A couple of weekends ago we participated in the Second Glass Wine Riot tastings in Washington DC – a tasting geared toward Millenials that really adds an educational component to wine tastings rather just being a four-hour power our of a tasting.

We had our own booth which means we were also afforded the opportunity to truly engage the crowd. We came up with a tasting game – three large glasses labeled Grüner Veltliner, Zweigelt, and/or Blaufränkisch were arranged on a table with a bowl full of fake foods in front of it. Attendees were asked to pick the flavorings that they tasted and put them in the corresponding glass.

What we learned were a couple things. Number one, after a few too many sips of wine, some people think it is more enjoyable to throw the fake fruit at each other than use it educationally, and more importantly number two, that many consumers don’t really know what they’re tasting. As a result, we found our game to be even more worthwhile!

The thing about Grüner Veltliner is this…it’s signature taste is white pepper,  but unfortunately we don’t have the pleasure of eating that much white pepper in the states (though it is highly recommended.) As a result, this taste is often lost on consumers who are left without truly understanding what it is they are tasting.

In light of this, we’ve developed this tasting series to help educate consumers further on what they should be tasting when they taste our indigenous varieties as well as those international varieties grown on our distinct terroir.

First up: Grüner Veltliner

As depicted in the glass picture to the left, Grüner Veltliner is a very complex grape. In the past we’ve done some work to demonstrate the stylistic differences per region so it’s a little hard to pinpoint the flavors that all Grüner Veltliner contains, but there are definitely some defining notes that can help you determine if the wine is Grüner Veltliner or if you’ve been bamboozled.

The taste: As noted, Grüner Veltliner is most widely recognized by its distinct taste and aroma of white pepper, green apple, and citrus. Riper expressions of the grape are also noted for a melon component while lighter expressions can be somewhat grassy and herbaceous, but pleasantly so and in some areas, Grüner Veltliner portrays a stony, mineral flavor from the soils. Of course, which flavors dominate the wine are also largely due to age, area of origin, and vintage year, but these are general guidelines.

Another note on Grüner Veltliner is that the wines are largely defined by their acidity. They are almost always bone dry, with the exception of dessert wines most often found in Burgenland. Even those wines that are made from riper grapes such as Reserve level wines and Smaragd levels wine

Of course, the best way to recognize the flavor in any wine is to taste the food from which the flavor comparison is deriving. Our recommendation: go out and buy a white-pepper grinder and eat lots of it! Trust us, you’ll thank us.

How are you at recognizing GV flavor components? Share your stories with us!