Austria’s two signatures: Grüner Veltliner and Wiener Schnitzel

Austria isn’t just proficient in their winemaking abilities, but also in unique and delectable cuisine. Particularly, one of Austria’s national dishes, Wiener schnitzel, is a specialty that pairs beautifully with one of Austria’s signature wines, Grüner Veltliner.

Wiener schnitzel

Wiener schnitzel is traditionally made with veal, which is coated in a bread-crumb crust and pan-fried. Traditionally, the meat is tenderized by pounding it, drenched in egg, flour and breadcrumbs and then shallow fried. This method, including the pounding of the meat, was found to go back to its origins when the recipe was first created.

It was thought that the recipe originated in Italy when evidence of the meal was found in a gastronomy book in 1869. There have been debates whether this was true – or whether it was truly first developed in Austria itself. Regardless, this is now officially one of Austria’s most popular dishes – and with great reason.

Although there are substitutes for the meat – often being pork because of the price difference – the Austrian food committees established a law that only when veal is used in the recipe, is it allowed to be called Wiener schnitzel.

Grüner Veltliner

Similarly, Grüner Veltliner is also believed to have originated in Italy – dating back to the Roman times, but there is also a great debate regarding that. Before the Second World War, the varietal was not an appreciated one – considered just another white wine grape. However, after some vine-training by a winemaker, Lenz, Moser, the grape became widely popular and turned into Austria’s most planted varietal.

It isn’t just a similar, yet debatable origin that this wine and meal share – but also compatibility beyond belief. Grüner Veltliner is crisp, acidic and has intense grapefruit, lime and peach flavors and often has a lovely white pepper aroma to i. It is often referred to as an exotic Sauvignon Blanc – which is exactly what it is.

There are a number of reasons that these characteristics work with the veal dish. Not only does the acidity cut through the oil and crumbs of the veal, but the acidity is perfect for the green salads that are often served with schnitzels.  

The different styles in which Grüner Veltliner can be made – from light and crisp to heavy and nutty makes this wine a great option for the Schnitzel. These styles allow any personal spices and herbs to be added to the veal and still being able to find a Grüner Veltliner to match.

The Austrian cuisine, with their hearty, flavorsome and textural aspects has made it the place to be for any foodie. The greatest part is that they also have everything for a wine-lover – which allows for a secret wine-and-food paradise. For anyone who has a love for good food and even better wine – Austria is not a place that should be overlooked.