A strong contender for the world’s most food-friendly white wine (seriously, pair a crisp grüner with anything from a classic Wiener schnitzel to an opulent curry – we challenge you to be disappointed), grüner veltliner, when done well, is the ultimate all-rounder. We blind-tasted 36 examples from Austria and Australia, finding wines of poise, tension and quite frankly, extreme deliciousness.
2021 Hahndorf Hill GRU Grüner Veltliner, Adelaide Hills, A$30
Few would argue this is – or rather, continues to be the benchmark for Australian grüner. Fresh citrus blossom, yuzu and lime leaf aromas give way to chalky, mid-weight texture, stone fruit and a dry, lengthy finish.
2020 Stift Göttweig Furth Grüner Veltliner, Kremstal, Austria, A$35
A textbook example from the Kremstal village of Furth, north-west of Vienna. It’s all lime rind and crushed rocks, with some salty, peppery notes. Broad, pebbly, mouthfilling texture with distinct flavours of ginger and roadside lemonade. Utterly delicious and great value.
2020 Bründlmayer Terrassen Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria, A$40
Another classic example, this time from the schisty soils of Kamptal. White and Sichuan pepper on the nose, with peach, pineapple and citrus. Zippy, lively and complex with saline acidity and a drying finish.
2021 Nick Spencer Grüner Veltliner, Tumbarumba, A$35
Nick Spencer looks to the hilly climes of Tumbarumba for his whites, specifically the Coppabella Vineyard in this instance. Truly great, by-the-seaside drinking here: picture fish and chips, the rustle of butcher’s paper, a dusting of chicken salt, seagulls and a juicy wedge of lemon. A breezy, citrusy number with taut acid and generous texture.
2019 Mt Bera Boundless Horizons Grüner Veltliner, Adelaide Hills, A$35
Extreme concentration of flavours here: apricot, sweet spice, lemon verbena, citrus rind. It has this tart, pulpy texture with zippy, linear acidity and is ultimately begging for food (roast chicken the most obvious answer).
2021 Wangolina Grüner Veltliner, Limestone Coast, A$28
Anita Goode grows and produces the Limestone Coast’s only grüner on her Mount Benson vineyard – and it’s a beauty. Split equally between oak, ceramic egg and stainless steel fermentation. Cherry stone, ginger and crushed lime leaf with great, mineral-charged tension on the palate.
2020 Groiss Grüner Veltliner, Weinviertel, Austria, A$30
Ingrid Groiss crafts elegant grüner veltliner from three sites across the Weinviertel region (most notably, her grandmother’s vineyard in Breitenwaida) and eschews excessive oak in favour of conveying pure fruit expression. Aromas of sea spray, citrus and nuts leap out of the glass with verve and energy. Beautiful drinking.
2020 Emmerich Knoll Kellerberg Federspiel Ried Grüner Veltliner, Wachau, Austria, A$89
Elite grüner from arguably Austria’s best-known wine region. Stone fruits and river stones, torn herbs, beeswax and jasmine tea aromas, with white pepper and citrus pulp flavours perfectly framing the lithe acidity.
2018 Weingut Hiedler Kittmannsberg Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria, A$58
The Kittmannsberg vineyard is one of Kamptal’s highest sites and grapes enjoy a long growing season here, resulting in rich, textured wines with serious ageing potential. It’s fresh and herbaceous with sage, lime and tarragon notes. There’s great tension between savoury and fruit sweetness, and length for days.
2017 Hirsch Gaisberg Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria, A$88
Another one for the cellar, this is already showing some aged aromatic complexities with lanolin, beeswax and fragrant alpine herbs. However, the palate is bright and fresh and defined by a mineral, umami depth. Excellent.
2021 Frankland Estate Grüner Veltliner, Frankland River, A$35
The riesling experts at Frankland Estate’s take on grüner but in very limited quantities (one barrel, in this case). A hedonistic version as a result of barrel fermentation: charcuterie and cruciferous vegetable notes with herbs, citrus, blossom and graphite. Quietly mind-blowing.
2020 Weingut Bernhard Ott Fass 4 Grüner Veltliner, Wagram, Austria, A$40
A classic expression from one of Wagram’s most respected wine families. Delicate citrus flowers, gardenia and honey aromas. Taut, pure flavours of lime and wet rock minerality.