So What is Gruner Veltliner?
Gruner is a native Austrian white grape, a cross between Traminer and St. Georgen, and is that country’s most widely planted vine, constituting over a third of all vineyard acreage. Austria grows as much grüner as all red grape varieties combined. It’s especially dominant in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) and Burgenland.
The wine itself is nearly always dry and zesty, characterized by notes of white pepper, green apple, quince, and yellow fruits, including apple and stone fruits like peach and apricot. In recent years this bright, crisp white wine has become fashionable in the U.S., and is now the wine most closely linked to Austria.
As a vine, grüner prefers deep and fertile soils and has a tendency to overproduce if not managed aggressively. It thrives in the rich alluvial plains of the Danube in Weinviertel, the heart of Lower Austria.
Plush soils however don’t always produce the most complex wines, and Grüners from the plains tend to be refreshing with simple fruit flavors. Grüner reaches its best expression in the Kamptal, Kremstal, and Wachau districts, and in the bony, steeply terraced vineyards of the Weinviertel high above the Danube. There, lean soils, extensive solar exposure, and a long, slow Autumn ripening period produce fruit of great concentration and gravitas. Bottle age can add complexity and filigree.