A large winery in one of the most picturesque wine regions in Austria
Wachau is the name of the Danube Valley, west of Vienna, between the cities of Krems and Melk. It is only 40 kilometres long and follows the river through extremely picturesque meanders, medieval towns, monasteries and fortresses in the highest places.
It is a unique wine region and one of the oldest in Europe.
Domäne Wachau is located just under the ruins of Dürnstein Castle, where King Richard of England's Lionheart is detained by Leopold V, Duke of Austria for defiling the national flag. The green hills covered with sun and dressed in vineyards are in perfect harmony with Baroque architecture in the area.
Nearly 440 hectares of vineyards on both banks of the Danube River are grown by members of this cooperative, which makes 30 percent of all Vachau vineyards. They are situated on steep terraces reinforced with old stone walls. Famous names such as Achleiten, Kollmitz, Loibenberg and Tausend-Eimer-Berg are among the Domäne Wachau massifs and make it the only wine cellar to produce wines from all the most prestigious locations in the region.
Although they are located on a small area, the Wachau soils are quite varied. The Danube flows through the solid base rock to form the unique landscape of Wachau. The Bohemian Massif, the oldest geological rock formation in Austria, forms the basis of a prehistoric mountain belt. The migmatitic granite gneiss is the current subsoil of Wachau. The gneiss is rich in quartz and contains minerals, so the wines from these soils are characterized by mineral precision and elegant fruits.
The stone walls of the terraced vineyards are part of the Wachau Terra. They are built of local rocks and ruins from the castles in the area without the help of a cement mortar. Manually placing each stone requires a lot of time, effort and knowledge.
Two major factors have a great impact on Wachau's unique climate and on the quality of Domäne Wachau wines:
The Atlantic has invaded the cold air, which gives the climate a continental character, with cold winters and hot dry summers. Extreme temperatures are moderated by the impact of the Danube River. The warm air masses reach the Danube Gorge from the Pannon Plains to the east. With good harvests, the grapes can be ripen until November, which is the prerequisite for making the world-famous wines in the Smaragd class.
Local climatic features such as the fresh forest air from the north and the cool winds that descend on the slopes of the vineyards increase the temperature differences between day and night. This stimulates the development of aromas in grapes, especially in the weeks before harvest. The unique fresh and fruity nature of Wahau wines is the result of these unique climatic conditions.
The predominant grape variety in Domäne Wachau is Grüner Veltliner with 70% of the area of the vineyard. This variety has achieved international recognition as one of the largest white wine varieties in the world. There is also no other wine-growing area in Austria that has a larger share of Riesling, which is here 20%. Rivaner, Pinot Blanc and Muskateller are white varieties that are also used. Red varieties are only 5%, with Blauer Zweigelt and Pinot Noir playing a leading role.
In the winery, the winemaker Heinz Frischengruber receives the best grapes, thanks to the established producer remuneration system and the strict delivery rules. Clarification of the juice is done for two days and then cooled to a sparing 16-18 degrees for the beginning of the fermentation (Smaragd ferments slightly warmer).
The wines of Domäne Wachau, and in particular those from the Terrassen series and from a particular vineyard, are of distinct fruiting nature and excellent minerality, strongly influenced by the terroir. The finesse is at the forefront and they offer great pleasure from drinking and compelling elegance as a food company.
Domäne Wachau is a member of Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus, the association of protected appellations in Wachau. Members must adhere to extremely stringent quality standards. Wachau also does not allow the purchase of grapes, musts or wine outside the area. There are three categories of quality white wines according to their alcohol content:
Steinfeder (11%) - delicious fruits and many flavors are found in these wines. They are ideal as light refreshing aperitifs and combined with cold starters - or just as a party wine and a classic summer drink.
Federspiel (11-12.5%) - most famous for their variety. Combine the elegant refreshing nature of Steinfeder with the depth of the Smaragd fruits, making them ideal for many types of dishes.
Smaragd (мин. 12.5%) - сухи комплексни вина с уникален финес и огромен потенциал за стареене. Зрелият Смарагд се бере максимално късно само в най-добрите години.
В Domäne Wachau metal vessels and ceramic amphorae from Italy are used for fermentation and aging, not just wooden ones. But when it comes to optimally stable temperatures and a minimal penetration of oxygen to wine, concrete, granite and even marble vessels are a preferred solution.
In the winery there is a granite vessel cut from a ten-ton block. The finished container and its lid weigh two tons filled with 1130 liters of Riesling. This year, for the first time, a marble vessel weighing 4.5 tonnes, a height of 270 cm and a volume of 700 liters will be used. The inner surface is polished and allows direct contact between the marble and the wine. It is the only one of its kind and can not be reproduced.