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Grüner Veltliner - Riesling

Grüner Veltliner - Riesling

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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Riesling wines can be highly aromatic with apple, peach and pear at the forefront, mixed with delicate floral undertones and often honey and spice on the nose. On the palate, Rieslings echo the apple, pear and peach along with citrus and tropical nuances. Rieslings tend to pick up a noticeable "minerality" from their native soils.

Riesling, through DNA data, appears to be a cross between Gouais Blanc and an unknown relative of Savagnin. Riesling seems to have originated on the north bank of the Rhine in Germany where we find its first mention in a document dated 1435.

Up to the early 20th century Riesling and Sylvaner were often confused with each other. If you buy an ancient bottle you can't be sure which it might be. After the 60s, you're OK.

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