Feelin' Gru-ve: Grüner Veltliner, the sommelier's friend

As a food and wine writer, I am frequently faced with a couple of challenges. One is being asked to bring a wine to dinner at someone's home without being given much information about the menu. The other is being asked to choose a wine for the table at a restaurant where everyone is having something different. At times like those I make sure I have a versatile wine in my hip pocket.

When the meal calls for a white wine I often bypass chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio for the less well-known, but imminently food-friendly, gruner veltliner (GROO-ner FELT-lee-ner).

Grüner veltliner, affectionately known as "gru-ve", is most widely grown in Austria, where at least two DACs (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) apply to this varietal. It is also found in the Slovak and Czech Republics.