Grüner veltliner, may not be unique to Austria, but it belongs to Austria the way gewurztraminer belongs to Alsace. It accounts for 36% of Austrian vine plantings, and hence produces the bulk of Austria's table wines. Its character can be crisp and refreshing, though it tends to be richer and more complex than riesling.
Grüner Veltliner is quite possibly the most versatile and distinctive of Austrian wines. In noting the differences between grüner veltliner and riesling, Hugh Johnson said that "compar[ing] it with riesling is like comparing a wild flower with a finely bred garden variety in which scent, color, size, and form have been studied and improved for many years." Often imparting an exotic herbal note, grüner would make an ideal companion to herb-accented pork, poultry dishes or rich seafood to lighter game or asparagus.