Austrian wine enthusiasts know the Weinviertel. But nowadays Austria’s largest winegrowing region is steadily gaining international recognition as well. With 13,858 hectares under vines, size is certainly a factor, but the success of Weinviertel also lies in the Grüner Veltliner, in its regionally typical Weinviertel DAC and Weinviertel DAC Reserve styles.
The vast Weinviertel stretches from the Danube River in the south to the Czech border in the north, and from the Manhartsberg in the west to the border of Slovakia in the east. Yet Weinviertel is not just about Grüner Veltliner; there is a wealth of other grape varieties. The region can be divided up into three sub-regions, based on their geological particulars and climate conditions.
One highlight of the western part of Weinviertel is the area around the historic wine-trading town of Retz, with its labyrinth of underground wine cellars. The dry microclimate here always has favoured production of red wine as well. In the Pulkautal – around the villages of Jetzelsdorf and Haugsdorf – and in the extensive Mailberg basin, fruit-driven Zweigelt and Blauer Portugieser are thriving. For lovers of white wine, the focal point is another ‘island', but one featuring granite soils, around Röschitz, where Grüner Veltliner and Riesling develop remarkable finesse.
Winegrowers in the northeastern part of the Weinviertel around Poysdorf focus especially on spicy Veltliners, fresh Welschrieslings and weighty wines of the Pinot family. Toward Moravia, the northern border of the Weinviertel reveals the limestone cliffs of Staatz and Falkenstein, which have excellent conditions for fruit-toned, mineral-driven wines. Herrnbaumgarten and Schrattenberg, villages to the north of Poysdorf, were ideal from the beginning to produce outstanding red wines, thanks to the area’s basin-like vineyard sites.
Further southeast, along the edge of the Marchfeld around the village of Mannersdorf an der March, the climatic effects of the warm Pannonian climate are felt, which in combination with the Moravia river (the Austrian name for this tributary of the Danube is ‘March’), offer optimal growing conditions for Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and the Pinot family varieties as well as the aromatic Traminer, from dry styles to luscious dessert wines. After a stopover in Mannersdorf, the journey back to Vienna passes through the winegrowing town of Wolkersdorf, while great Rieslings with pronounced aroma profiles also grow close to the Vienna’s city limits, on the steep inclines of Bisamberg’s hillsides.
Despite this wide spectrum of wines, Grüner Veltliner remains the undisputed star in the Weinviertel, and with some 6,700 hectares planted, which equates to roughly half of all plantings in Austria – and for that matter half of its world-wide vineyard area. The signature aroma of the Weinviertel Grüner Veltliner is a peppery-spice, the ‘pfeffrige’ flavours of white and green (in riper styles, even black) pepper overlay a fruit-driven bouquet and refreshing acidity: and this is ubiquitous in the region, even though the local climatic conditions and soil structures vary. Beginning with from the 2002 vintage, it was therefore decided that these three tasting elements should form the criteria for the specific flavour profile of Weinviertel DAC , Austria’s first designated regionally typical wine classification, or to use the French term, appellation. In addition to the dry, fruity and unoaked Weinviertel DAC , a more intense, richer style of Grüner Veltliner is available as of the 2009 vintage in Weinviertel DAC Reserve.