Week 23 – Grüner Veltliner

Tasting Notes

Emma says: “We took a long time to find our Grüner this week because I was being especially picky. I wanted to find a really good example, because to be honest the everyday supermarket level ones are nice and quaffable but can be lacking a distinct character.

I remember studying this grape for my blind tasting exams and finding it incredible frustrating as a result. It fell into that “could be anything” category that would send me into a blind panic.

However tonight we are trying one of the best Austrian producers Brundlmayer, if you are an avid 52grapes fan we did try their Riesling earlier in our journey and I’d hoped to get a Domaine Wachau wine this time to ring the changes; but I ran short of shopping time.

This wine is form the warmer Kamptal region and Grand Cru (best vineyard) sites both resulting in a flavour that has the added intensity I was looking for. Yet it was still mild, with a gentle sweet pea herbal and lemon balm aroma, then a textured soft palate, with a distinct white pepper note that is typical of this wine and a sort of green lettuce with salad dressing flavour. That last bit sounds strange but really works for me, I think I’m trying to describe that it has citrus, herbal notes but is gentle and soft in flavour; not exactly fruity. And I really like how unique that flavour is when you get a good Gruner. It has that thirst quenching acidity of a good Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon but a flavour profile that would sit well in between the two. I hope the version you all found was just as delicious.”

Andy says: “Definitely struggling with this one. Let’s get the easy bit out of the way first. Did I like it? Yes!

It was my task to choose the wine this week, and luckily the store I went to had a choice of one, so I chose it, knowing I’d be blame free. With a good 20 minutes of pondering saved, I checked to see what food matches we’d recommended for this wine, and picked up the ingredients.

We had it crisply cold, with a Malaysian Laksa for dinner, and yes they really did go well together. It wasn’t the spiciest of laksas, but the coolness of the wine really quenched the thirst, and the acidity helped to cleanse the palate. It was very easy drinking.

On the nose, I get a hint of pineapple, but it’s barely perceptible. I get little else. Taste wise, it’s that limey citrusy white wine thing again, which I’m finding is ‘worse’ if you have a tiny sip. A big old glug seems much better.”

Buying Guide

Gruner is a white grape originating from Austria. We’ll be looking for one from there and preferably one from a classic sub region like Wachau or Kamptal.

8 thoughts to “Week 23 – Grüner Veltliner”

  1. Wine – Ewald Gruber, Gruner Veltliner, Röschitz, 2016 (Starmoreboss £12)
    Bottle says – Apple. white pepper

    This is another one of those wines that I’ve tried occasionally, but never really made it part of the rotation. It’s a very robust wine, and pretty hard to pigeon-hole.

    There is a solid, welcoming aroma of citrus and almond, with hints of oil and pepper. The taste is slightly off-dry, with flavours of unripe melon, lemongrass and tart crab-apple, with a slight butteriness holding it all together, and stopping it being too acidic. The finish is quite dry and bitter, like citrus peel.

    This is a very enjoyable wine, one that engages you from start to finish. We enjoyed this wine with a sea-trout risotto, which went very well. I will try a few more varieties of GV, and perhaps find a really good one to slip into the rotation.

    This is what I really like about 52Grapes, it gets you out of your comfort zone and forces you to confront wines that you don’t manage to try regularly enough. Good stuff.

    1. Interesting to see every person except us who tried Gruner this week had it with a fish risotto – I think we have a perfect match on our hands!

      And if you want to try more GV look out for Smaragd styles, they are generally more weighty and rich in flavour, definitely my favorite style…

      PS very happy you are enjoying our adventure!

  2. I tried the Rabl Gruner Veltliner Vom Loss 2016 (Kamptal) from M&S (£9.50). I had a pale lemon colour and slight shimmery/oiliness at the deepest point in the glass (perhaps that was due to my imperfect washing-up skills).

    I liked the nose but struggled to describe it. A bit of gooseberry, and a bit of lemon, a bit of apple and cinnamon. There were also some oily/rubbery aromas.

    It was bone dry to taste and medium bodied. Lemon and Granny Smiths, a touch of ginger and rubber and a bit of flintiness. There wasn’t much finish or complexity and the acid took over somewhat.

    By complete coincidence I found myself drinking a different Gruner Veltliner last week too (Gruber Roshchitz Weinviertel Gruner Veltliner organic 2017). This one was really nice, if a bit pricier, and I’d seek it out again.

    1. Hey Will, nice to hear you tried the Rabl, it is a lovely thirst quenching style. But I guess this shows that with Gruner it can be a little simple until you step up into the higher quality territory….I’ve never tried the Gruber Roschitz, so I’ll look out for it.

  3. Hi Lloyd. Been away, but now I’m back. How’s my credit?
    Right then, it’s Grüner time. I’ve not encountered this grape too often, but every time I have I’ve liked it a lot. As the buying guide urged quality, I pushed the boat out and bought a ‘handcrafted’ GV 2017 from Martin and Anna Arndorfer in Kamptal, Austrian, just northwest of Vienna. £13.99 from Corks of North Street here in sunny south Bristol.
    The wine is unfiltered and unfined, so has a slightly cloudy appearance.
    The nose is stunning, not really what I was expecting at all. It’s incredibly expressive, citrussy and bright with a golden lemony attack and a blast of exotic fruits (starfruit, rambutan, guava – all the good ones) as well as some juicy peach. Behind this there are notes of beesewax, honeysuckle, green herbs, even marzipan. Honestly, this wine’s bouquet is as inexplicable (and delicious) as those notes read.
    Not many wines can follow its bouquet when it’s that good, but this Grüver does a pretty good job.
    In the mouth it’s surprisingly rich while also punchy with acidity. There’s a luscious golden kiwi sweetness, followed by what I can only describe as ‘chopped marjoram’ (don’t judge me) and a pleasant, somewhat cidery notes (‘cidery’ in this case meaning ‘what the hell’s going on here?!’). It finishes with a slight waxy quality and a hint of bitterness (like you’d get with an endive salad, but not in a bad way). There’s even a hint of C02 bubbles which give an excellent palate cleansing freshness to the whole thing. All in all, a bloody remarkable wine.
    Thinking about what Emma said about GV being a bugger to taste blind (of which I’m terrible anyway), i tried to think what I’d make of this if I didn’t know what it was. I reckon I’d probably have guessed at either a top quality Muscadet Sur Lie (the citrussy, peachy thing), or some kind of Sicilian Vermentino (coz of the ‘erb and marzipan). Which just goes to show how far I am from being an MW anytime soon. Still, what a great wine. If you see it, buy it.
    Oh, we had it with a smoked salmon risotto (made with prawn stock) which featured asparagus and courgette and lots of Parmesan. Bit of a challenge for a wine, but the Grüner had no problem dealing with the ingredients. It’s a very ‘holistic’ drop.
    Until next time… Keep up the good work guys!

    1. Will! Great to have you back. We’ve missed you. We had to google your first quote – my film knowledge isn’t as good as I thought.

      And loving your tasting notes, you really make me feel I need to up my game. Chopped marjoram – nice!

      We had an unfiltered slightly cloudy natural Gruner later that week at the local bar. I actually think that style seems to work well for Gruner, it allows it to keep more flavour which the filtering can strip off. So one to look out for in the future.

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