Until recently, Grüner Veltliner had always been considered a high-production commercial grape, best suited for simple, easy-drinking wines. Since the 1980s, however, serious Austrian winemakers have discovered that, with lower yields and higher ripeness, Grüner Veltliner can produce stunningly intense and concentrated wines. Even the simple wines, from over-cropped vines and under-ripe fruit, can have very pleasant citrus and grapefruit aromas, with a hint of the varietal's most distinguishing characteristic: the spicy fragrance of freshly ground white pepper.
Today's better Grüner Veltliners, from top sites and lower yields, can be astonishingly complex, full of exotic tropical fruits, white pepper and lentils. They can also show aromas of green beans or asparagus, an engaging vegetable aroma that is seldom vegetal, especially when grown in mineral soil. The best wines from this type of soil will age gracefully for many years, becoming even more elegant and refined as the decades pass.
Its ability to age beautifully is one of the many characteristics that Grüner Veltliner shares with Riesling. Both varietals have naturally high acid, an essential component of wine that will age well.
Grüner Veltliner is perhaps the single most versatile food wine in the world, often even surpassing Riesling because of its ability to pair with "difficult" foods such as artichokes and asparagus. Its firm mineral background gives Grüner Veltliner the strength of character to work well with many cuisines, being especially well-suited to modern cooking that focuses on the fresh flavor of local ingredients. Grüner Veltliner is eagerly embraced by creative chefs and innovative sommeliers around the world.
Grüner Veltliner pairs especially well with acidic dishes such as Austrian wiener schnitzel and American fried chicken and other fried foods, pork and veal with citric and other acidic sauces, sushi, sausages, Japanese/Indian/Thai cuisines and asparagus and other vegetables served with acidic sauces.
Cheeses that work well with Grüner Veltliner include Appenzeller, herbed Boursin, Bucheron, Chevre, Dry Jack, sheep-milk Feta, Garrotxa, Gouda, Havarti, Mahon, Pave Affinois, Raclette and Taleggio and pretty much all cheeses that pair well with Riesling.