2019-04-01 / Wine Notes

Austrian Spring

By Robert D. Richards CSW

As our minds drift toward warmer temperatures and a migration outdoors, it is time to rethink our wine choices as well. The winter gave us ample reason to pop open that big Bordeaux or sumptuous Syrah, but as the temperatures begin to rise, we need to concentrate on the aromas and flavors that make us think spring.

The tartness of citrus — lemons, limes and grapefruit — bring us the sense of springtime renewal. Peaches, nectarines and fresh herbs wake up our warm-weather senses as well. Thankfully, there’s a wine that embodies those aromas and flavors, and it is Grüner Veltliner.
Most of the world’s Grüner hails from just one place, Austria. Like other crisp white wines, it is meant to be drunk young, within a few years of harvest. A signature characteristic of this wine is its high acidity. So, think about serving it very cold on a warm day. The springtime’s outdoor breezes are a strong complement to the bursting citrus notes.

Its acidity and herbal notes also make it a versatile food wine, even able to match hard-to-pair cuisines like Asian fare or troublesome vegetables like the perennial springtime favorite, asparagus. Leafy greens, including kale (if you’re not over that one yet), make a good combination, so pairing Grüner with salads works well. But the wine can also pair with creamy sauces, setting up a nice contrast of flavors and textures.

Perhaps because of its unique pairing abilities, Grüner has become popular on American restaurants’ wine lists. More good news: It is not very expensive. The grape grows in other places as well, but if you can, go with ones from Austria, including these wines available locally in the state stores.

Laurenz V Friendly
Grüner Veltliner
Austria 2013

(#72402, $11.99)
This dry and characteristically acidic wine shows notes of citrus and green apple.

Grüner Veltliner
Carnuntum 2017

(#77062, $13.99)
Exhibits flintiness,
acid, grapefruit and a hint of spice.

Von Donabaum Grüner Veltliner
Burgenland 2016

(#48534, $13.99)
Citrus and pear are
prevalent in this flinty, lighter-bodied wine.

Robert D. Richards, CSW, is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators and has passed the first-level certification of the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers.
He is the author of the newly released book Wine Savvy: Exploring and Enjoying American Wine.

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