Austrian wine enthusiasts know the Weinviertel. But nowadays the largest Austrian wine growing region is slowly gaining also international recognition. With a vineyard area of 13,858 hectares, the success of Weinviertel is down to Grüner Veltliner and the regionally typical Weinviertel DAC and Weinviertel DAC Reserve wines.
The vast Weinviertel stretches from the Danube 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 are a wealth of other grape varieties. The region can be divided up into three sub-regions, based on their geological aspects and climatic conditions. A 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 micro-climate here always has favoured red wine making as well. In the Pulkautal - around the villages of Jetzelsdorf and Haugsdorf - and in the extensive Mailberg basin area, fruit-toned Zweigelt and Blauer Portugieser are thriving. For lovers of white wine, the anchor point is another “island”, but this one features granite, around Röschitz, where Grüner Veltliner and Riesling grow with a remarkable finesse.
The north eastern part of Weinviertel, encompassing the important wine town of Poysdorf, is the realm of sparkling wine. Here Welschriesling and Grüner Veltliner, grown predominantly on loess soils, provide the perfect base wine for Austria's best known Sekt and sparkling wines. So great are the products, so picturesque is the landscape, with its undulating hills and far stretching 'Kellergassen', with traditional wine cellars on the outskirts of the villages. It is here in these deep and long tunnels, excavated out of the loess soils, that the wines can mature in the most natural surroundings and optimal conditions. Limestone rocks mark the landscape from the towns of Staatz and Falkenstein towards the northern border of Weinviertel with the region of Moravia in the Czech Republic. Further south east, along the edge of the Marchfeld around the village of Mannersdorf an der March, the effects of the warm Pannonian climate are felt, which in combination with the Morava river (the Austrian name is 'March', referring to the river that flows into the Danube), offer optimal growing conditions for Riesling, the Pinot varieties, as well as the aromatic Traminer, from dry to luscious dessert wines. After Mannersdorf, the journey back to Vienna passes through the wine-growing town of Wolkersdorf, and great Rieslings with pronounced aromas also grow close to the political boundary with Vienna, on the steep inclines of the Bisamberg hillsides.
Despite this wide spectrum of wines, Grüner Veltliner remains the undisputed protagonist in the Weinviertel, and with some 6,700 hectares planted, 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 'pfeffrigen' flavours of white, green, and in riper styles, black pepper over a fruit-driven bouquet and refreshing acidity, and this is omnipresent, even though the local climatic conditions and soil structures vary. Effective from the 2002 vintage, it was therefore decided that these three tasting elements should form the criteria for the specific tasting profile of Weinviertel DAC , Austria's first designated region-typical wine classification, or to coin the French term, Appellation. In addition to the dry, fruity and unoaked Weinviertel DAC , the more intense, richer style of Grüner Veltliner is availabe in Weinviertel DAC Reserve, authorised from the 2009 vintage.