Primarily white wine grapes, mostly Grüner Veltliner, flourish in the small terraced vineyards of the Traisen Valley (Traisental in German) between the Danube and St. Pölten. Archeological finds prove that wine was being grown in the Traisen Valley more than 4,000 years ago.
Archeological finds show that people in the Traisen Valley were familiar with viniculture back in the Bronze Age. Nonetheless, this smallest of wine regions in Lower Austria at 790 ha was not elevated to wine region status until 1995 as the last of the 8 wine regions in the land. The reasons for this delay may be many; they certainly have nothing to do with the quality of the Traisen Valley wines.
For the most part, the vines grow on often tiny terraces with dry, very limey soil.
They lend the wines their distinct profile featuring a full body and a strong backbone. Fruity spicy Grüner Veltliner accounts for more than half the vineyards in cultivation, so this variety dominates in this region. But Traisen Valley Riesling, with its full-bodied mineral character, also has its enthusiastic backers.
Both have been marketed since 2006 under the designation Traisental DAC. Wine lovers may also be interested in the successful attempts in the Traisen Valley to increase the output of wines made from Rivaner, varieties of Burgunder and Zweigelt.
The small wine villages of Insersdorf, Getzersdorf, Reichersdorf and Nussdorf ob der Traisen picturesquely dot the vineyards on the slopes of Dunkelsteiner Wald, a forest that protects the vines from cool winds from the west. The Traisen Valley heurige are located further to the west near Oberwölbling and Unterwölbling. The area to the northeast between Traismauer and Sitzenberg-Reidling also has a number of authentic cellar-lined roads, where wines are served in heuriger fashion accompanied by tasty down-to-earth foods.
The best way to explore this most recently dubbed wine region in Lower Austria is on foot – on a guided hike through the Traisen Valley with one of some 36 trained wine guides.
Grüne Veltliners run the gamut of quality from light, acidic wines to fully mature premium vintages. The location and yield are decisive determinants of quality. Spicy, peppery wines are preferred or fruit aromas reminiscent of stone fruit.
Young Rieslings have a charming fruitiness und spice that allows them to mature into grand, complex wines. In these wines, the flavors of stone fruit such as peach, apricot and exotic fruits predominate. The wines are lent a mineral note reminiscent of slate or flint from the terroir in the Wachau, Krems Valley and Kamp Valley in particular. Riesling matures slowly as wine, first reaching the pinnacle of quality as an aged wine with rose-like aromas. A pleasant petroleum note emerges as the wine ages, which is off-putting to some wine drinkers. Grapes infested with noble rot that are left on the vines till late in the season are used for making wines of exceptional quality known in German as Auslese and Beerenauslese.
This grape yields mild wines that mature early and taste slightly of nutmeg. The wines age rapidly if the acidity is too low. Premium wines can have great potential for quality.
Wines from this grape variety are violet-red in color and have powerful tannins. When made from mature grapes, these wines are full-bodied and long-lived with sour cherry aromas. High quality wines are also aged in barrique.
Young wines are flowery with a zesty acidity; aged wines take on flavors reminiscent of bread and nuts. Wine is aged slowly and top quality is not achieved until it has aged for an extended period in the bottle.