Niederösterreich (Lower Austria)
Niederösterreich (28,145 ha) - Great wines along the Danube
Niederösterreich is Austria's largest quality-wine-growing area. This designation stands for a big variety of different wine styles of international and indigenous grape varieties with Grüner Veltliner covering 44%. There are eight specific wine-growing regions in Niederösterreich, stretching from the Wachau in the west to Carnuntum in the east. These can be divided into three major climatic zones: the Weinviertel in the north, the region along the river Danube, with its adjoining valleys to the west of Vienna, and the warmer Pannonian part in the south-east of Niederösterreich.
The extensive Weinviertel region made headlines in 2003, after the region decided to market its signature variety, the peppery Grüner Veltliner, using the term Weinviertel. Since then, the Weinviertel DAC designation on the label guarantees having a peppery-spiced, fresh style of Grüner Veltliner in the wine glass. More powerful wines come under the Weinviertel Reserve designation. The Weinviertel's wide range of fresh, aromatic white wines, fruit-driven red wines and even dessert wines now bear the Niederösterreich designation of origin.
Along the Danube, from Melk in the west downstream to Klosterneuburg to the east, passing the Kamp, Traisen and Krems tributaries, are picturesque wine villages lined like pearls on a necklace. Grüner Veltliner and Riesling are the flaghship wines of this area with both varietiesdisplaying their regional typicity also in Kremstal DAC, Kamptal DAC and Traisental DAC. The steep crystalline slopes of the Wachau evolve into loess terraces towards the eastern part of the adjacent Kremstal, which and also form the character of the wines in parts of Traisental and Kamptal, but particularly in Wagram, where Roter Veltliner has become another regional asset alongside Grüner Veltliner. In Kamptal, the wines contain a distinctive touch, particularly on the Heiligenstein, with its conglomerate and carbonate-free soil. In this part of Niederösterreich, the range of wines are rounded off with specialities like the Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Chardonnay as well as a select range of elegant red wines.
Pannonian Niederösterreich refers to the region situated south and east of Vienna, and is home to some of Austria's most exciting and outstanding red wines. Both Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch thrive in Carnuntum and St. Laurent is the speciality in the Thermenregion. Yet there is much more on offer, with regional white wine specialities Zierfandler and Rotgipfler flourishing around the wine town of Gumpoldskirchen, and Pinot Noir as well as modern blends are becoming increasingly important. Hence Niederösterreich offers the diversity in the big land of great wines.