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Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner

Drink with Fondue: crisp and clear white wine

In Switzerland we traditionally drink crisp white Chasselas, black tea (no milk), and kirsch with cheese fondue. It needs to be dry and very clean to cut through the cheese.

For variety, we might go for Doral, Heida, or Johannisberg, but much complexity can be lost with all the cheese. I still feel Chasselas is the best as much of its complexity is in the mouthfeel not the nose.

In Savoie they drink Jacquere for the same reason, as well as Altesse.

For people accustomed to more acidity in their white wine, Chasselas can feel "not enough" with Fondue. The Savoie wines will work better for you, or some of the Aosta or Alto Adige wines.

Breaking into our consciousness during the last ten to fifteen years, Grüner Veltliner continues to excite and grow in popularity. This is Austria’s most planted grape. Grüner Veltliner deserves all the praise that it has been given. Not only is it a versatile grape in terms of style but it has tremendous ageing capability, allowing for some tremendous stylistic variations brought on through maturity. The serious versions challenge other lofty white wines very effectively, winning at blind and trade tastings and in the hearts and cellars of sommeliers.

Grüner Veltliner is a very food-friendly wine with a spicy, peppery nose and flavours of lime, peach, quince and honey. It is a grape that ages well and the depth of flavour intensifies with each passing year. Sweet wines and sparkling wines are also produced to great effect. Grüner Veltliner is a welcome partner to many foods that you would not immediately expect to match with a white - it is arguably one of the world's most flexible grapes at the table. Try it with foods you would have considered traditional red wine territory, and heavy reds at that, like Duck Confit or a Beef Roast.

So what is Grüner Veltliner like? It is often described as being spicy, with aromas/flavours which include green and yellow apples, freshly ground white pepper, meadow flowers, underripe melon, green vegetables, (green beans and freshly broken pea pods spring to mind), newly mown grass, a flinty minerality and undefined citrussy notes, sort of halfway between lime and grapefruit. Lentils, mustard, and cress are commonly cited. Fruitier examples may show rhubarb and strawberry aromas. Depending on where it's grown, there may also be tropical and stone fruit (peaches, apricots), an earthiness and a mossy/herby/undergrowth smell.

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