficient to pair with richer meals. Go with the regional foods and drink this one with a Wiener Schnitzel. All in all a good wine and for that I give it a 8.5/10. As with most of my wine reviews this one spurs me on to find that peppery Gruner some day.
- Gruner Veltliner
- Wachau Valley, Austria
- 2015 – 12.5%
- Domane Wachau Terrassen Federspiel
- $17.75 at Chateau Wine & Spirits (Lacombe)
- Screw cap