There are some people recommending pairing bubbly with seafood, and while that’s not bad, I’m recommending a wine. Not any wine, but an acid-filled white that’s loaded with citrus and has a signature peppery finish. It’s the easy quaffable, pronounced (GROO-ner VEHLT-ly-ner) wine.
Austria, the land of Grüner Veltliner, has been producing wines for centuries but has only recently (last 25 years) been recognized for growing quality wines. Located right on the Danube River, the four wine growing regions which are near Austria’s Eastern border that surround Vienna.
In 1985, a small number of Austrian winemakers made some noise. They decided to add the chemical, diethylene glycol, to their wine, which mimics the sweetness derived from “noble rot,” and got caught. In return, the strict wine laws in Austria still in effect today were borrowed from the Germans out of necessity. The process, guided by chemical analysis of the wine, is the heart of the regional classification system—Steinfeder (Max 10.7% alcohol), Federspiel (Max 11.5% alcohol) and Smaragd (Max 12% alcohol). All of the Qualitatswein (quality wine) from the Wachau region must display a Prüfnummer (test number) on the label.
Fan fact. One-third of the grapes grown in Austria are of the variety Grüner Veltliner.
But why does it perfectly pair with all types of seafood?
It’s the acid!
Whoa dude! Not that type of acid. It’s the natural acid, like citric, tartaric, lactic, malic acid, which results from the grapes and winemaking experience that makes Grüner Veltliner dynamite with ceviche and other seafood dishes.
Where does all that acid come from?
Grüner Veltliner is aged in steel rather than oak which will reward you with a nice acidity, cutting through the heavy, buttery sauces commonly served with these types of fish.
Grüner Veltliner or GV for short, is medium bodied, lightly fruity, high acidity and contains unique spice notes. More-specifically, flavors include apple, apricot, peach, lime, white pepper, celery, a unique minerality, and just a dab of fresh ground pepper on the finish.
Other, New World, wine growers are taking note and Grüner Veltliner is it’s now being grown in Australia, British Columbia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Raw fish such as sushi, sashimi - especially with Asian seasonings like ginger or wasabi are great pairings for Grüner Veltliner.