Warm weather is here. Very warm. In fact, unprecedented “heat domes” in June and now well into July, across much of the country. That’s one of the reasons—plus simply on merit—I’m recommending what I think is one of the three most crisp, refreshing, and ideal summer white wines in the world: A Gruner Veltliner (Groo-ner Velt-leener), the national wine of Austria. Interestingly, Although Gruner Veltliner means “green grape from Veltlin,” a village in northern Italy, it’s almost surely indigenous to Austria.
This wine was basically unknown in the US until a couple decades ago. But in 2002, it rose to some prominence, and dare I say fame (at least among wine folks) in a similar-to-The-Judgment-of Paris tasting in London, besting several Chardonnays and White Burgundies. Today, when I peruse wine lists from across the spectrum of moderately-sized wine bars to large fine dining restaurants, it’s almost a given that you’ll find at least one, and perhaps three of these.
The Dürnberg Falkenstein Grüner Veltliner 2019 is also a great value at around $15, with a remarkably zesty mouthfeel, solid citrus flavors, solid but not overbearing concentration, and a clean, fresh finish. This wine, with a modest 12.5% ABV, epitomizes all the great things about this entire wine category, and while I picked this one, you can be sure there are many more out there. Most of them are never aged in new oak, helping ensure their fresh flavor is maintained, but many are still capable of aging quite nicely. While I prefer to stay with Austrian Gruners, and almost all are, there are a few from Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and even Oregon, and I think we’ll see more countries also adopting and cultivating this wonderful grape.
On a hot day, and I’m sure you’ll have many from which to choose, pull out a chilled bottle of this magnificent wine and you won’t be disappointed.