Domäne Wachau: Big is good (chapter 1)

This last July I had the opportunity to visit Domäne Wachau one more time. It’s amazing, but every time I go there, I seem to find something new and exciting, but you may we wondering… why “Big is good” for the title of this article?

Well, if you have missed my last posting, here is the explanation: Small versus Big: Can we really say that a winery is better than another because of its size?

And a visit to Domäne Wachau is just more proof that “Big is good”. By reading this article I’m sure you will agree with me.

Our hosts: Heinz Frischengruber (left) and Roman
Horvath MW (right)

 

A little introduction to the Wachau before we talk about our visit:
The Danube valley in Austria between the cities of Melk and Krems in southern Austria is called the Wachau. It is a gorge of only 33 km in length, but it is is one of Austria’s most exciting and fascinating wine regions with  steep slopes terraced with dry stone walls, fortress-ed mountains, vineyards, orchards, rare flora and fauna as well as a rich cultural tradition make this a unique area in all of Europe. For this reason, the Wachau was inscribed as “Wachau Cultural Landscape” in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites in recognition of its architectural and agricultural history, in December 2000. Wine has been cultivated in the Wachau for centuries. Primary rock soil, an exceptional climate and terraces overlooking the Danube River have great influence on the tremendous quality of the Wachau wines.  The grape varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling are the most planted  (about  1,350 hectares), partly on very steep-inclined terraces. The best vineyard sites of the Wachau are capable of producing white wines of the highest quality.

The Winery: The Domäne Wachau is deeply rooted in the Wachau region. Close to 440 hectares of vineyards are cultivated by the members of this quality-oriented cooperative – that makes 30 percent of the entire Wachau vineyard area.  These vineyards are found on steep terraces reinforced by old dry stone walls and are part of a World Cultural Heritage.  Famous names like Achleiten, Kollmitz, Loibenberg and Tausend-Eimer-Berg are found on the Domäne Wachau’s vineyard map and make it the only winery in the Wachau with wines from all of the most prestigious sites in the region. Domäne Wachau strives for the highest quality and as a member of the Vinea Wachau Nobils Districtus quality association, produces wines in the categories Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd. Grapes are sourced from their own vineyards in the Wachau (the Wachau law says that the purchase of grapes, must or wine from outside the region is not permitted).

Domäne Wachau is among the largest wineries in Austria and produces wines in the premium segment only. New measures for quality assurance have brought Domäne Wachau recognition as one of the top ten best white wine producers in Austria. Have I already mentioned that “big” is good? :)

Sustainability of the Wachau Cultural Landscape: With about one third of the Wachau vineyards in its hands, the Domäne Wachau is dedicated to conscientious land stewardship.

The showplace of the winery is the baroque cellar palace depicted on the label.

During our visit we had the opportunity to taste many of their amazing wines, but I will cover this topic on a different article. One that is going to help us (students of wine) to have a better chance of nailing a wine from the Wachau (either a Riesling or a on a Grüner Veltliner) in a blind tasting.

And stay tuned to our #winelover’s hangouts. We have an open invitation to organize one in the Domäne Wachau and this is going to happen sometime in the spring next year!

To contact/visit them:
3601 Dürnstein 107
Tel:+43-(0)27 11-371
Fax:+43-(0)27 11-371-13
office@domaene-wachau.at

Cheers,

Luiz Alberto, #winelover

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One Response to Domäne Wachau: Big is good (chapter 1)

  1. Tom Lewis (@CambWineBlogger) September 16, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    Nice piece Luiz – and am highly jealous of your trip out to the Wachau. It’s been many years since I was there, but here’s a recent piece on DW’s wines from the Annual Austrian Tasting in London: http://cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/domane-wachau-at-annual-austrian.html
    Cheers, Tom

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