The vineyards in the Kremstal are divided into three distinct areas: the historic city of Krems, whose western “Stein” district borders directly with the Wachau, the Krems valley, with its thick loess nappes to the east, and finally, the small wine villages south of the Danube clustered around the imposing Göttweig Abbey. Since 2007, the Kremstal DAC designation has been synonymous with spicy Grüner Veltliner wines and elegant, mineral-driven Rieslings, which are not only produced in a fresh, classic-to-middleweight style, but also as dense Reserve wines.
In the old (viti-)cultural city of Krems, references to wine are omnipresent. Historic granges offer testimony to the city’s great viticultural past, which has been brought into the modern era by young winegrowers, an innovative wine cooperative and a modern viticulture school.
Geologically related to the neighbouring Wachau region to the west, the soils of weathered rock that are prevalent in the urban precincts and surrounding area are ideal for Riesling. The areas under vine to the east of the city are quite different, however. Here, huge loess terraces, such as those in the wine villages of Rohrendorf and Gedersdorf, not only give the landscape a very special charm, but also shape a somewhat rounder, full-bodied style of Veltliner. Furth, Palt, Krustetten, Hollenburg, Oberfucha and Tiefenfucha all lie south of the Danube. Towering above these villages and visible from far and wide is the Benedictine Göttweig Abbey, founded in 1072. The Kremstal’s quaint and down-to-earth character is reinforced in this part of the wine-growing region by the many small, traditional Heurige wine taverns.
Like the neighbouring Kamptal and Wachau regions, the Kremstal is located in an area of climatic confluence and tension. The chiselled river valley is well protected against the cool winds from the north, while the warm air currents of the Pannonian climate zone can be keenly felt from the east. This means that the Kremstal – although situated further west than the Kamptal – benefits from warmer air currents, which lend its wines a generally riper, aromatic character.
Soil and climate come together here to create excellent conditions for juicy white wines rich in finesse, especially Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. These wines form the backbone of the Kremstal DAC designation. The Gebietswein (regional wine), Ortswein (“villages” wine) and Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine) all display remarkable typicity of origin, as do the Reserve wines. Many famous vineyards, such as Pfaffenberg, Kögl, Wachtberg, Sandgrube, Pellingen, Gebling, Spiegel and Steinbühel, produce distinctive Riedenwein that are full of distinct character.
Pinot Blanc and elegant, expressive reds make up a pleasant minority in the Kremstal – both released under the designation of origin “Niederösterreich”. This classic wine-growing region on the Danube also has much to offer in terms of wine tourism and gastronomy.
- Gebietswein, Ortswein, Riedenwein: Submission for the Federal Inspection Number from 1 January in the year following the harvest
- Kremstal DAC Reserve: Submission for the Federal Inspection Number from 1 July in the year following the harvest
- Gebietswein: min. 11.5% vol.
- Ortswein: min. 12% vol.
- Riedenwein: min. 12.5% vol.
- Kremstal DAC Reserve: min. 13% vol.
- Gebietswein, Ortswein, Riedenwein: no dominant botrytis flavours, well-balanced, with the concentration typical of the vintage indicated.
- Kremstal DAC Reserve: robust in style, pronounced regional character, extremely concentrated and long in the finish; delicate notes of botrytis or oak are acceptable
Origins for Ortswein
The Kremstal wine-growing region lies on the south-eastern arc of the Waldviertel and the Dunkelsteiner Wald ridge, built up from hard crystalline rock, and opens out into the Alpine foothills towards the east, where unconsolidated rock prevails. The region’s location in the lee of this secondary mountain range is responsible for the widespread build-up of loess, which is very deep in parts. North of the Danube, hillsides are composed of sometimes foliated, sometimes solid paragneiss with amphibolite and granite gneiss veins; to the north-west, they are composed of Gföhl gneiss. South of the Danube, granulite prevails. The pale, very hard granulite is physically related to Gföhl gneiss, but is tightly foliated and bladed.
The unconsolidated rock in the region is primarily carbonaceous loess, which, in places, has built up in several layers. It can be found overlaying the crystalline rocks, as well as all the older gravel, sands and clays (Molasse sediment deposited by the sea and rivers) and the Danube terraces. Only the lowest vineyards on flat plots of land close to the gravelly flood plains of the Danube have no loess covering, only a thin veil of fine sediments from when the river has flooded.
The highly nuanced structure of the Kremstal DAC wines facilitates perfect combinations with a wide variety of dishes, from classic roast pork to spring rolls, where Grüner Veltliner in the Reserve category plays its role perfectly as a brilliant universalist. Kremstal Rieslings, on the other hand, are in their ideal element as companions to traditional fish dishes, as well as to flights of finned culinary fancy.
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