Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, October 11 2018

Top 10 : Grüner Veltliner

By: Treve Ring & Anthony Gismondi
Austria's groovy star grape

Though Austria’s star white grape is appreciated and adored by wine professionals, grüner veltliner's charm is generally lost on the masses.

Part of that may have to do with fear of mispronouncing the word itself. Own this: Grew-ner Velt-LEEN-er, Grew-new VEHLT-ly-ner, or just groovy GrüVe will all work. If it's not the umlaut that trips people up, it could be the relative scarcity of GV on our shelves. Austria's most sigificant variety is thought to have originated in Niederösterreich, and be a crossing of traminer with a historic variety called st. georgen, from Burgenland, two regions where GV remains widely planted today. Though susceptible towards downy and powdery mildew, the vine tends towards prolific abundance in the vineyard, and preforms best when yields are kept low and soils are comprised of deep clay and/or loess. Outside of Austria, the grape has been successfully cultivated in northern Italy's Trentino-Alto Adige and Sudtirol, Hungary, New Zealand, Australia, Oregon, California, and here in BC (the photo above is from Summerhill Pyramid Winery's vineyards).

If the beguiling charm of this crisp, herbal, lemon oil slicked and white pepper scented grape isn’t alluring enough in youth, wait until a few years’ maturity turns this zesty acidity into a honeyed, stony and profound wine, akin to fine chenin blanc, sémillon or chardonnay.

High quality grüner can last for a couple of decades or be a refreshing aperitif or partner for your mid-week supper. Amazingly food-friendly, GV shines as a partner for tricky foods like artichokes, asparagus and arugula as easily as it pairs up with weiner schnitzel, grilled oily sardines, or spicy curries.

Here are our Top 10 grüner veltliners tasted recently at GOW that we recommend seeking out. 

Written By:
Treve Ring & Anthony Gismondi
Treve Ring & Anthony Gismondi

Every week Treve Ring and Anthony Gismondi collaborate on our Top Ten list, released on Thursday morning, often with a timely theme. If you count carefully the list will more than likely exceed ten names but only because we believe if any wine is tied by a score that makes our list it should be included. We know many of you are wine savvy and can do your own sleuthing to locate our weekly picks but for those who asked: BCLS means it is sold in government retail stores; when we say private wine shops we mean it could be in any private wine shop or liquor retail store (LRS); winery direct means check with the winery online. If it’s not sold in BC we usually try and give you a suggested retail price. Prices change hourly in BC – the price we post is what we are given at publication.