To this day, I am baffled every time I need to explain that “yes, Austria is a wine country”. Not only does Austria make wine but it is, in my opinion, one of the leading wine countries on the planet when it comes to high-quality wines. The road to success was not easy for Austria. In the mid-1980’s after the so-called "diethylene glycol wine scandal", Austrian wine exports hit rock bottom. The country didn’t start wallowing in self-pity but instead completely revamped. Stricter wine laws were applied and 30 decades later Austria is a shining example of how to do things right.
There are 36 grape varieties officially approved for the production of Qualitätswein, Prädikatswein and Landwein, but there is one grape variety that is leading the charge and that’s Grüner Veltliner. It’s by far the most important autochthonous grape variety in Austria covering approximately 31% of the total vineyard area. Nowadays, Grüner Veltliner has earned the place among the best white wine varietals and it’s rapidly gaining new fans all over the world.
Here is a list of Grüner Veltliners to get you acquainted.
Loimer Langenloiser Grüner Veltliner
Fred Loimer is all about sustainable, organic and just utterly delicious wines. It might take a while to get to know his style and to appreciate his restrained approach to wine-making. But good things come to those who wait. The streamlined Langenloiser Grüner Veltliner surprises with its bright acidity and spicy flavor profile. Get some classic Wiener Schnitzel and this wine will pierce right through it.
Leth Grüner Veltliner Klassik
Sunny Wagram and its particular loess soil produce exuberant and cheerful Grüner Veltliners. As the name suggests, Leth Grüner Veltliner Klassik is a classic example of what this variety can do in this beautiful wine region. Tasty ripe apple and fresh citrus for days. Yummy!
Weingut Bründlmayer Kamptal Grüner Veltliner Terrassen
Speaking of classics, Bründlmayer’s Kamptal Terrassen is what I consider a benchmark Grüner Veltliner. It is spicy, slightly herbaceous and has this well balanced vivacious acidity. A nice tipple on its own but very versatile with food as well.
Schloss Gobelsburg Ried Grub Grüner Veltliner
The iconic Schloss Gobelsburg is the go-to estate for wine lovers searching for a truly authentic interpretation of Grüner Veltliner. The single vineyard Ried Grub Grüner Veltliner is delicate yet a complex wine that can stand the test of time. Feel free to forget this in your wine cellar for a decade or two.
Huber Ried Alte Setzen Grüner Veltliner
Traisental is a small and often overlooked wine region, but probably not for long. Grüner Veltliner is especially popular varietal in Traisental. The Alte Setzen is an approximately 60-year-old vineyard located just next to the winery. Markus Huber’s Alte Setzen Grüner Veltliner is a testament that Traisental is the real deal. I tried it with some Vietnamese beef noodle pho and was just blown away.
Veyder-Malberg Weitenberg Grüner Veltliner
Wachau is an incredibly beautiful wine region. It’s one of those places where you could just awkwardly stare at the vineyards all day long. Working these old terraced vineyards is no easy task but it’s worth the effort. The Veyder-Malberg Weitenberg Grüner Veltliner is intensely flavourful wine with a fresh backbone. This bottle should come with a high voltage warning.
Wieninger Wiener Grüner Veltliner
There are not many capital cities in the world that produce wine. Austria’s capital Vienna not only produces wine, but it produces great wines. Wieninger Wiener Grüner Veltliner is a beautifully vibrant “city wine” full of luscious pear and life-affirming structure. This is yet another reason for you to travel to Vienna as soon as possible.