I never heard of this varietal before I was perusing my Twitter feed and this recommendation came up from Reverse Wine Snob, Jon Thorson. It just so happened I was looking for something exactly like this for my dinner that day — something light, refreshing, perfect for a hot summer’s evening.

At first my mind ran down the list: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Reisling? But none of those flavor profiles truly met the brief for my dinner-pairing…

I was at my local Trader Joe’s when I remembered the review I had read that morning. I picked up that bottle and, true to my book-nerd form, read the back of the bottle: “light-bodied,” “dry,” “fresh and lively” — sold!

About the Wine: Gruner Veltliner is a white wine grape varietal grown predominantly in Austria (about 75%), although this particular wine comes from Hungary. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of this varietal before because I certainly hadn’t until I found this wine (although admittedly, I now see it everywhere — isn’t that the way of it). Not to mention the person I was drinking with asked “That’s the name of the grape or the company?” after I revealed the wine pairing for the evening.

Flavor Profile: Gruner Veltliner flavor profile has a broad spectrum. The 2014 by Floriana is an off-dry white wine. In the glass, it’s such a pale yellow, it’s almost clear. The nose of this wine is reminiscent of tropical fruits and citrus zest — and for a moment, you may think you’re about to sip on a sweet-ish Sauv Blanc. But on the tongue those fruit flavors are quite subtle, with more grass and green herb notes coming forward. The most dominating flavor characteristic is the effervescence, which provides a bit of a spice-kick on the tongue from start to finish and certainly cuts through any potential “sweetness” the fruits flavors may have had.

Lastly, it’s quite low in alcohol at 12% ABV, which gives the wine an overall lighter body and refreshing feeling — even non-wine drinkers may enjoy this one.

Food Pairing: With the effervescence, slight spice-kick, and beautiful herbaceous qualities, I believe that this wine is best paired with fattier, saltier foods (think sausages, crispy-skin pork belly, even fish and chips — and I guess your typical Hungarian/Austrian fare).

I started this post out saying I was looking for the perfect pairing for my meal that night. Honestly, I drank this with a couple of hotdogs and it was divine…cheers!

More Info: I purchased this wine at my local Trader Joe’s for $4.99, and it must be a TJ’s exclusive, because I can’t seem to find it anywhere else. To find the Trader Joe’s nearest you, go to traderjoes.com.


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