About this WINE
The sweeping, steep terraces of the Wachau, in Lower Austria, on the northern banks of the Danube, an hours drive west from Vienna, are home to Austrias greatest dry white wines.
Here Riesling and Grüner Veltliner excel in producing wines of startling purity and pristine intensity. The climate changes slightly to produce the warmer, richer wines around Dürnstein and Loiben, to steely yet opulent wines around Spitz.
Toni Bodenstein of Weingut Prager epitomises the former, whilst Franz and Irmgard Hirtzbergers vineyards are the ultimate expression of the latter. The region uses a unique system of classification to indicate the level of ripeness at harvest. Steinfeder is the lightest, with an alcohol of around 10%, then Federspiel, which must not exceed 12% and finally Smaragd, named after an emerald green lizard found in the vineyards, which are assertive, late-harvested wines, but fermented to dryness.
Grüner Veltliner is Austria's most famous grape variety. It is indigenous to Austria and is grown extensively in every Austrian wine region with the exception of Steiermark. It constitutes 36% of all vineyard plantings with the best wines coming from the north-east of the country, particularly regions such as the Wachau, Kamptal and Kremstal which border the Danube river.
Grüner Veltliner is a late ripening variety that typically produces wines that are pale green in colour and display fruit notes of grapefruits, limes, pears, and sometimes hints of white pepper. They normally possess a steely backbone of acidity which enables the best bottles to age gracefully. The grape's natural acidity accompanied by its restrained and understated fruit characters makes its wines ideal partners for food. A marvellous alternative to the more mainstream white grape varieties.