Grüner Veltliner vs Viognier: What’s the Difference?

gruner veltliner vs viogneir wine infographic - comparison

Grüner Veltliner vs Viognier is a fun comparison because these are two less common white wines.

Grüner Veltliner is a dry, lean, citrus-driven white wine with high acid. Viognier is a low-acid, fuller-bodied white wine with stone fruit and florals.

TL;DR: These are very different white wines. You’ll want to do a side-by-side tasting.

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between Viognier and Grüner Veltliner.

Viognier Basics: Full-bodied and Fruity

gruner veltliner vs viognier - viognier wine profile infographic

Viognier, originating from the Rhône Valley in France, is an aromatic, fruity white wine that has a fuller, luscious body. It has classic notes of stone fruit, like peach and apricot, along with honey, rose, and tangerine.

You’ll find Viognier grown in South Africa, Australia, and California as well.

Helpful Tip: If you’re new to Viognier, here’s a quick Viognier wine guide to help you appreciate its unique characteristics.

Grüner Veltliner: Crisp and Crunchy

Grüner Veltliner vs viognier - Grüner Veltliner wine profile infographic

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.

Austria’s Famed Grüner Veltliner Winegrowing Regions

  • Wachau
  • Kamptal
  • Kremstal
  • Weinviertel

Wine Comparison: Viognier vs. Grüner Veltliner

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

Characteristics Grüner Veltliner Viognier
Hue Pale to medium yellow-green Medium to deep gold
Color White White
Aromas Citrus, green apple, white pepper Apricot, peach, floral
Sweetness Dry Dry to off-dry
Acid High Low to Medium
Alcohol (%) 12-13% 13-14%
Body Light to medium Medium plus to full
Intensity Moderate Moderate to pronounced
Key Growing Regions Austria France (Condrieu), Rhone Valley, California
Classic Pairings Seafood, salads, light appetizers Poultry, creamy dishes, Asian cuisine
Price Range $15-$25 $15-$40

Viognier Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Viognier tends to be made in dry styles, but less expensive wines may be off-dry
  • Alcohol: Viognier wines typically have a moderate to high alcohol content, ranging from around 13% to 15% ABV.
  • Body: Viognier is known for its full-bodied, creamy texture on the palate.
  • Acid: While still providing freshness, Viognier tends to have lower acidity compared to Grüner Veltliner.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Viognier boasts intense floral and stone fruit aromas with a rich, honeyed character.
  • Flavors: Expect flavors of apricot, peach, honeysuckle, and sometimes a hint of spice.

Grüner Veltliner Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Gruner veltliner is made in a dry style.
  • Alcohol: Gruner Veltliner has medium in alcohol, a little lower than Viognier.
  • Body: Gruner Veltliner has a light to medium-bodied profile, delivering a clean and easy-drinking experience, lighter than Viognier.
  • Acidity: Gruner Veltliner typically features refreshing acidity, enhancing its fruit-forward nature. Definitely higher than Viognier.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Obvious flavors of green apple, citrus, and mineral. Gruner Veltliner won’t be as rich in stone or floral fruits as Viognier. Gruner Veltliner will have a signature white pepper.
  • Flavors: Gruner Veltliner is a great solo sipper or perfect pairing partner for creamy dishes, white fish, fresh cheese, and salads.

Are Viognier and Gruner Veltliner Similar?

Yes, Viognier and Gruner Veltliner are made using protective winemaking techniques to preserve their aromatic freshness.

What Is the Difference Between Viognier and Gruner Veltliner?

Grüner Veltliner is higher in acid and lighter in body than Viognier, and tends to just have citrus and green tree fruit. Viognier is low in acid, fuller-bodied, with citrus, peach, apricot, and floral perfume.

Fun Wine Tip: Grüner Veltliner’s signature white pepper is what sets it apart during blind tastings. Viognier’s aromatic profile with low-acid is you can tell it apart in a blind tasting.

Viognier vs. Gruner Veltliner Winemaking

Viognier versus gruner veltliner winery

Winemakers commonly ferment both Viognier and Gruner Veltliner in stainless steel tanks, preserving their freshness and fruit-forward flavors. Viognier can also be oaked, giving it vanilla, toast, caramel, and baking spice notes.

Fun Fact: Winemakers will rarely blend Gruner Veltliner with other grapes. They are what’s called a “single varietal wine”, meaning only Gruner grapes are in your bottle. Viognier is often blended with Syrah, of all things.

Viognier vs Gruner Veltliner: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

  • Viognier’s full-bodied and aromatic nature makes it an excellent companion for richer dishes, including creamy pasta and oven-roasted poultry.
  • 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.

Viognier and Gruner Veltliner Seriving Temperature

WineIdeal Serving Temperature
ViognierChilled (around 52-56°F or 8 -12°C)
Gruner VeltlinerWell Chilled (around 45-50°F or 7-10°C)

Gruner Veltliner’s leaner style means that you’ll want to serve it well-chilled, directly from the fridge. Viognier’s fuller body and aromatics will open up at a slightly warmer temperature. Let your Viognier warm up for 10-15 minutes on the counter before enjoying.

Most Viognier and Gruner Veltliner wines are ready to drink immediately after opening, with no need for decanting or extended aeration.

Which Is More Expensive, Grüner Veltliner vs Viognier?

Knowing the price range of Gruner Veltliner and Viognier can help you decide which to enjoy next if you’re on a budget.

Viognier Cost

  • Entry-level Viognier wines are usually priced between $15 and $20 per bottle. These are lovely bottles that are a good place to start.
  • Premium Viognier from renowned regions or prestigious wineries can range from $20 to $40 or more, reflecting their exceptional craftsmanship.

Gruner 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.

Which Is Better: Viognier or Grüner Veltliner?

If you prefer a crisp white wine with overt citrus and a peppery note, then try Gruner Veltliner. If you enjoy fuller-bodied white wines with lower acid and a rounder mouthfeel, then Viognier is the better wine.

Final Thoughts – Viognier vs Grüner Veltliner?

Viognier vs Grüner Veltliner - white wine salad

Both Viognier and Grüner Veltliner have unique personalities that you’ll need to taste.

  • Hosting a side-by-side tasting is the best way to explore the differences between these two classic white wines.
  • Get yourself 2 bottles of similarly priced Viognier and Grüner Veltliner, invite a few friends over, and do your own tasting.

Viognier delivers a lush, ripe fruit cocktail in your glass. Grüner Veltliner, with its linear personality and white pepper kiss, is an attention-seeking wine.

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If you’re eager to delve further into the world of wine, consider hosting your own wine tasting for beginners.

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