ENGLISH EDITION: Grüner Veltliner, Austrian white par excellence

12/12/2018 - Grüner veltliner wines show a remarkable diversity of styles, from the fresh, light & dry to the more complex terroirs wines and creamy, fatter whites.

It represents 1/3 of the total Austrian white wine production. It is said to be an offspring of Traminer born in Lower Austria. Its versatility allows the producers to choose between different profiles of wine.
Its most common aromas are pepper, flowers, white apple (in the simpler wines); but terroir wines also show yellow fruit and mineral notes. Here is our selection amongst no less than 109 wines.


The Westernmost vineyard in Lower Austria is the Wachau – steep hills of schist, often on terraces overlooking the Danube, the home of very mineral wines. East of the Wachau, Kremstal is a less vertical territory, on rock and loess. Perpendicular to the Danube, one finds Kamptal, a valley bordered by rocky hills, with sand, and sandstone volcanic soils. This trinity of vineyards gives birth to great Grüner Veltliners, combining concentration, ripeness, minerality and purity  – at least at the best winemaker’s.


Kammerner Gaisberg 2016 – Hirsch

The slopes of this hill lay on a subsoil of gneiss covered by brown earth and limestone. Is this the explanation of the vertical and mineral notes of this biodynamic wine? On the nose, some floral fragrances are rapidly followed by citrus, blood orange and lime, and a delicate hint of pear. The ripe fruit impression on the palate is outlined by a salty minerality which lengthens the mouthfeel. Long, fresh and elegant finish.

Ried Käferberg 1ÖTW  2016 – Jurtschitsch

Superb terroir wine from gneiss, mica and amphibolite soils. Most of the vines are more than 50 years old and their roots go down to the volcanic rock, meters deep. On these meager soils, the yields are low, which generates a high concentration of dry extract and abundant aromas. Both complex and elegant on the nose (candied citrus, dry grass, peppery minerality, a touch of broom). Exotic fruit on the palate. A vibrant, dry wine, packed in the ripeness of the fruit. A nice, long bitter finish. Very classy. www.jurtschitsch.com
www.wijnenjanrots.be– www.jeanarnaud.com– www.fischer-weine.ch

Langenloiser Alte Reben 2016 – Bründlmayer

These old vines lying between 260 and 380 m high, on loess, granite and gneiss, were harvested at the end of October 2016. The selection of the grapes was drastic, so as to ensure a perfect result. Very complex on the nose, with notes of crispy grapes, yellow peach, citrus, pink pepper, not to forget a floral touch. More vertical on the palate, the acidity and the minerality giving the wine its backbone, its tension. Long finish.
www.wijnenjanrots.be– www.anfors-imperial.com– www.martel.ch/shop

Ried Thal 2017 – Hiedler

This wine comes from the oldest vineyard of the estate, which dates from 1856. The vines are planted on terraces of red sand, gravel and loess with a high limestone content. Very expressive white and yellow fruit on the nose (peach, pear, apple). Ripe, vinous, soft and full-bodied on the palate, but thanks to a good acidity, the wine does not feel heavy.
https://cavesdefrance.be– www.anfors-imperial.com– www.haus-oesterreich.ch

Grand Grü Reserve 2015 – Steininger

The densest wine of our Kamptal series deserves its name: «Grand Grü». It was aged for 10 months in oak so as to obtain a richer texture. On the nose, toffee-apple, apricot and lime. Ripe, but also fresh and mineral on the palate. http://weingut-steininger.at
www.gustoworld.com–  www.verbuntverlinden.nl– www.uvaeva.ch



Ried Pellingen 1ÖTW Privat 2015 – Nigl

40 year-old vines on a terraced slope of crystalline rock. A little discreet on the nose, but when it has been given some air, it delivers nice notes of candied lemon and spices.  Nice vinosity on the palate, full bodied and with a lot of dry extract. Long finish with a nice saltiness.
www.adbibendum.net– www.ullrich.ch

Ried Hölgraben Alte Reben 2017 – Malat

This classic cuvée was fermented in stainless steel then aged between 3 and 5 months in wooden casks.  Floral on the nose, then white peach, citrus, dried apple a white pepper. Very fresh on the palate, with a backbone of acidity and aromas of grapefruit. Nice bitter mineral touch in the finish..
www.start2taste.be– www.grottoria.ch


Ried Gotschelle 1ÖTW 2016 – Malat

On this first growth vine, planted on loess with a high limestone content, grapes ripen well. No wonder that the nose is full aromas: exotic fruit, honey, spices, candied orange and minerality. This complexity is also to be found on the wide palate; a salty and dynamic mineral note gives the final touch. A real terroir wine that is still alive and kicking 3 days after it has been opened. www.malat.at
www.start2taste.be – www.grottoria.ch

Ried Gottschelle 1ÖTW 2016 – Stift Göttweig 

Same terroir as the previous wine, but another producer – a 10 century old benedictine abbey. Ripe fruit on the nose (pear, apple, candied cherry, saffron, curcuma). But the wine is not heavy, thanks to a mineral, salty backbone which balances the 6 grams of residual sugar. Nice bitter finish.
www.verbuntverlinden.nl – www.moevenpick-wein.com


Ried Gottschelle 2017 – Josef Dockner

Exotic fruit, candied citrus, mineral notes on the note. Creamy, buttery mouthfeel, enhanced by a crisp, bitter finish.
www.wijnhuistinto.be– www.smaragdwijnen.nl– www.feinweinsein.ch

Ried Wachtberg 1ÖTW 2016 – Stadt Krems

This terroir wine comes from 400m high terraced hills of gneiss and schist covered with silt and limestone. The nose is very elegant, with citrus, mango and pepper notes. 4g of sugar but a nice, crisp acidity to balance them. Long and delicately bitter and mineral finish.
www.ryslavy.com– www.okhuysen.nl– www.moevenpick-wein.com


Trockenbeerenbauslese 2017 – Türk

A TBA-style Grüner Veltliner? Why not, especially if you like botrytis, glycerol and honey notes. But there is also a nice acidity and a refined bitterness on the palate, which last till the finish. Not to forget nice aromas of apple syrup and sweet spices. Sugar content: 208 g./l; acidity : 7 g./l ; alcohol : 10.
www.wineinabottle.be– www.womenonwine.nl– www.haus-oesterreich.ch



Ried Kellergerg 2016 – Pichler-Krutzler

The solid acidity of this wine is enhanced by its crystallike minerality.  On the nose, granny smith apple and citrus give way to sweet, ripe pears and a hint of thyme. The wine is somewhat rounder on the palate, and the finish is quite persistent.
www.wijnenjanrots.be– www.smaragdwijnen.nl– www.weinesimonelanz.ch


This region lying to the West of Kamptal has 2.732 ha under vines, on deep loess and silt soils on both sides of the Danube. Its wines (red and white), that used to be quite rustic, are improving constantly, especially Grüner Veltliner. The best winemakers offer a very good quality-price relation.


Ried Brunnthal   1ÖTW 2017 – Leth

The 35 year-old vines planted at an altitude of 300 metres took advantage of a good thermal amplitude between day and night. Which explains the freshness of the wine, both on the nose and on the palate. The candied citrus notes may be linked to the loess-limestone soils. On the nose, there is also pear, pepper and floral notes. The ageing in wood barrels has brought some extra roundness, and 3,3 grams of residual sugar balance the acidity. A lot of minerality in the finish.
www.rabotvins.com– https://wijntransport.com– www.haus-oesterreich.ch


Its 851 hectares make this region one of the smallest DAC in Austria. Here, the vines are mostly planted on narrow terraces of gravel, loess and limestone. The most important grapes are Riesling and Grüner Veltliner.

Ried Alte Setzen 1ÖTW  2017 – Markus Huber

This first growth is located on a slope facing East. Only the grapes with the best ripeness are used. 50% is aged in stainless steel, 50% in acacia casks. Very elegant on the nose (yellow fruit, pepper, spices and a hint of blond tobacco). The little softness felt at first on the palate soon gives way to a very dynamic and straight profile. The nice minerality brings freshness and vitality, depth and persistence.
http://lewine.be – www.lesgenereux.nl– www.moevenpick-wein.com

Ried Sonnleithen Alte Reben 2017 – Karl Brindlmayer

Made from 30 year-old vines on deep loess soils exposed to the South East, this wine was made in stainless steel. It shows both freshness and depth. Exotic fruit like pineapple and mango, some spices and a hint of tobacco on the nose, a good balance between sweet ripe fruit and acidity on the palate. A nice minerality in the finish.



The largest wine region of Austria, with some 13.858 ha of vines, Weinviertel is also where the largest volume of grüner veltliner is produced. Amongst a lot of easy-to-drink wines, with quite a lot of carbonic gas, we were able find more ambitious wines, nonetheless.

Steinberg Alte Reben 2017 – Ebner-Ebenauer

A 60 year-old vine on loess. Ripe, golden apples, melon, white pepper and spices on the nose, sweet ripe fruit on the palate, but enough acidity to reach a good balance. A slight bitterness in the finish.
www.terroirnv.be– www.dewijnwarrior.nl– www.boucherville.ch


Äußere Bergen 2015 – Zull

Grüner veltliner ripens well on the slopes of this hill protected from the westerly winds, with alluvial silt-sand soils. This wine aged in large cask offers a complex nose of golden apples, ripe pears, spices and exotic fruit, and a mineral texture. Very harmonious to the finish.
www.odilon.be– www.dewijnkamer.be– www.millevins.ch


Reserve Golden 2017 – Pfaffl

Probably the most generous wine of  the 109 Grüner Veltliner we tasted. Maybe because the grapes ripened on sandy slopes facing South?
It shows a dense golden colour, aromas of honey and peppered pineapple. Soft but powerful mouthfeel, balance by a nice acidity.  A wine those who like it hot and full bodied.
www.ambrosius.be– www.whynotwein.eu– www.pootagenturen.nl– www.wijnhuisverlinden.be


Going South


South of Vienna, along the Hungarian border, this 13,000 hectare-vineyard produces one third of the Austrian wine production. With a very continental climate, it is also the warmest of the country – its hot summers are particularly long. It has 4 DACs, in which the red grapes are often dominant.

Zantho 2017

Not showing as much ripeness as other wines we tasted, this wine seduced the jury with it crispiness, its high carbonic gas content, and its gooseberry and peppered white peach aromas. Citric and mineral notes enhance its liveliness. What it lacks in body, it gives in persistence. Positively dry.
www.doliovinum.be– www.anfors-imperial.com– www.riegger.ch

Bernard Arnould

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