The Traisental is one of the youngest wine-growing regions in Austria, having only existed in its present form since 1995. It is also one of the smallest in the country, but when it comes to the region’s Grüner Veltliner, the Traisental has a commanding presence. An integral part of the small wine villages here are the traditional Buschenschank taverns, but a real step back into the past is provided by the historic towns of Traismauer and Herzogenburg. Typical fruity and spicy Grüner Veltliner and robust, mineral-driven Riesling have been marketed under the Traisental DAC designation since the 2006 vintage.
The landscape of the Traisental is defined by beautiful rolling hills and small vineyards. The banks of the crystal-clear river Traisen are lined with fertile farming land, which gradually leads up to small terraced vineyards. Traisental wines primarily have their terroir to thank for their distinctive nature as the soils are predominantly composed of calcareous sedimentary rock. These soils encourage the vines to extend their roots deeper into the ground, which lends the local wines a unique profile with a dense body and strong backbone. A mixture of eroded debris, sands and other sediments characterises the foreland of the Alpine-Carpathian mountains. The parent material of the soils in the Traisental is primarily clay, marl, sand or sandstone, gravel, conglomerate and limestone. This gives the region’s wines a mineral focus, which supports the acidity and results in good longevity. Special climatic factors – Pannonian influences from the east combined with cold air from the foothills of the Alps – result in warm days and cool nights, which produces very fine aromatics and spicy finesse in the wines.
In no other Austrian wine-growing region does Grüner Veltliner occupy such a high proportion of viticultural land. With around 60% of the area under vine dedicated to this variety, the Traisental is undisputedly the leading region in this respect. The region’s wines can be described as fresh, fruity and spicy, with a pronounced backbone and finesse. Reserve wines with extremely high longevity and strong body from famous Rieds (vineyard sites) such as Zwirch, Berg, Alte Setzen, Hochschopf, Sonnleiten and Fuchsenrand, are highly reputed.
The Traisental’s second most important grape variety is Riesling, which claims roughly 6% of the area under vine. Riesling here is elegant, dense and aromatic with distinctive mineral notes. Regionally typical wines from these two varieties have been marketed under the Traisental DAC designation since the 2006 vintage. As Ortswein (“villages” wine) or Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine), they may also be labelled with a more specific geographical designation. The remaining two thirds of the Traisental’s area under vine is planted with a broad palette of varieties, from Chardonnay to Zweigelt. These are marketed under the “Niederösterreich” designation of origin.
The Traisental is an attractive destination for wine lovers, hikers, cyclists and those interested in all aspects of culture. The discovery of grape seeds from the early Bronze Age confirm that this region has had a tradition of winegrowing since ancient times, well before the Romans established their methods of viticulture here. The nearby city of St. Pölten, capital of the federal state of Lower Austria, offers a diverse line-up of modern cultural events. From this southernmost point of the wine-growing region, many paths lead to idyllic wine-growing villages with their traditional Heurige taverns, including Statzendorf, Unterwölbling and Oberwölbling, Nußdorf, Reichersdorf, Getzersdorf, Inzersdorf, Stollhofen, Frauendorf and Gemeinlebarn. The new, dynamic generation of winegrowers here are fully aware of how important Traisental DAC wines are as ambassadors of their region. These wineries make a significant contribution to promoting the unique style of their region’s wine well beyond Austria’s own borders. They are becoming increasingly successful in various export markets and with the international trade press.
- Gebietswein, Ortswein: Submission for the federal inspection number from 1 January in the year following the harvest
- Riedenwein: Submission for the federal inspection number from 1 March in the year following the harvest
- Traisental DAC Reserve: Submission for the federal inspection number from 1 July of the year following harvest
- Gebietswein: min. 11.5% vol.
- Ortswein: min. 12% vol.
- Riedenwein: min. 12.5% vol.
- Traisental DAC Reserve: min. 13% vol.
- Gebietswein, Ortswein, Riedenwein: no dominant botrytis flavours, well balanced, with concentration typical of the vintage indicated.
- Traisental DAC Reserve: robust in style, pronounced regional character, extremely well concentrated and long in the finish; delicate notes of botrytis or oak are acceptable
The most prominent geological element here is the coarse, calcareous dolomitic gravel deposited by the ancient river Traisen roughly 16 million years ago. This originated from the rising Calcareous Alps, was transported here and deposited in a delta of the ancient Paratethys sea. Most of the gravel has been cemented into conglomerate and is prevalent on the top slopes on the western side of the valley.
The Traisen formation, previously referred to as the “oncophora layers” is located on the right-hand side of the valley. This comprises calcareous sands containing varying degrees of silt, which have been lightly compacted in places. The sand contains traces of Oncophora seashell, hence the earlier name, and intercalations of conglomerate. However, these two geological elements only make up about 20% of the substratum in the vineyards. The vast majority of vines here grow on loess, which is frequently interspersed with colluvial conglomerate on the left-hand side of the valley. In the westernmost part of the wine-growing region, the crystalline substratum of the Dunkelsteiner Wald ridge crops out, revealing pale, hard granulite. Provided no loess deposits have settled on top of it, the granulite results in acidic vineyard soils.
The mineral finesse and delicate spices of Traisental wines render them a fixture as companions to the modern regional cuisine – for example, to classic or creative fish or poultry dishes, to recipes with Mediterranean or Asian roots, especially with raw fish (sushi, sashimi) or crustaceans with a vivid touch of spice.