The Carnuntum wine region stretches to the southeast of Vienna and is named after the Roman settlement of the same name that visitors can explore at Carnuntum Archeology Park. Powerful and mature reds are the vinophile business cards of this wine region.
With 910 ha of vineyards between Vienna and Bratislava, Carnuntum is considered an up-and-coming wine region in Austria. That is because of a new generation of top young winemakers and a variety of excursion destinations. Archeologists keep unearthing valuable finds from Ancient Romans, who were growing wine in these heavy soils of clay, loess, sand and gravel even back then.
Today these soil conditions and the Pannonian climate are naturally most suitable for red varieties. Leading the way are the two top reds Blauer Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch, followed by international newcomers like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. But whites such as Grüner Veltliner, varieties of Burgunder and traditional cuvees (called “Gemischter Satz” in eastern Austria) are also characterized by a full-body and structure. There is one thing wine lovers should definitely keep in mind: Committed winemakers mark their wines designated Rubin Carnuntum with the symbol of the Heathen’s Gate (Heidentor), a readily visible seal of quality for traits typical of the region. Of course you don’t have to stop with admiring the Heathen’s Gate as a miniature on bottles of great wine; you can also see it first-hand in its natural size – in Petronell.
However, wine mavens focus on the Arbesthal hill country and the wine villages of Göttlesbrunn, Höflein and Arbesthal. They also turn their sights to the east of the region where Spitzerberg, a striking hill, serves as the center for winegrowing. Winemakers from around Göttlesbrunn have developed a distinct style of reds with exceptional power, fullness and density. They go down with soft smoothness, making them pleasurable to drink even as young wines.
Wines from this grape variety are violet-red in color and have powerful tannins. When made from fully mature grapes, these wines are full-bodied and long-lived with sour cherry aromas. High quality wines are also aged in barrique.
This late ripening grape has a typical nose dominated by a deep fruit of wild berries or cherries and a characteristic acidity. Blaufränkisch grapes can produce wines with a dense structure and striking tannins. In their youth, they can often be clumsy but as they age they acquire velvety facets. Powerful wines have enough potential for extensive storage.
This is the German name for Pinot Noir. These grapes can produce high-quality, long-lived wines provided the vineyard is ideally situated, ripe grapes are used and the winemaker is skilled at his or her craft. However, this sensitive variety is considered a challenge for winemakers in the vineyard and in the cellar. Not very dark coloring is one characteristic. The typical nose is understated, with a range of aromas extending anywhere from strawberry and raspberry to sour cherries and prunes.
These wines must be made of very ripe grapes and require extensive maturation before they exhibit ample fruit and soft sweetness from extracts along with round, harmonious tannins. Wines made from highly mature grapes can be stored for long periods. If the grapes were unripe, the wine could seem grassy green.
Grüner Veltliner is a natural cross between Traminer and St. Georgen. It is by far the most important white grape variety in Austria and runs the quality gamut from light wines with pronounced acidity to mature premium vintages.