The best wines from Wachau

Wachau is renowned for producing exceptional white wines, primarily from Grüner Veltliner and Riesling grapes. These wines possess impressive aging potential. Notably, several wineries, such as Hirtzberger (since the early 1800s), Weingut Maccherndl (since 1786), and Nikolaihof (dating back to 1777) showcase the region's rich winemaking history.

Domäne Wachau, a cooperative of families owning small vineyards, represents a significant part of the region. Its collaborative structure highlights strong community bonds and dedication to winemaking. Wines under the Domäne Wachau label not only feature top-quality selections but are among the finest in the region.

The region benefits from both western Atlantic and eastern Pannonian climate influences, with the unique soil composition resting upon gneiss and amphibolite rocks shaped by the Danube River over millions of years. The Wachau's distinct terroir, shaped by steep slopes, varied soils, and a Danube-influenced climate, significantly influences the diverse flavors found in its wines. This geological history, characterized by gneiss, weathered granite, and loess soils, lays the foundation for Wachau's renowned wine culture.

Suppliers in Wachau

Domaine Wachau  |  Hirtzberger  |  Jacob Gerhardt  |  Knoll  |  Kracher  |  Nikolaihof  |  Pichler  |  Veyder Malberg  |  Weingut Prager
All wines in Wachau
Wachau

The classifications of Wachau wines

In 2020 the Wachau DAC was established. Therefore, these wines follow the DAC regulations, and other restrictions such as manual harvesting, which is in both Wachau DAC and Vinea Wachau demanded. The DAC classification has three denominations:

  • Riedenwein is only for Gruner Veltliner and Riesling wines.
  • Ortswein permits other white grape types like Neuburger and Muskateller in addition to Gruner Veltliner and Riesling.
  • Gebietswein covers Zweigelt and Pinot Noir, among other varieties.

However, the Wachau region has opted to function outside the DAC system. Vinea Wachau, a collective of winegrowers like Germany's VDP, established this three-tier system. These unique labels are exclusive to Wachau wines, primarily highlighting dry, white Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, occasionally featuring rosé made from Zweigelt. They utilize the following three terms to denote the quality and characteristics of its wines:

  • Steinfeder wines exemplify the lightest style: fresh and fruity, with a alcohol content that should not be higher than 11.5% ABV. The term 'Steinfeder' finds its origin in a delicate, wispy grass that resembles a feather and thrives on Wachau's stony terraces.
  • Federspiel wines belong to the midweight category, displaying strength and graceful precision, with an alcohol range from 11.5% to 12.5%.
  • Smaragd translates to "emerald," in this context, it refers to a unique, emerald-green lizard that basks on the regions stone terraces, signifying the wine's depth and richness. Smaragd wines signify the richest and fullest-bodied tier, boasting a minimum alcohol content of 12%.


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