Austrian Wine Guide: Part 2, The Wachau!
The Wachau Valley is the epicenter of Austria’s greatest wines. In fact, to many wine consumers, the wines of the Wachau are the wines of Austria.
While that sentiment sells Austria short, ignoring many diverse and excellent wine regions, it’s not baseless. The Wachau’s vineyards, defined 1,000 years ago by local monks, are still recognized today for producing some of the world’s greatest white wines.
Nowhere else in the world is there such a concentration of talented winemakers capable of communicating their precise site characteristics through specific wines. Even more shocking, it’s hard to imagine any wine region in the world where variations from site to site are more obvious, even to the uninitiated naked eye.
Stand in virtually any spot in the Wachau and look out, and you’ll see shockingly beautiful vineyards, so obviously distinct from one another, that you know the wines will taste unique. The backside of a hill that avoids the sun; an amphitheater that focuses; a bend in the river that changes the lay of the land, a cliff face going up for hundreds of feet--all these elements make for surprisingly striking differences in terroir and, ultimately in the wines they produce.