Austria is home to many interesting wines made from varieties unique to the region. Grüner Veltliner (pronunciation a cross between GROO-ner and GREE-ner, and Veltliner is as it appears, VEHLT-ly-ner). Often called Gruner, Gru-Ve or simply GV, is Austria's most planted grape, accounting for over one-third of the vineyard plantings. It is also grown in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and wine regions outside of Europe are experimenting with small plantings.
Some sources say that Grüner Veltliner dates back to Roman times, but the name only appeared in the mid-19th century. Before that time it was known as Gruner Muskateller, and was not an exceptional wine until skilful viticulture post-World War II learned how to get the most from the grape.
Recent DNA analysis, the Traminer grape is one of its parents. Grüner means/ translates to green from the German language. The wine is also called Green Veltliner, acknowledging the deep green-coloured grapes that ripen in mid-late October. The other parent was later found to be an originally unnamed variety of which only a single, abandoned, very old and weakened vine was found in St. Georgen outside Eisenstadt in Austria, it is therefore referred to as St. Georgener-Rebe.
Grüner's most impressive talent is to translate the soil in which the grapes are grown through the minerality in the wine. It gives wines that are typically dry and medium to full-bodied. While it can be aged if the production process is adjusted, generally it is intended to be drunk young.
In Austria, one can find Grüner sparkling - sekt, Austria's national bubbly. Young Grüner - 'Heurige', or new wine, is Austria's answer to Beaujolais Nouveau, on a slightly earlier release date November 11, St. Martin's Day. Austria's wine standards are so exacting, high quality Heurige is not hard to find.
Grüner is a great food wine that can be enjoyed with poultry and pork as well as seafood and other dishes traditionally enjoyed with white wine. Grüner Veltliner can also make fantastic late harvest styles, or Beerenauslese.