It's the vineyard.
We know our vineyard sites and all their peculiarities. There is an age-old wisdom amongst vintners that there are vineyards which, when carefully tended each year, consistently yield exceptional wines. The knowledge of these outstanding pieces of land has been passed on and deepened over countless generations. The vineyard classification that is currently carried out is the logical consequence of our centuries old wine-history. Together with nine like-minded colleagues from the region, we are the proud founders of the Association Österreichische Traditionsweingüter (Traditional Austrian Wineries), established in 1992. Our declared goal is to classify the most significant Crus in the Danube region. Today we count 68 members and have been working on this vision for over 25 years. Work in progress.
Find out more: www.traditionsweingueter.at
The Thal vineyard is an ancient family heritage and therefore has a special meaning to us. A few parcels have been in family hands since the beginning of our estate's history. It was here, were our ancestors cultivated their first vines in 1856. The striking and gently sloping hillside is located just south of the estate and formed from a powerful rise of loess, that has been terraced generations ago. The vines grow on very calcareous loess mixed with quartz-sand, creating a bright and cool vineyard soil. In 1936 Ludwig I. planted one of the earliest single-varietal Grüner Veltliner vineyards in Thal. These 80-year-old vines date back to a time, when yield was not the prime concern of vintners: narrow-shouldered grapes, rather loose-berried, with a distinct herbal and very 'down-to-earth' taste. We continue to select and propagate those old and authentic vine genetics to this day.
|Vine age||30-50 years|
|Altitude||230 - 270 m|
|Orientation||S - SSW|
Kittmannsberg is one of the highest elevated vineyard sites in Kamptal, located just west of Langenlois. In 1353 it was first recorded as 'Chotmannsperig', probably named after the original owner of the vineyard. It opens like an ancient amphitheater towards the southeast and receives the first rays of sunshine in the morning. The characteristic, bowl-shaped topographic depression is responsible for the excellent microclimate that favors long ripening periods. Most of our terraces are located in the upper third of the site, which reaches up to 345 m above sea level. Here they grow on calcareous clays and loess-loam, residues of an ancient sea. Veltliners from here are rich in extract, they tend to express a ripe yellow fruit character and a spicy and velvety minerality.
|Vine age||30-50 years|
|Soil||Loess-loam, calcareous Clay|
Vines have been cultivated on the Schenkenbichl vineyard since many centuries. The slope sits just north of the town of Langenlois. The name has remained unchanged since the first written record of 1402 and was probably derived from an old wine tavern (Schenke) at the foot of the hill (Bühel). The exposure to the west wind keeps the temperature of the south-facing slope relatively cool despite intense sunlight. It is characterized by small and large terraces, which, in our case, are located at the upper limit, at around 315 m above sea level. Up here, our Veltliner grows on metamorphic rock, mostly on dark amphibolite. The amphibolite bedrock is overlain by a cambisol formed from mica-rich silicates. The rocky subsoil manifests itself in the form of deep, subtle fruit and a herbal saltiness, which makes the Veltliner growing here unmistakable.
Towards the lower end, reaching the town of Langenlois, more and more loess, interspersed with many rocks, can be found. The bottom of the slope is home to the oldest Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) of the Danube area planted by Dr. Bruno Hiedler in 1955. Here we find the geological remains of the old Loisbachtal (Lois Creek Valley). The gnarly vines root on gravel with calcareous loess running through it.
|Vine age||20-60 years|
The steepest slope in Langenlois is documented since 1394. The name Steinhaus (literally Stonehouse) was most likely derived from the small stone huts which served as shelters and whose remains are still scattered around the vineyards today. The slope is characterized by small and partly narrow terraces. Gneisses and dark amphibolites, interspersed with quartz and feldspar veins, form the base for the vines. Due to the steepness the fertile topsoil is only a few centimeters thin. The vines have to dig deep to reach the underlying water veins. The sun warms up the rugged and rocky ground during the day, creating a warm-cold contrast between the ground and air temperatures in the early hours of the night. A microclimate that, in combination with the meager rocksoil, creates great tension in the Rieslings growing on this slope.
|Vine age||20-45 years|
|Soil||Gneiss, Amphibolite, Quartz|
A first written record of the site can be found as early as 1341 under the name 'Gaizperch'. Perhaps the ancient terraces were also grazed by goats (Geissen) centuries ago, but today that is only an assumption. With its slightly milder microclimate, the Gaisberg is regarded one of the most historically important vineyards in the Kamptal. On its way upstream, the Pannonian warmth from the south-eastern Danube plain touches this exposed vineyard in the early morning hours. The vineyard extends up to 335 m above sea level, occupying a steep slope that runs down towards the village of Strass in the east and gently declines towards the southern village of Kammern. The soil is very heterogeneous and contains a large number of crytsallin and metamorphic rocks. We are cultivating two terraces here: One in the upper third of the slope, where our vines dig their roots into a rocky soil that is mainly made up of paragneiss. Marble, granite and amphibolite lenses can also be found in some places. Another, small parcel is located on the southern foot of the slope, where the vines encounter a mixture of calcareous Chernozem from loess and crystalline debris. The slope creates a feminine Riesling type with warm and expressive fruit and a concentrated minerality.
|Vine age||30-45 years|
|Soil||Gneiss, Marble, Loess|
|Village||Strass, Kammern, Zöbing|
This is the northernmost vineyard in the Kamptal appellation (and in Austria) classified as 'Erste Lage'. Kogelberg is one of the last branches of the Waldviertel-high-plateau and lies at the point where the narrow river valley in the north opens towards the Langenlois basin. The slope is cooled by cold air currents which originate from the shady and densely wooded upper reaches of the Kamp river. Due to its particular geographic location the vineyard is characterized by a noticeably cooler microclimate, marked by substantial temperature variations between day and night. The soil on which the vines grow is rocky, dominated by bronze-colored mica schist. Dark amphibolite can also be found scattered over a large area. A combination that gives the Rieslings growing here a cool and northern flavor.
|Vine age||15-50 years|
This is one of the most famed Riesling vineyards in Austria, whose authentic wines enjoy international attention. In 1280 we find a first written mention as Hellenstein. It was assumed that the name was derived from "Hölle" (Hell Stone), which seemed logical as it is a south facing slope on which the sun burns like hell. In fact, however, “Hel” means “shiny, light” in Middle High German (ergo: the bright mountain), and over the centuries the dialect turned it into the Heiligenstein (Stone of the Saints).
Its geology is particularly interesting and unique. The Heiligenstein is a unique geological formation - a geological island - within Europe. The sediments, referred to as “Perm of Zöbing”, sunk into the deep some 248-290 million years ago, before breaking through the earth's crust again in todays Kamptal. The mighty layers were exposed to desert climates and volcanic activity. The outcropping bedrock consists of reddish-brown sandstone with a high feldspar content, coarse conglomerates and minor siltstone. Residues of fossilized plants and boulders of volcanic quartz porphyries can be found; hundreds of elements which the vines absorb in different micro-doses. The wines emerging from this soil are equally characterized by their uniqueness.
|Vine age||30-60 years|