But if your mode of transportation is an automobile, you can get an up-close look at the river-level plantings, as many of the narrow roads are lined with Gruner Veltliner grapevines.
Over the past two years, Gruner Veltliner (pronounced grew-ner velt-leen-er) has gained widespread popularity in the Untied States, as it has become the darling of sommeliers from coast to coast.
The reason its food affinity. Other than rich beef-based dishes such as stews or steaks, it’s hard to find any food that doesn’t pair well with Gruner Veltliner.
Sometimes referred to by somms simply as “Grooner” or even “Groovy,” Gruner Veltliner is Austria’s most widely planted grape variety, by far, and the finest renditions come from the vineyards lining the Danube in Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal.
In the Wachau Valley, many of the wineries craft three bottlings of Gruner Veltliner, differentiated by alcohol level. Within those three designations, two distinctive styles have emerged.
One is spicy, weighty and quite complex, with layers of aromas and flavors. The wines made in this style tend to age gracefully for five years or more, and over time can develop a honeyed characteristic.
The other style is lighter and fresher, with less emphasis on spice (although the white pepper-like quality is still noticeable) and more emphasis on fruit qualities reminiscent of citrus. This is the style that sommeliers have embraced, as the wine pairs well with white meats, fowl and fish, as well as mildly spiced ethnic fare.
When Gruner Veltliner is in your wine glass, life truly is groovy.