Traisental is one of the youngest winegrowing regions in Austria – it exists in its present form only since 1995. It is also one of the smallest in the country with approximately 851 hectares under vines, but in one respect has a commanding presence: in Traisental the Grüner Veltliner calls the tune. Fixed points in the small wine villages are provided by the homey traditional tavern known as the Buschenschank, while historic towns like Traismauer or Herzogenburg provide fascinating excursions into the past. Fruit-driven and spicy Grüner Veltliner and robust, mineralic Riesling have been released to the market under the designation Traisental DAC beginning with the 2006 vintage.
Region & Wine
The landscape of the Traisental wins favour in the eye of the beholder with its gentle hills and diminutive vineyards. Fertile fields which arise from the banks of the clear Traisen – one of three tributaries of the Danube giving their name to winegrowing regions – gradually give way to small terraced parcels of vines. The distinctive nature of wines from the Traisental is due in good part to the terroir, soils predominantly composed of calcareous sedimentary rock. These challenge the vines to dig their roots deeper, and give the wines an individualistic profile with robust body and firm backbone. The mixture of eroded debris, sands and other sediments in the region characterises the foreland of the Alpine-Carpathian arc. The mother material of the Traisental’s soils consists primarily of clay, marl, sand or sandstone, gravel, conglomerates and limestone. This makes minerality the feature that conveys the flavour, supports the acidity and thus promotes the longevity of the wines. Special climatic factors – Pannonian influences from the east and, at the same time, cold air from the foothills of the Alps – bring warm days and cool nights, thus ensuring very fine aromaticity and spicy finesse.
In no other Austrian winegrowing region does the Grüner Veltliner claim such a high proportion of available vineyard area: with around 60%, the Traisental is undisputedly number one. These wines can be described as fresh, fruity and spicy, as well as showing backbone and finesse. Extremely long-lived Reserve wines with their robust texture and body – from great vineyard sites such as Zwirch, Berg, Alte Setzen, Hochschopf, Sonnleiten or Fuchsenrand –have won fame both at home and abroad. The second most important variety of the Traisental is the Riesling, with some 6% share of the vineyards. These are elegant, powerful and aromatic wines with a distinctive mineral note. Regionally typical wines from these two varieties have been allowed to bear the “ Traisental DAC ” appellation of origin – and, where appropriate a village or vineyard name – on the label, since the 2006 vintage. The remaining two-thirds of the Traisental’s vineyards offer a home to a broad palette of varieties, from Chardonnay to Zweigelt, marketed with the designation of origin “Niederösterreich”.
The Traisental is an attractive destination for outings, inviting to wine lovers, hikers, cyclists and those interested in all aspects of culture. The discovery of grape seeds from the early Bronze Age confirm the region’s more-than-ancient wine tradition, which dates back well before the advent of Roman viticulture. A modern cultural program of multifoliate variety is offered by nearby Sankt Pölten, capital city of the federal state of Lower Austria. From this southernmost point of the winegrowing region, many paths open up into idyllic villages with their wine estates and traditional taverns: from Statzendorf, Unterwölbling and Oberwölbling to Nussdorf, Reichersdorf, Getzersdorf and Inzersdorf, to Stollhofen, Frauendorf and Gemeinlebarn.
A new generation of dynamic winemakers is fully aware of the importance of the Traisental’s DAC wines as ambassadors of the region. These estates make a significant contribution to promoting their unmistakable style of wine well beyond the borders of Austria, and are becoming increasingly successful in export markets and are favourites of the international trade press.
(AS OF THE 2006 VINTAGE)
- Traisental DAC , Traisental DAC with indication of municipality, Traisental DAC with indication of municipality and vineyard designation: Submission for the Federal Inspection Number from 1 January in the year following the harvest
- Traisental DAC Reserve: Submission for the Federal Inspection Number from 1 July in the year following the harvest
- Traisental DAC : min. 11.5% vol.
- Traisental DAC with indication of municipality: min. 12% vol.
- Traisental DAC with indication of municipality and vineyard designation: min. 12.5% vol.
- Traisental DAC Reserve: min. 13% vol.
- Traisental DAC, Traisental DAC with indication of municipality, Traisental DAC with indication of municipality and vineyard designation: 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 is coarse, calcareous-dolomitic gravel deposited here by the primordial river Traisen some 16 million years ago from the nascent Limestone Alps and poured into a delta of the ancient Paratethys Sea. Most of the gravels are solidified into conglomerates, occurring most notably in the heights on the western slope of the valley. On the right side of the valley the older, so-called Oncophora strata are dominant, and are today referred to as the ‘Traisen formation’. These are calcareous, more or less silty and sometimes marginally hardened sands, in which the eponymous seashell ‘Oncophora’ is to be found; conglomerates appear locally. However, the two units together form only about 20% of the substratum in vineyard soils.
The vast majority of the vineyard land grows on loess, which is frequently interspersed on the left valley slope with sedimentary conglomerates.
In the westernmost part of the winegrowing region, the crystalline subsoil of the Dunkelsteiner Wood appears with bright and hard granulite, forming acidic vineyard sites except for places where loess was blown in to cover it.
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.