Why 2019 will have you hooked on Austria’s signature dry white

As a group of wine lovers who started championing Grüner Veltliner decades ago, it’s hugely gratifying for CellarHand to see the rise and rise of this grape variety. Homegrown renditions are getting more attention, and examples from its Austrian homeland are de rigueur on a decent list.

It’s particularly gratifying that Grüner’s gone mainstream because it certainly ain’t beige. Jancis Robinson refers to its “otherwise unprecedented range of flavours”, as well as its ability to be a complete wine across a spectrum of alcohol levels and palate weights.

For those uninitiated, hitherto unconvinced or in anyway underwhelmed, 2019’s Austrian harvest is the time to really get your Grüner groove on. Now we’ve had a chance to see a range from the Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal and Weinviertel, we can say there’s something particularly special going on here. Good Grüner always offers scattered flickers of interest, but the ‘19s dial it all up: more bewitching aromatics, more balm in the soothing flow, more spark in the spice, more reach through the finish.

The following will all hit the mark.

2019 Groiss Grüner Veltliner $30

Notes of green apple, ripe lemon and freshly cut pear flesh are most appetizing on the nose. The palate also brims with citrus freshness while riper fruit keeps flashing up amidst that bracing, lively briskness. The body is slender, vivid and dry.

91 points. Anne Krebiehl MW, Wine Enthusiast

2019 Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel $32

Spicy and fruity with mineral, stone and steel. Dried lime and lemon zest. Medium-bodied and zesty and fruity at the end. Gorgeous and vibrant. Drink now. Screw cap. 

92 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com 

2019 Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Kamptal Terrassen $40

This seems a strong vintage for this wine. Ripe apple, honey, a faint dried mango richness, dusting of white pepper and breakfast radish spice. Good intensity of flavour, fresh but quite weighty, savoury flavours in the mix too, and lovely fine chalk dust texture throughout. Finish is long. A banger.

94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

2019 Emmerich Knoll Loibner Grüner Veltliner Federspiel $54

Excellent weight and texture, a fine powdery white peppery feel here, and richness of tangerine, red apple skin and something like lemon barley in the mix, and fennel perfume, but one of those wines where the flavours found will vary greatly from person to person. Never mind all that though, the main thing is that it’s just so good to drink. Maybe some parsnip or turnip, too, and a light vaguely green character, though never at expense of ripeness. Finish is long and fleshy. Terrific.

94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

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