Discovering Grüner Veltliner

Some wines reveal everything you need to know about them with the first sip. They are not grüner veltliners. Delicious, fascinating and widely varied, wines made from grüner veltliner are worthy of a long, passionate courtship. Here are ten essential facts about the wines to get you started.

1. Grüner veltliner is the signature grape of Austria.

2. It yields an aromatic dry white wine distinguished by flavors of pepper and stone fruit.

3. Styles run the gamut from light, fresh and simple, to rich, full-bodied and complex.

4. Grüner veltliners are unusually versatile when it comes to food pairings, complementing everything from a mixed salad, to asparagus, to salmon and poultry.

5. They account for a third of all the plantings in Austria.

6. The finest examples are cultivated on the steeped terraced vineyards of Wachau, Kamptaland Kremstal in Lower Austria, which benefit from extensive exposure to the autumn sun.

7. The wines are delightful in their youth.

8. If you can hold on to a good bottle for a decade or two, it will evoke white Burgundy with its opulence, fineness and flavors of honey and toast.

9. These are artisanal wines -- most grüner veltliners are grown on family owned estates.

10. A high percentage of Austrian grüner veltliner is organic. The country has the highest percentage of land in organic production of any EU country (almost nine percent), an impressive statistic when you consider that the EU grows a quarter of the world’s organic food.