Grüner Veltliner (GREW-nuhr Felt-LEEN-ehr) is not one of the most well known wine grapes on the planet. Mainly grown in Austria and accounting for nearly 40% of the country’s grape production, it is used in a variety of styles of white wines, all of which are known for being food friendly.
Wines made from the Grüner Veltliner grape tend to have a spicy nose of white pepper, floral perfume, and either peach or tropical fruit. They are typically medium to full-bodied, although some are made in a lighter style. With decent alcohol levels, minerality and nice acidity, this makes them very easy to pair with food, even some of the traditionally tough pairings.
Weinrieder 2006 Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben* is an excellent example of just how good this wine can be. It has a light gold color, with a nose of white pepper and faint aromas of apple and pear. The taste is rich, creamy and unctuous. Pineapple, apricot and pear flavors dominate, with some vanilla notes chiming in here and there. It has a fairly thick mouth-feel that is balanced by a nice, mouth-watering acidity. The finish is long and starts off as pineapple tapering off to a very pleasant caramelized sugar taste.
This Austrian gem weighs in with 14% alcohol, and sells for around $25-30 dollars. We received it from Blue Danube Wine Company for review, where it sells for $26.95. Great with traditional German fare, we paired it with pork chops, sauerkraut and potatoes (recipe to follow), and it was perfect with each. Weinrieder 2006 Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben is delicious now, but should age beautifully for a few years.
The dish we paired this with couldn’t be any simpler to prepare. I am not going to give measurements as they really don’t much matter here.
Wash and thinly slice enough Yukon Gold potatoes to line the bottom of your baking dish in a layer about 2 inches deep. Cover this with a layer of sliced and sautéed onions. Sprinkle with some brown mustard seeds and freshly ground pepper. Salt and pepper some pork loin chops and brown on both sides. Add chops to baking dish and deglaze pan with some white wine and chicken stock (guess at how much you need to just moisten the top of your dish), letting it reduce a little. While liquid is simmering, cover the chops with sauerkraut and a few more mustard seeds. When the liquid has reduced some, whisk in a few dollops of good, spicy brown mustard. Pour over the top of the pan.
Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees until the potatoes are just fork tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Let sit, covered, for ten minutes and then serve.
* pictured is the 2002 vintage