Grüner Veltliner is the most commonly planted vine variety in Austria. It seems to be popping up in a lot of places these days, from small independents and online retailers, to restaurants and even the main supermarkets. It can produce a range of styles, but typically it is dry and quite full-bodied with flavours of citrus and peach with hints of peppery spice.
Go further east in Europe, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Grüner is one of the most popular grape varieties there as well. Now, winemakers in certain regions of Australia, New Zealand and the USA are reporting great success with the variety.
John Forrest of Forrest Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand, told Decanter.com: ‘I would go so far as to say that we may do to Grüner what we did to Sauvignon Blanc 30 years ago. I’m excited by what I’ve tasted to date.’
Demand for Grüner has gathered pace in the UK in particular, and as Ireland is always a few years behind, don’t be surprised if it does the same here over the next few years. The fact that many restaurants are starting to list it shows potential. So obviously now is the time for these New World producers to start treating the variety as a serious player as opposed to a mere experiment.
Elsewhere in Marlborough, Ant Moore has been experimenting with Grüner in one of his vineyard plots. It would be interesting to know how he’s progressing with it and if he sees any serious potential. Seifried in Nelson is another producer expanding area under vine as they seek to feed demand from the UK. Apparently the aromatics of New Zealand’s efforts are more pronounced in comparison to those from Austria.
Central Otago has also seen trials of Grüner Veltliner. In Australia, Adelaide Hills is being cited as very promising, and in the United States, Oregan, upstate New York and the cooler parts of Napa Valley have been performing well. Be on the lookout and let me know what you think if you manage to try any from outside of Austria.