Steep terraces, noble vines, monumental wines
Cool downdrafts

Wine region Wachau

World Heritage Site and enchanting feel-good landscape – that is the Wachau, the narrow Danube valley between Melk and Krems. On 1350 hectares, partly on steep terraces, are mainly Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. The wine categories “Steinfeder”, “Federspiel” and “Smaragd” stand for the naturalness of the Wachau wines. The history of the origins of one of Austria’s most fascinating wine-growing regions is exciting. In the post-glacial period, dusty soils settled in the lee of the mountains, which became today’s loess soils on the one hand, and the steep slopes of Gföhler gneiss on the other. Also the Danube contributed its part by depositing sand, gravel and alluvial loess in the flat areas. These geological terrain conditions in combination with the terraces created by man as “landscape caretakers” for the cultivation of the best steep slopes draw the striking picture of the Wachau wine landscape. The climate is also exciting, because here two strong influences meet – not head-on, but closely interlocked: the western Atlantic and the eastern Pannonian climate. Depending on the slope, exposition, terrain formation as well as the heat-storing walls and rocks, micro-climatic zones become effective.

The hot, dry summers and the severe winters are balanced by the large water surface of the Danube. The cool downdrafts from the northern Waldviertel cause large fluctuations between day and night temperatures, especially in the months before harvest. From the cooler Spitzer Graben to the warmer Loibenberg, this interaction gives rise to the multi-layered aromas of the grapes. This becomes noticeable in the wines as cool fruit with sometimes exotic hints: from the slender Steinfeder to the elegant Federspiel to the noble Smaragd, defined by the indispensable protective association “Vinea Wachau”. And once again it will be exciting to go in search of wine-culinary addresses in the historic ambience of the wine villages. Top vintners and top restaurateurs can be found at every turn in the Wachau, from Spitz to Weißenkirchen, Wösendorf and Joching to Dürnstein and Loiben; although one or two side trips to the right bank of the Danube are recommended. In addition to the ruling pair of Riesling and Veltliner – praised for their exceptional aging potential – Pinot Blanc, Neuburger, Muscat or Sauvignon Blanc also guarantee excellent taste experiences.

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