Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay

Characteristics Grüner Veltliner Chardonnay
Hue Pale lemon to greenish Pale lemon to deep golden
Color White White
Aromas White pepper, green apple, citrus Apple, pear, buttery, vanilla
Sweetness Dry Dry to off-dry
Acid High Medium to High
Alcohol (%) 12-13% 13-15%
Body Light to medium Medium to full
Intensity Medium Medium to pronounced
Key Growing Regions Austria (Wachau, Kamptal), Germany, Slovakia France (Burgundy, Chablis), California, Australia – Most Major Winegrowing Regions
Classic Pairings Light salads, asparagus, seafood Chicken, seafood, creamy dishes
Price Range $15-$35 $10-$50

Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay is a great white wine comparison because certain styles can seem similar.

Grüner Veltliner is a dry, lean, citrus-driven white wine with high acid. Chardonnay is fuller bodied with a wider range of citrus, stone, and even tropical fruit.

Here’s what you need to know about Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay.

Grüner Veltliner: Crisp and Crunchy

gruner veltliner vs chardonnay - what's gruner veltliner wine taste like inforgraphic

Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s signature white wine grape. Grüner Veltliner has a light to medium-bodied profile with vibrant green apple, citrus, white pepper and a distinctive minerality.

The wine’s clean and crisp finish is achieved through fermentation in stainless steel tanks, preserving its natural freshness and fruitiness.

Helpful Tip: Here’s the complete guide to Grüner Veltliner.

Chardonnay Basics: Classic White Wine

what's chardonnay wine taste like infographic - chardonnay vs gruner veltliner

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the world. Also from France, Chardonnay crafts wines that differ depending on the growing climate, from steely and acidic with minerality, to luscious stone and tropical fruits.

Chardonnay is often called a winemaker’s grape because the winemaker can play with different winemaking techniques to make different styles of Chardonnay.

Helpful Tip: Go check out this complete guide to Chardonnay wine.

Wine Comparison: Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay

Here’s a side-by-side comparison highlighting the key differences and similarities between Chardonnay and Grüner Veltliner.

Grüner Veltliner Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Gruner Veltliner is a dry wine.
  • Alcohol: Grunder Veltliner will be medium alcohol, often a little lower than most Chardonnay wines.
  • Body: Gruner Veltliner has a light to medium-bodied profile, delivering a clean and easy-drinking experience.
  • Flavor Profile: Obvious flavors of green apple, citrus, and mineral.
  • Acidity: Gruner Veltliner typically features refreshing acidity, enhancing its fruit-forward nature. Higher than Chardonnay.

Chardonnay Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Chardonnay wines cover the spectrum from bone-dry to off-dry. Less expensive Chardonnay often has a little residual sugar from unfermented grape juice in it for sweetness.
  • Alcohol: Chardonnay wines generally have a moderate alcohol content, ranging from around 12% to 14% ABV.
  • Body: Chardonnay exhibits a diverse range of body, from light and crisp to full and creamy, depending on winemaking choices.
  • Acid: Chardonnay can showcase a broad spectrum of acidity, from vibrant and zesty to more rounded and soft.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Chardonnay’s profile varies widely, with notes of green apple, citrus, tropical fruit, and sometimes hints of vanilla and butter.
  • Styles: Styles range from unoaked, highlighting bright fruit, to oaked, introducing creamy textures and nuances of oak influence.

Are Grüner Veltliner and Chardonnay Similar?

Grüner Veltliner is similar to high-acid, linear styles of Chardonnay, like Chablis. Both wines will forefront citrus and mineral notes.

What Is the Difference Between Grüner Veltliner and Chardonnay?

Chardonnay comes in a wider range of styles than Grüner Veltliner, from linear and high-acid, to buttery and rich with a full body.

Helpful Tip: Here’s why your wine tastes like butter.

Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

gruner veltliner vs chardonnay - salad and white wine
  • Chardonnay, with its many styles, pairs well with a range of foods, from seafood to grilled chicken and even heartier dishes like lobster or roasted pork.
  • Gruner Veltliner’s clean and delicate character makes it a versatile partner for light pasta dishes, white meats, and mild cheeses. It’s also a fantastic wine for sipping on a warm afternoon.

Personal Note: Here’s a list of my 5 favorite everyday Chardonnay wine pairings for normal people.

Chardonnay and Grüner Veltliner Serving Temperature

Wine Serving Temperatures

Wine Serving Temperatures

Wine Serving Temperature (°F) Serving Temperature (°C)
Grüner Veltliner 46-50°F 8-10°C
Chardonnay 50-54°F 10-12°C

Gruner Veltliner’s leaner style means that you’ll want to serve it well-chilled, directly from the fridge. Let Chardonnay warm up for about 15 minutes before serving.

Which Is More Expensive, Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay?

I love this question because wine economics fascinate me.

Grüner Veltliner Wine Cost

  • Entry-level Gruner Veltliner wines are generally available from $10 to $15 per bottle. These wines offer an accessible introduction to the grape’s delicate charm.
  • Premium and top-tier Gruner Veltliner wines can range from $20 to $40 or more, reflecting superior quality and distinctive expressions.

Chardonnay Cost

  • Chardonnay, with its widespread availability, caters to various budgets. Entry-level Chardonnays are accessible, often in the $8-$12 USD range. 
  • A higher quality bottle, for example, a 90+ point Chardonnay from Burgundy, France, starts around $35 USD, but you can find beautiful 90+ Chardonnays from other regions for under $20 USD as well. Shop around! 

Which Is Better? Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay

If you want a high-acid dry white wine, Grüner Veltliner is better. If you enjoy fuller-bodied white wines with rich oak and butter, then Chardonnay is better. If you’re concerned about price, you’ll find entry-level Chardonnays that are less expensive than Grüner Veltliner.

Final Thoughts – Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay

Grüner Veltliner vs Chardonnay are distinctive white wines that are perfect picks for a side-by-side comparison. Grüner Veltliner has a citrus core that many wine drinkers enjoy, but Chardonnay has a range of fruits that can make it more interesting to explore.

Your Challenge: Get a similarly priced bottle of Grüner Veltliner and Chardonnay and host a DIY tasting this weekend.

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