When I think of Austrian wine, gruner Veltliner immediately comes to mind.
Sparkling wine … does not.
But it turns out that when you combine those two things, you get an elegant, refreshing, Champagne-style wine for a fraction of the price.
Champagne Method Where the Grape Shines Through
I discovered sparkling gruner at an Austrian tasting earlier this month at Tim’s Wine Market in Orlando, where we were fortunate enough to be joined by Peter Szigeti of Szigeti wines.
He and his brother Norbert make only sparkling wine, using the champagne method, which they call “méthode traditionnelle.”
Szigeti (pronounced ZIG-it-ee) produces several single-varietal sparklings. Along with the Gruner Veltliner brut, we tasted a brut rosé of pinot noir and the “Klimpt” blanc de blancs, made with 100% chardonnay. All were excellent and could stand up to most of the better non-Champagne sparkling wines I’ve had.
The gruner was my favorite, mainly because of its elegance, lightness, and lack of overpowering yeast or bread characteristics.
Just as I don’t like too much oak on a still wine, I appreciate a sparkling wine that lets the character of the grape itself shine through. (In the case of gruner, that character includes high acidity and notes of lime and white pepper.) Luckily for me, the Szigeti brothers agree. They actively espouse this philosophy in all their winemaking.
Affordable and Food-Friendly
Best of all, the Szigeti Gruner Veltliner brut retails for just $24.
I’ve bought two bottles so far, and it’s very versatile.
The first bottle paired nicely with a vegetarian meal of chickpeas, broccoli, lemon, and cumin; the second was equally at home with a lovely brunch – quiche, smoked salmon, and homemade bagels. (Credit goes to Lesa, The Boozy Epicure for the quiche and bagels, by the way!)
It would also be beautiful as an aperitif, wedding, or pool wine.
I’m officially adding Austria to my list of places to look for great sparkling wine. I suggest you do the same!
2 thoughts on “Austrian Sparkling Wine – A Delightful Surprise”
Interesting. I must admit I pass by these kinds of wines in wine shops and at BevMo all the time, being unfamiliar with Austrian wines. I just did a search and there’s a local winemaker to the central coast of California doing Gruner Veltliner. Probably not so similar to a European vintage but I’m game to try it. Thanks for the tasting notes.