I came across this unlikely combination while I was flying back from Argentina with the Brazilian airline TAM* who have this year decided to inaugurate a Brazilian menu in business class devised by a woman chef called Ana Luisa Trajano. And quite right too.
They’ve also introduced some unusual wines on the flight including a Grüner Veltliner from Kamptal from Weingut Brundlmayer which I found went surprisingly well with a cooked ‘tartare’ of salt cod topped with a layer of lightly spiced tomato confit. The unoaked Sauvignon-based white Bordeaux on the list - Château de Rougerie - would probably have worked pretty well too.
The Grüner struggled with the main course - tilapia in coconut milk with canjiquinha (a corn-based recipe a bit like polenta) and plaintain purée, a delicious dish but one never designed to go with wine. I guess an oaked Chardonnay would have worked pretty well, maybe a Viognier but a beer would have coped better with the sweetness of the plantain. Maybe a Belgian style blonde ale or strong lager such as Duvel.
Grüner Veltliner owes its cult status at the moment to the fact that it is so wonderfully flexible with food so don’t let this put you off. I’d drink it with almost any lightly spiced south-east Asian dish with great pleasure.
* I can recommend TAM so long as you don’t mind the fact that one of the film channels is entirely dedicated to Leonardo di Caprio movies and the unnerving fact that the route map indicates that you will be landing in Amsterdam. They’re punctual though which is more than you can say for Ryanair.