The Spotlight n°2 - Kamptal
Welcome to Kamptal, Austria's gem in the world of wine!
Just 55 km (35 miles) northwest of Vienna, lies Kamptal, a small but exceptional wine region nestled in the centre of Europe.
The region gets its name from the river Kamp, which with its 153 km, runs through the vineyard-covered valley and is a tributary of the Danube River.
Despite a modest size of 3,802 hectares, Kamptal is renowned for its exceptional white wines such as Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
Boasting an ancient winemaking tradition dating back to Roman times, over 4,000 years ago, this prestigious region is a must know for all wine enthusiasts.
Thanks to the unique terroir, favourable climate and expert winemakers, Kamptal stands as a testament to Austria's commitment to producing wines of refined elegance and unparalleled quality.
Join us on a journey through Kamptal, where great terroir finds its finest expression in every sip of these incredible dry white wines.
CLIMATE AND TERROIR
At the heart of Europe, the unique balance between the soil, the high altitude of the vineyards and the climate of this region gives life to wines of aromatic finesse and vibrant acidity.
Kamptal’s terroir has two main influences: the River Kamp and the Heiligenstein mountain.
These two elements are key to understanding the richness and complexity of the aromas the wines from this region can express.
The soil in Kamptal is very diverse: from 270-million-year-old sandstone with volcanic elements, originated from the former Permian desert to fertile loess, a fine, fertile sediment formed by wind-blown deposits, which retains moisture while allowing for excellent drainage.
In the lower part of Kamptal, the soil is predominantly clay-based, resulting in concentrated, richly flavoured Grüner Veltliner wines with a characteristic flinty spice and citrus notes.
As you move upstream to the slopes of the valley, Riesling thrives on stony topsoil, producing mineral-driven wines with vibrant green fruit flavours and invigorating acidity.
Influenced by both the river and protective mountains, as well as the cool Waldviertel forest to the west and warm Pannonian plain to the east, Kamptal experiences a cool continental climate, with hot dry summers and cold winters.
The continental microclimate, along with significant temperature differences between day and night, contributes to a slow and gradual ripening process for the grapes. Allowing for the preservation of acidity and the development of complex aromas in the wines.
Fun fact: Although the German word “heilig” translates as “holy”, Heiligenstein actually gets its name from the hellish sunshine that makes for a hot, dry climate.
At the heart of Kamptal's wine making philosophy lies a deep respect for tradition and a commitment to sustainable practices.
With approximately 296 wineries, Kamptal's winemakers are celebrated for their meticulous attention to detail and environmentally friendly approaches. From the careful hand-harvesting of grapes to the gentle pressing and precise fermentation techniques, every step is taken to capture the essence of Kamptal's vineyards and craft exceptional wines.
Kamptal DAC Classification
In 2008, Kamptal was granted DAC classification, similar to France's AOC, Italy's DOC, and Spain's DO.
This classification ensures that all Kamptal DAC wines are dry and meet specific requirements.
The "Standard" wines must have a minimum alcohol content of 11.5 % while Kamptal DAC wines display an indication of the municipality and require a minimum alcohol content of 12%.
For wines labelled with a single vineyard, the alcohol content rises to 12.5%, signifying their exceptional quality.
The DAC Reserve designation is reserved for fuller-bodied wines, boasting a minimum alcohol content of 13%.
Famous single-vineyard sites such as Heiligenstein, Gaisberg, Steinmassl, and Lamm are ranked as Erste Lage (Grand Cru) vineyards, showcasing the region's exceptional vineyard locations.
From the mineral-driven soils of Heiligenstein to the expressive fruit notes of Gaisberg, each vineyard adds its own unique touch to the wines produced.
Austria's enchanting vineyards are home to many grape varieties. Among the 40 varieties cultivated in the country, we can find Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Gelber Muskateller, Muskateller, Traminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
However, it is the native (indigenous) grape varieties, including Grüner Veltliner, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent that truly define Austria's winemaking identity.
Looking closer at the picturesque region of Kamptal, two stars shine the brightest: the austrian-native Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
Austria's most widely planted vine, Grüner Veltliner, finds its highest expression in the Kamptal.
With its fruity and finely spiced profile, Grüner Veltliner Kamptal DAC captures the essence and complexity of the region perfectly.
Vibrant acidity, expressive fruit flavours, and a touch of pepperiness are signature traits of the wines from this region which can be styled in a full range of variants: from uncomplicated and light to “classically opulent” in the reserve wines.
Riesling, despite its German origins, finds exceptional expression in Kamptal, where it benefits from the region's diverse soils, resulting in vibrant and mineral-driven dry wines with layers of complexity.
The Riesling Kamptal DAC showcases the variety's unique qualities without the influence of botrytis or oak. Riesling DAC Reserve wines exhibit territorial and varietal aromas, characterised by their distinct stylistics and a rich, lingering finish.
While white wines dominate Kamptal, the region has seen the emergence of high-quality dry reds, notably crafted from Austria's signature red grape variety, Zweigelt.
Although red wine production has tripled in Austria in the last two decades, white wines still hold their predominant position