The grape grows very well in Austria, on terraces along the Danube river. The wine can range from peppery to minerally depending on where it is grown. Grüner Veltliner is mostly drunk young, but it does have the ability to age. This wine has a reputation of being a particularly food friendly wine.
Although it is obviously a lot older, some say dating back to Roman time, Gruner Veltliner was first mentioned under this name in 1855. It took until the 1930s for Gruner Veltliner to become the established standard name for this grape variety. The grape gained in popularity in the 1950's and became the most planted variety in Austria. In 1985 the Austrian export market suffered a major blow after it was found that they were adding Diethylene glycol to their wines to add sweetness, the “anti freeze” scandal caused exports to fall by 90%. Strict laws were introduced controlling the quality of Austrian wines which led to the production of better quality wines and the market recovered to pre crisis export levels in 2001.
Austria is by far the largest grower of Gruner Veltliner grapes with 17,151 hectares grown there in 2008. This accounts for about one third of all vineyards in the country. Almost all Gruner Veltliner is grown in the North East of the country. West of Vienna, along the Danube the grape grows in Kremstal, Wachau and Kamptal. Here it grows on slopes so steep they can barely retain soil. Wines produced here are very pure, minerally wines that can compete with the great white wines of the world, and in blind tastings Gruner Veltliner has beaten world class chardonnay's.
To the North East of Vienna in Weinviertel, Gruner Veltliner is grown in the deeper clay soils. Under these conditions the wines tend to take on more of a spicy, pepper character. The Czech Republic also produces some quality Gruner Veltliners. The grapes can also be found growing in Austria, Hungary, The United States, and more recently in Australia and New Zealand.
Gruner Veltliner wines tends to be a crisp, light-to-medium bodied dry wines with an edge of spice. It can have slight lemon or pineapple flavors with mineral, herbal, floral, and even fresh pea or lentil notes, and it’s known for having a slight white pepper taste on the finish. These wines pair well with seafood and Asian food, anything from Vietnamese to spicy chinese flavors.