“Gee that’s nice, what is it” – the first words spoken by the lady of the house as she took her first sip of the glass I poured then handed to her after a Saturday afternoon of chores being diligently completed.
“Grüner Veltliner”, I said. “Never heard of it”, the reply without lifting her gaze from her Kindle, and the trashy detective novel she was ensconced in. Distracted as she was, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly the level of her glass went from half full to nearly empty. The culprit? None other than the Groiss Grüner Veltliner 2018.
Grüner Veltliner is a white grape that is most commonly found in the coolish climates of Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. But it’s Austria that has become synonymous with the varietal as it accounts for almost a third of the area under vine in the country.
You’ll find it widely planted in the Czech Republic and it’s beginning to be planted in cooler climates like some states in the USA and Canada and even in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia! But of the ones I’ve tried, there’s nothing quite like the GVs from Austria where they make a highly mineralic and crisp style of the varietal.
In Austria, the best GV vineyards are found on steep rocky slopes where the vines are starved of soil. But these challenging growing conditions seem to bring out the very best of the grape with intense flavours and a zippy zestiness.
The Groiss Grüner Veltliner is available locally as it’s a part of the Cellarhand stable and available at most major bottle shops at $25-$30 a bottle.
The wine comes from a family operated winery where these days, it’s Ingrid Groiss who stands at the helm. Having taken the wheel from her father since 2010, she’s certainly made a name for herself crafting a range of lively wines.
The Grüner Veltliner doesn’t give much away on the nose but makes a statement once the liquid gold hits the front of the palate. The straw colour in the glass belies the spiced and zesty minerality that strikes on the first touch of your tongue. There are ample flavours of pear, honeysuckle and pink lady apples on the middle, but with a quartz-like zippy acidity on the back end. There’s a spicy and white pepper edge that works well with the dryness of the finish. It’s like sucking on a pepper coated lime and then licking a dry river-stone!
The Grüner Veltliner varietal is said to be capable of withstanding more than just a few years laying on its side in the cellar, but given how well it’s drinking now, why take the chance? It’s a perfect drop to pair with spicy Asian dishes, or just on its own as a lazy afternoon aperitif. I’ll be putting a few in the fridge for the next visit by my white wine-loving sister!