Grüner Veltliner: Austria's signature white grape accounts for one in every 3 vines in Austria. Call it "groovy" if you struggle with German language pronunciation. It's often called GrüVe for short, even by some of the savvy producers who know it's a bit of a mouthful for the non-linguists.
If you've never tasted this crisp white varietal before, you've been missing out. And now that summer is on the way, (and don't we all wish it would hurry up and get here), it might be time to pick up a bottle for those long, light evenings in the sun that are surely just around the corner.
So what's special about it?
For starters, it's got lots of juicy acidity and some people even feel the sensation of a slight spritz, though this is a still wine. This makes it light and refreshing.
GrüVe can stand up to some of the most difficult to match spring and summer dishes, such as leafy green salads, fresh tomato & basil, peas, asparagus and even Spinach. It is also a great companion for Thai Green Curry, and other lightly spiced dishes, Asian inspired prawn dishes, or even a bowl of mussels. Sounds like you should have a bottle in your fridge, right?
Its food-friendliness means it's appearing on more and more restaurant wine lists. And it's dining out that I've tended to drink this most. It's reliable, and can work for several different dishes. (I most recently had had an excellent example when we visited The Square over Easter.)
But what does it taste like?
Austria isn't perhaps as renowned for wine as it should be. But it is producing some great wines, right now. I'd recommend seeking out a Zweigelt if you prefer reds.
We're drinking the Felsner, available from Waitrose
Niederösterreich, the north-east part of Austria, sees one vine in every two planted as Grüner Veltliner. The silty-soiled slopes of the Kremstal, where our bottle originated, produces lovely ripe examples.
My name's Heather and I've been enjoying wine for over 20 years. I'm the 2013 winner of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Rhone prize for oustanding students at the advanced level.