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Austria

 

Wachau

After twelve days in Hungary, our wine journey continued into Austria to the stunning Wachau. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Wachau follows the Danube River from Melk to Krems. Steep slopes have man-made terraces where grapevines perform well in this terroir. White grapes account for two-thirds of the production. Of the white grapes, Grüner Veltliner and Riesling dominate the vineyards. The Wachau vineyards occupy 1,344 hectares (over 3,300 acres) of land. Many of the vineyards are seen from the Danube along terraces cut into the rock.

On the wine bottles, you may notice the terms Steinfeder, Federspiel or Smaragd. The Steinfeder wines are aromatic light bodied with up to 11.5% alcohol. These are perfect for an aperitif or just sipping on a rocking chair in front of a winter’s fire or on a porch during the summer. The term Federspiel are classic dry wines with an alcohol between 11.5% and 12.5%. These wines are the most common from the Wachau area. The third term Smaragd refers to late harvest wines with a minimum of 12.5% alcohol. These wines tend to be dry rather than sweet with a rich body. The Smaragd wines can age for decades.

Grape Varieties

Austria has plantings of several international grape varieties. Some of these include: Chardonnay, Riesling, the Traminer family of grapes for the white varietal grapes and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah for the red varieties. Several indigenous grape varieties are also planted in Austria.

Unique White Grape Varieties

Grape Variety Region Also Known As
Grüner Veltliner Wachau, Niederösterreich, Burgenland, throughout Austria  
Neuburger Wachau, Thermenregion  
Riesling Wachau  
Roter Veltliner Wagram, Kamptal and Kremstal  
Rotgipfler Thermenregion  
Zierfandler Thermenregion  
     

Unique Red Grape Varieties

Grape Variety Region Also Known As
Blaufränkisch Burgenland and Niederösterreich Limberger (Germany), Kékfrankos (Hungary)
Blauer Wildbacher Steiermark  
Sankt Laurent Thermenregion and Burgenland St. Laurent
Zweigelt Throughout Austria  
     
     

 

 

 

 



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