Gruner Around the Globe

Long associated with Austria, Gruner Veltliner is attracting interest from growers around the globe. How do the wines stack up? Let’s take a peek.

 


Gruner Veltliner, arguably the original hipster wine, has grown up and become a standard in the classical pantheon of top white wines. Along the way it was revealed that in Austria, Gruner is often a simple table wine, served in crown-capped liter bottles and not the subject of fawning terms of endearment. Yes, Gruner Veltliner is capable of remarkable things, but it’s also a table top stalwart, and frankly therein lies its beauty. It has a flexibility few grapes can match.

Gruner image via Shutterstock
Gruner Veltliner, arguably the original hipster wine, has grown up and become a standard in the classical pantheon of top white wines. Along the way it was revealed that in Austria, Gruner is often a simple table wine, served in crown-capped liter bottles and not the subject of fawning terms of endearment. Yes, Gruner Veltliner is capable of remarkable things, but it’s also a table top stalwart, and frankly therein lies its beauty. It has a flexibility few grapes can match.

It’s not surprising then that producers outside of Austria want to cash in on the Gruner phenomenon. Having worked hard to establish Gruner Veltliner as a grape for everyone, the Austrians must now be a little concerned, as wineries from as far away as New Zealand and California try to capitalize on these renowned grapes. While the wines I tasted were pretty good, again attesting to the brilliance and potential of Gruner Veltliner the grape, I would say that for the most part the Austrians have little to fear as of yet.

What new world winemakers are able to produce are wines that certainly capture the essence of the grape, but they also reveal their warmer climates and perhaps richer soils with their rounded textures and riper fruit profiles. They are attractive wines for sure, but they will generally appeal to a different audience than the typical Austrian Gruner Veltliner, which shows a leaner, tauter style with bright fruit flavors and often the profound minerality the grape can exhibit.

Still, that’s not to say that disruptive forces are not at work. Consider for example, that Gruner Veltliner represents 50 percent of the new varieties planted in New Zealand in 2010 and 2011, and while plantings in California remain tiny, about 50 acres, the growth from the first planting of a third of an acre back in 2006 at the Von Strasser winery in Napa Valley’s Diamond Mountain up through today has been swift and has attracted lots of attention. One can only imagine what might happen in places like Oregon and New York’s Finger Lakes districts, where the climate seems ideally suited for Gruner.

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of Gruner with so many developments on the horizon, but at least for the time being Austria has little to be concerned about. If you want to learn more about Austrian Gruner Veltliner, make sure you check out the reports published last week by our friends who attended Snooth’s PVA Wine Writer’s Symposium this past March. We had an amazing tasting hosted and led by Aldo Sohm, who brought the terroir and styles of Austrian Gruner to life and inspired some exceptional articles.


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Gruner Veltliner Tasted March 2013

1.
Wimmer Czerny Gruner Veltliner Frumberg (2011)
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2.
Karl Lagler Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Burgberg (2011)
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3.
Darcie Kent Vineyards Grüner Veltliner Monterey Rava Blackjack Vineyard (2011)
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4.
Nautilus Gruner Veltliner Marlborough Nz (2011)
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5.
Dancing Coyote Gruner Veltliner (2010)
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6.
Pratsch Gruner Veltliner (2011)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: limerock
    395997 2

    Gruner is certainly catching on in New Zealand in restaurants, although producers are few at the moment and styles vary. Here at Lime Rock in Central Hawkes Bay (40deg south) we produce our Gruner on loess over limestone that has a firm mineral backbone and a fine elegance.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:54 PM


  • I discovered Gruner Veltliner about 4 or 5 years ago and have tasted many bottles from many producers, mostly from Austria. All in all, I have found that the Steininger Kamptal has the depth of flavors that do not come through in the wines from other producers.

    May 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM


  • Snooth User: Sylvia
    1292329 15

    You perhaps are unaware, but Gruner Veltliner is now planted in Australia (that 'other' Austria) especially in the Adelaide Hills wine region. They're making some excellent examples of this variety - the climate in the Adelaide Hills is almost identical to that of Lower Austria and local soils generate an amazing mineral quality to the wines.

    May 27, 2013 at 7:31 PM


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