Hello Spring! Grüner + Fritto

Apr 29, 2016

it’s not easy being green

Ok, so, you find yourself at a dinner party and there are some serious wine lovers at the table. Never have you felt so….well…green. In all things vino, the intimidation factor can be downright paralysis inducing (don’t say anything stupid…don’t say anything stupid).

Well – this is where someone offers to introduce you to Grüner Veltliner. I know, you are thinking it has to be someone’s swooningly handsome (sigh) European boyfriend but the pleasant surprise of the evening turns out to be a ‘hot’, sommelier’s darling.

So if you want your friends to be green with envy choose Grüner as your ‘plus one’ for your next spring time get together.


did you know…

  • pronounced GREW ner VELT lee ner
  • Grüner Veltliner is the most planted white wine grape in Austria
  • the name originates from ‘green wine of Veltlin’ from the village of Tirol in the lower Austrian Alps
  • Grüner Veltliner is like sipping spring from a glass, deliciously fresh with lively aromas of lemon, lime and grapefruit and a touch of spicy white pepper
  • the perfect choice to pair with green flavours that are often difficult to match with wine

Grüner Veltliner + Piccolo Fritto Verde and Meyer Lemon Mayo

serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

for the mayo:

1 cup mayonnaise
zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped capers
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

for the vegetables:

1 cup buttermilk
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal or semolina
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 Meyer lemon, sliced very thin
1 bunch scallions, trimmed
4 cups grapeseed oil for frying

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, parsley, capers. Season to taste with salt and cracked pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. In a large 6 quart heavy bottom pot, heat the oil over medium heat to 350 F.
  3. Pour the buttermilk into a wide shallow dish. In a second wide shallow dish, stir together the flour, cornmeal and salt.
  4. Coat the vegetables and lemon slices in buttermilk; dredge in flour mixture. Set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. Fry in small batches until golden and crisp, repeating until all the vegetables are cooked. Drain on absorbent paper.
  7. Serve hot with mayo for dipping.

what we chose to pair and why

Because Grüner Veltliner is known for its effortless ability to pair with notoriously difficult foods like asparagus, artichokes and fiddlehead ferns, we decided to put it to the test.


  • pale straw colour with green highlights
  • aromas of melon, summer cut grass, like a fresh morning, floral, vegetal, white pepper spice, juicy apple, chives, spring rain
  • on the palate the wine is juicy and mouthwatering with a soft round body


  • the crisp acidic backbone in the Grüner matched every bite of rich creamy mayo and cut through the deep fried goodness, leaving the palate cleansed bite after bite (and we ate many!)
  • the green eyed monster (think chives, cut grass) matched the spring onion and asparagus, as did the bright citrus peel flavours of the Meyer lemon


Grüner and deep fried greenness is delicious….we should know; we could have and we did eat many spears of crispy asparagus liberally dunked into creamy mayo…all the while cleansing our palates with glasses of citrusy, fresh Grüner (the recipe and pairing demanded being tested 3 times – we know, hard times).

Laurenz V. Friendly Grüner Veltliner

2013, Kamptal Austria

Laurenz V winery has put its focus exclusively on the Grüner Veltliner grape, the V reflecting 5 generations of winemaking, the descendants of Austria’s famous Dr.Lenz Moser III. Moser’s high training system for viticulture put Austrian winemaking on the map by allowing better light exposure and improved airflow through the vines resulting in better grape quality. Today the Lenz Moser training system is used in 90% of Austria’s vineyards and throughout Europe.

Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Grüner Veltliner

2014, Awatere Valley Marlborough, New Zealand

Austrian Grüner is the most widely available, however, the cool Awatere Valley region of Marlborough in New Zealand produces some great tasting aromatic Grüner as well. The style is juicier, fruitier with more melon and peach flavours with a burst of citrus and a touch spicy white pepper. Peter Yealands, the founder, is committed to being the most sustainable wine producer and his winery was the first in the world to be certified carbon neutral.

However, let’s say you just haven’t got any room for that dashing gent Grüner in your life. In a pinch, scheduling a date to cuddle up with your old flame, Sauvignon Blanc can be your second chance Charlie. Like a comfy pair of stretchy pants, Sauvignon Blanc is also great with green flavours and citrusy dishes.

Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough New Zealand

Brimming with bright grapefruit and guava aromas, this crisp Sauvignon Blanc comes from the same New Zealand producer as our Grüner. We tasted this wine with the dish and the pairing was also successful.

Like a good friend…we are just trying to push you outside of your comfort zone.

Live a little and expand your palate.



Christie Pollard

Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers

After 10 years as a restaurateur, culinary instructor and caterer, a trip to France sparked an untapped enthusiasm for all things wine.  I gave up the restaurant life,  made a huge u-turn and dove head first into the vast world of wine.  I have never looked back and achieved my Sommelier certification with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in 2015.  I love sharing my pursuit of the perfect pairing in a fun, unfussy and ultimately delicious way with my friends, family and those I teach.


Josie Pontarelli

Red Seal Chef, Culinary Instructor

I graduated from the Stratford Chefs School in 1999 and achieved Red Seal Certification shortly thereafter. With this strong foundation laid, an opportunity to spend time in California presented itself. While there, I was intoxicated by the seasonality and quality of the ingredients everywhere I looked. This experience proved to be a turning point for me in how I thought about food. It inspired me to have a deep and enduring respect for the people, food and culture that go into the perfect dish.

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