Tag Archives: Gruner Veltliner

Blog: ANTIFREEZE IN YOUR WINE?! | Why now is the time to re-visit Austrian Wine and get excited.

By Sam Johnson

Sam brings you a story natural beauty, music, scandal and revival… he also tells you why you should start getting excited by Austrian Wine and its groundbreaking new makers, keen to show off what the country has to offer.

 When you think of Austria, you think of snow capped Alps and glüwein on the piste; a land of quaint alpine lodges, where insubordinate nuns sing in the rolling meadows of the hilltops, while the faint sound of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute Overture’ can be heard drifting up from the quiet town below. Thinking of their wine, you may even think of cheap, thin and acidic, mass-produced antifreeze…

But gone are those days! Now is the time to reconsider your view on the export of this once overlooked wine producing region, in a big way!

The State of Austrian Wine Today

2003 gave us the new DAC system (Austria’s equivalent of the Italian DOC) and through greater levels of control in Austrian winemaking, Austrian wine has not only recovered from its horror period in the 1980s, but also gone from strength to strength.

Now producing on average way over 250million bottles a year, the majority of Austria’s wine production is focused on three lesser-known varieties and well as more familiar names such as Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay:

  • Grüner Veltliner

Often likened to Sauvignon Blanc, it makes crisp, dry and fresh white wines that are un-oaked. Its delicate citrus flavours intertwine with peach and a waft of dry, spicy, white pepper that works brilliantly with simple grilled fish dishes.

  • Zweigelt

The most planted red variety in Austria, Zweigelt is a lighter style of red wine that more often than not is un-oaked. Sometimes lacking a little depth initially, Zweigelt opens up to develop concentrated notes of raspberry and black cherry.

  • Blaufränkisch

If you’re looking for something a little heavier then Blaufränkisch is the way to go. Age-worthy, with big tannins, its wines retain a lovely acidity and freshness with notes of blackberry, cassis and sour cherry.

So whatever it is that you’re looking for, why not to reach for an Austrian Wine next time you come to pick something up? There really is something for everybody!

Who’s Behind It?

A big part of the rebirth of Austrian Wine is down to a new generation of winemakers in the country who are embracing new ideas and techniques, and striving to produce better wines at every turn. One example would be Arnold Holzer at Eschenhoff Holzer, who after taking over the winery at just 22 years of age, has gone on to produce some stunning examples of both Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt that are not only low in sulphur, but also embrace modern packaging and label design reminiscent of the hyper trendy Craft Beer scene.

Another producer that we are really proud to work with is Weingut R&A Pfaffl. Pfaffl are a really top end Austrian producer who make the lovable and affordable ‘Dot’ series, all the way up to the stunning Passion Reserve Riesling (a personal favourite of mine), which although at a premium price, is just simply a delightful glass of wine!

The Pfaffl family are at the forefront of vineyard and cellar management techniques in Austria and are a worthy overseas flag-bearer for their nation. So we were super excited to send Will, our Assistant Manager, out to Austria to take a look around the winery and taste through their range to make sure that we are stocking the best of what’s out there! Take a look at some of his photos below. (I know… It’s a hard job that he’s got, our Will!)


In the 1980’s it would have been impossible to think that such quality could come from the ashes of one of the great wine scandals of the 20th century, but yet here we find ourselves. Austria’s new generation of winemakers are tearing up the European wine scene, refusing to be ignored, and they have the grape-based goods to back it up. That alone is a reason for you to stop passing them over, give them a whirl, and get excited!

Next week: “Glassware: is it really worth it?”

For any information regarding the blog or social media, please contact sam@thewhalleywineshop.com



Gorgeous Gruner….The next big thing?

Tom writes a wine column for The Longridge News, last week he did a piece about Gruner Veltliner, and here’s what he had to say…

Gorgeous Gruner Veltliner – the next big thing?

Have you tried this lovely white grape variety from Europe yet, if not that may soon change. At The Whalley Wine Shop we have been introducing customers to ‘Gruner’ and all it’s wonderful, easy drinking, charms and getting a fantastic response. Let’s start at the beginning. Gruner Veltliner is a white grape from Austria where 1 in every 3 vines planted is Gruner Veltliner. It makes light, crisp, dry, fresh white wines that are unoaked. Delicate citrus flavours intertwine with peach and a haunting waft of dry, spicy, white pepper that works brilliantly with simple grilled fish dishes. And that clean, dry, straightforward style is why I think it will appeal to white wine drinkers who enjoy both Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

If you’re a fan of Pinot Grigio then you will enjoy Gruner for it’s soft, easy drinking style with pleasant hints of citrus and a lovely clean unoaked style. If you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc then you will enjoy Gruner for it’s fresh zesty flavour, nice citrus notes, a nuance of more exciting fruit, and a lovely dry, spicy finish… oh and did I mention it’s unoaked. So if you like the crisp, fresh and minerally style of white wine I would definitely urge you to try an Austrian Gruner Veltliner, especially if you’re having fish. You can find a lot of great examples of Gruner Veltliner at around £9.99 a bottle, and it’s well worth it.

Gruner’s popularity is spreading and another country getting in on the act is New Zealand. The Kiwi’s are world famous for their fabulous Sauvignon Blancs and have another potential success on their hands with Gruner Veltliner. I tried a new NZ Gruner last week at an industry wine tasting in London and WOW, the flavours are fantastic, more intense than the European examples with abundant fruit character; peach, pineapple, honey and spice all pushing to the front. Fuller bodied and with texture, more suited to spicy Asian dishes, the New Zealand Gruner Veltliner offers a lovely contrast to the clean, crisp Austrian wines.

Our recommendation would be to try the Austrian Gruner first and then the New Zealand. Start with the wonderfully named – The Dot, Austrian Pepper, from the European Winery of the Year, R&A Pfaffl – a delicious and modern example from a new, exciting young wine maker. Light citrus flavours, textured mineral quality with a touch of black pepper spice in the tail. Then try ‘The Crossings’, Gruner Veltliner, 2016 from New Zealand – the first vintage from the Yealands Wine Estate in Marlborough, and it’s utterly delicious.

Get into gorgeous Gruner and be one step ahead of the ‘next big thing’ in white wines. Cheers.

Check out The Dot, Austrian Pepper, a delicious Gruner Veltliner from Pfaffl, The European Winery of the Year.