Groovy Grüner Veltliner

By Sharla Blanz, New Jersey Monthly
July 25, 2012

I spent a summer in Austria years ago. I wish that I could say I had toured the vineyards and wineries that produce one of my favorite white wines, Grüner Veltliner. At the time, I was more into bars and beer. This was a long time ago. Please forgive me. When I have the chance to go back to Austria, I can’t wait to drink the country’s most popular white wine at its vineyards. Grüner Veltliner is grown mostly in eastern Austria and accounts for one-third of all wines grown in the country. It’s a versatile grape that makes light, easy-to-drink wines, as well as complex wines for aging. Grüner Veltliner is a particular favorite because it pairs well with food—including vegetables. It’s not hard to pair a steak with a bold red wine, but when you start serving meatless dishes with lots of greens, reach for the Grüner Veltliner. This wine has a peppery quality that gives it a touch of spiciness. It’s typically mixed with peach and citrus notes to make a delicious and enjoyable white wine. I enjoy the wines made by a number of producers. Setzer makes an affordable wine with a slight prickle on the tongue; it sells for $15 in a liter bottle. Schloss Gobelsburg has a handful of Grüner Veltliners ranging from $15 a bottle to over $40 for the single vineyard wines; they even produce a sparkling wine using Grüner Veltliner. Nigl, Pichler and Hirsch also make very good wines from this grape. About 10 years ago, a good friend of mine informed me that a sommelier in New York told her “all of the fashion models in the city are drinking Grüner Veltliner.” This may also have coincided with the time the wine received its nickname Gru V or “Groovy.” Lately, I haven’t been hearing as much about Gru V. The models may have moved on (possibly to rosé), but I’m still keeping Groovy in my wine cooler.  Wine News: New Jersey has a new winery, Beneduce Vineyards. The grand opening of the winery is this Saturday, July 28. Located on 51 acres in Pittstown, the winery will offer tastings, live music, authentic Italian food and activities for all ages. Good luck to Beneduce Vineyards!