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Grüner Veltliner - Weinviertel

Grüner Veltliner - Weinviertel

The Weinviertel, or "Wine Quarter" is a large region to the north of Vienna extending as far as the border with the Czech republic. For decades it was the edge of the Western World, right next to the Iron Curtain!

Although this is the largest winegrowing region in Austria, with more than 15,000 hectares of vineyards, it doesn't really seem like wine country as you travel around it, as it is also the breadbasket of Vienna. Vines are scattered on the hillsides and in the most favourable areas amongst other crops - lots of wheat, fruit trees and everything from asparagus to strawberries.

It's a fascinating region architecturally with mediaeval gems of towns such as Retz, with its stunning Baroque centre and miles of underground wine cellars. The region has many more charming wine villages and towns, many with "Kellergassen", streets lined with cellars resembling stuccoed houses. Interesting towns include Eggenburg, Falkenstein and Poysdorf, possibly Austria's most picturesque wine town.

In 2003, Weinviertel was the first region to adopt a new classification system, "Weinviertel DAC", where DAC stands for "Districtus Austriae Controllatus". This is a bit like the French AOC system.

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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Austrian Wine Regions

Burgenland

Burgenland

Big reds, superlative dessert wines and natural treasures.

Carnuntum

Carnuntum

Red wine terroir and ancient roman cities

Kamptal

Kamptal

Elegant and spicy wines on hills north of the Danube.

Kremstal

Kremstal

Mineral Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.

Leutschach in Styria

Styria

Impossible rolling hills, world class whites and unique rosé.

Thermenregion

Thermenregion

Directly south of Vienna. Serious red wines and characterful whites.

Traisental

Traisental

Wine terraces South of the Danube. Amazing value wines.

Vienna

Vienna

Vienna - the only capital which is its own wine region.

Wachau

Wachau

Some of the best whites on the planet.

Wagram

Ancient rock and modern winemaking.

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Weinviertel

North of Vienna - the home of classic Grüner Veltliner.

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