From Austria to Australia Gruner Veltliner is hitting a groove in Australia.
Gruner Veltliner is the most common white wine grape variety in Austria, where it makes up about 30% of the national vineyard area. It is also grown in neighbouring countries of Central Europe and in Italy.
Many of the wines made from this variety in Austria are quite undistinguished fresh and crisp wines made for consumption when young. It is also is used for base wines to make the local sparkling wine Sekt.
However at the top end this variety can make some rich well structured wines, and it is these that are driving its popularity.
Until a few years ago this variety was very rare in Australia. Lark Hill in the Canberra District were the first to produce wine from the variety in Australia in 2009. Hahndorf Hill in the Adelaide Hills Region (2010) and Stoney Rise (2011) were quick to follow.
But the real impetus has come from Hahndorf Hill Winery in the Adelaide Hills. They imported some new clones for Australia and have been the trail blazers of the variety. They have made propagating material available to other vineyards and wineries throughout their region.
Hahndorf Hill also a established a Gruner Veltliner project known as the Gruner Growers Group (GGG) to push the agenda of making the Adlaide Hills the premier Gruner region in Australia.
There are two measures of the success of these efforts.
Since 2013 Gruner Veltliner now has its own class at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. The variety was no longer judged in the grab bag "other white varieties" class.
The second measure of success is the number of Australian wineries now producing Gruner Veltliner - over 50 at the end of 2020. A quick scan of this list shows just how the Adelaide Hills is dominating the scene, but growers and winemakers in other regions are catching on.
It will be interesting to see if any other cool wine regions take up this variety.
The list below is of wineries using the variety. In some cases the wineries are located in neighbouring regions outside the Adelaide Hills but in many of these cases the grapes are sourced from the Hills.
At the 2020 Australian Alternative Varietal Wine Show seventeen Gruner Veltliner wines were judged. Two gold, four silver and ten bronze medals were awarded. Hahndorf Hill 2020 White Mischief Gruner Veltliner won the trophy for best wine of the show and Artwine 2020 In the Groove Gruner Veltliner also won a gold medal.
This variety is quite versatile in the number of different styles of wine it can make, from lean and crisp through to full and rich. They can be drunk young and fresh or like Rieslings they can be aged.
The underlying structure of the wine makes for successful pairing with a number of food styles.
Try Gruner Veltliner with
For more suggestions see Evan Goldstein's Daring Pairings book
This dozen contains 2 bottles from each of six different producers in several regions. It gives you a broad overview of the styles of Australian Tempranillo.
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