“Think about the concord of an orchestra, with no single instrument heard above one other, that is what we purpose for with our Weiner Gemischter Satz wine,” states Fritz Wieninger from his vineyard, within the sleepy outskirts of the Austrian capital.
The vintners of Austria are a really passionate breed. They’re a brand new era of wine makers producing top quality merchandise. They’re represented throughout the 4 primary wine areas of Niederosterriech (Decrease Austria); Burgenland; Steiermark (Styria) and Vienna.
Wrapping a metaphorical arm across the japanese shoulder of the nation these areas are outlined by very numerous landscapes, micro-climates and excellent grape varieties, such because the signature Grüner Veltliner, the dominant grape of Austria and revered by restauranteurs and sommeliers.
Together with this fame, comes a brand new wave of “terroir” vacationers, able to discover a wine historical past relationship again to the Celts and Romans but additionally in quest of Austria’s variations of grapes, producers and wineries.
Vienna – a wine-producing capital metropolis
With round 700 hectares of vineyards, Vienna is the one main wine-producing capital on this planet, whose vineyards are all throughout the city-limits. Viennese vintners equivalent to Weininger and Mayer am Pfarrplatz are mixing custom with innovation and most significantly, the grape varieties, to make the capital’s defining mix – Weiner Gemischter Satz (DAC) – a wine that has world prominence. The DAC is a designation of protected origin, given to a wine produced by a regional grape native to a selected space.
“Weininger” and vineyard “Mayer am Pfarrplatz” each have plots on the Nussberg Hill, a standout winery location commanding spectacular views over the capital. The rows of vines drop downwards earlier than merging with Vienna’s dramatic cityscape; the Gothic spire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Riesenrad Ferris Wheel and the Danube River, all seen.
Many wineries personal and run a ‘Heuriger’ (translated as “this 12 months’s wine”) referring to an Austrian wine-tavern. It was Emperor Joseph II’s decree of 17th August, 1784, that granted each particular person the privilege of promoting “foodstuffs”, wine and cider produced in-house all year long, that has developed into as we speak’s Heuriger’s, equivalent to that owned by Mayer am Pfarrplatz, and aptly named ‘Heuriger Beethoven’. It was dwelling to the Maestro in 1817.
The Wachau Valley – An UNESCO World Heritage space
The sinewy Danube feeds, nourishes and passes quite a few vineyards, but additionally gives a simple escape from Vienna by boat or bike, as a nice strategy to delve into Austria’s wine tradition.
Vienna’s neighbouring wine areas supply a various vinicultural expertise, pushed by various landscapes and climates; none extra so than the Wachau Valley, an UNESCO World Heritage website for the reason that 12 months 2000, alongside the close by Kamptal and Kremstal areas, all brimming with old-world attraction. Simply 1-hour’s drive from Vienna, the steep sided valley, stretches for 21 miles from Spitz to Loiben and creates quite a few micro-climates at each flip of the snaking and grand Danube River, upon which flows a gradual stream of vacationers.
The primary producer right here is Domäne Wachau, a vineyard positioned within the village of Dürnstein, dwelling to simply 200 inhabitants, but a co-operative representing 250 vintner households, producing some 2.5 m bottles a 12 months. The Kellerberg winery rises up on a mosaic of terraces behind the vineyard, famend for producing superior Reislings and Grüner Veltliners. Harvest can solely be executed by hand, however these with the arduous process are rewarded with dramatic vistas throughout the valley.
Instantly under, the fashionable vineyard stands subsequent to the “Baroque Cellar Palace”, constructed within the early a part of the 17th Century, while excessive above them each are the ruins of the Dürnstein Fortress, wherein Richard the Lionheart was held captive in 1192. Etchings and frescos circle the stately rooms. Beneath stairs, a 1km subterranean cellar community, turns grape to wine reflecting the distinctive Wachau Valley terroir.
Alongside a collection of oak barrels a bust of ‘Ambassador Leopold Figl’ stands proud. He was an everyday customer to the cellar throughout negotiations that led to the State Treaty for the re-establishment of an Impartial Austria after the Second World Struggle. The cellar additionally affords up extra surprises, as an experimental playground, with one hall dedicated to what they name Backstage wines that discover new types of Grüner Veltliner, ready in “Concrete eggs” and even a hand-carved granite cask.
A brief distance north-east of the Wachau Valley in Wagram, the Vineyard Fritz Salomon has had wine and viticulture current at their historic Manor ‘Oberstockstall’ for the reason that starting of the 12th Century. The Salomon household have owned the property for the previous 150-years and develop their grapes in a few of Wagram’s oldest vineyards, in accordance with biodynamic rules. The traditional cellar produces a various vary of grape varieties, from Grüner and Reisling to Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
Wine and Structure
On the centre of the Kamptal area in Decrease Austria, on the sting of the picturesque city of Langenlois is the Loisium – world of wine – a customer centre, vinotheque (wine store) and museum. It’s a completely immersive wine expertise, which mixes tastings with excursions and housed in a modernist cube-like construction designed by architect Steven Holl. The constructing’s metal cladding displays the daylight and the Kamptal areas common heat days and funky nights, which produce superbly balanced white wines.
The wine centre’s geometric traces, cleverly observe the neat rows of vines, sloping gently south in the direction of the city’s historic rooftops and church spire. It additionally factors within the path of the subterranean wine cellars whose tunnels date again some 900 years and inform the story of the winemaker’s life in a bygone period, and likewise the fashionable manufacturing of each wine and glowing wine.
One other famend wine dynasty is the Home of Esterházy recognized the world over, a wine producer whose modernist vineyard is in clear view of the Esterházy Palace relationship to the 17th Century, a hyperlink between household heritage and the long run. And their quick future is on the Leithaberg vary of hills, with a brand new south-facing winery being ready to supply Chardonnay.
Austria’s wine innovators
Pure wines have been rising in recognition and Austria is producing a few of the finest. Vineyard Meinklang in Burgenland has embraced biodynamic wine manufacturing since 2001, shopping for into the intimate relationship between natural farming processes, the manufacturing of wines and retaining that shut manufacturing circle tightly spinning. This consists of filling cows’ horns with recent manure and utilizing it as the premise for pure fertiliser, in addition to adhering to the cosmic calendar.
Niklas Peltzer of Meinklang Vineyard says that “synthetic yeasts and synthetic fermentation kills the unique terroir” and Meinklang’s ethos is to present the wines an “honesty and authenticity as a way to make a handcrafted product” with out chemical manipulation.
Vineyard Gruber Röschitz, positioned within the Western a part of the Weinviertel area (Austria’s largest wine-producing space) is owned and run by a trio of siblings. They’re younger, bold and pleased with their household’s agrarian roots stretching again 200-years and wine cultivation for the reason that 1950s. Ewald Gruber, the eldest of the siblings is a agency believer within the natural manufacturing of wine; “the wine needs to be made within the winery not the cellar” he says pointing to wholesome soils and vines.
Austria’s wine areas include so many family-owned estates, who nonetheless embrace ancestry, custom and nature. And perhaps Pulker’s Heuriger in Rührsdorf, an unassuming road-side wine tavern, finest encapsulates all of it. After a scenically spectacular drive alongside the southern financial institution of the Danube, guests and locals can cease for a hearty farmer’s type lunch of succulent pork with crackling, washed down with a ‘Staubiger’ wine; an unfiltered smoky white wine that pairs completely with the meals, rustic ambiance and Austria’s vinicultural panorama.
MORE INFO: austrianwine.com