Who else would request a horizontal tasting of Grüner Veltliner, but an Austrian wine writer? The profound viticulturist and winemaker Simon Nunns of Coopers Creek Vineyard presented me with New Zealand’s interpretation of Austria’s predominant grape variety.
New Zealand has 35,000 hectares of vines and produces an amazing diversity of varieties and styles. With only 35 hectares of GV, it is quite a niche product. It was also a tasting that will not interest the average wine lover as much as it will Austrian and New Zealand wine producers. Austrians will be interested whether or not they might have serious competition for the darling white wine variety of international wine geeks. New Zealand producers will be interested whether the variety has potential in their wine regions.
The series of wines tasted came from several different wine regions. Not only was very good varietal character apparent, Grüner Veltliner aptly expressed differences in New Zealand terroir.
Grüner Veltliner could indeed have the ability to produce great wines in New Zealand. Whether or not locals can wrap their tongues around the pronunciation of the grape is another concern.