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The Danube and Domaine Wachau  Add/Read Comments

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Quite atmospheric is the Danube when the tops of the overlooking vineyard terraces are smothered in fog. Even the growl of the boats engines couldn't dampen the thrill. A first timer, chugging down the river from Spitz (if ever there was an apt name for a wine town...) sipping a Kartauserhof Riesling and a Franz Hirtzberger Grüner Veltliner before disembarking at Durnstein.

The precipitous south-facing terraces revelled in their autumnal colours, muted only by the clinging fog. Even Durnstein with its monumental blue Abbey tower managed to look near perfect in the gloom. Durnstein was were Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned on his return from the Holy Land.

Sorry for the rather poor quality to the video, it was taken on a borrowed little compact, but gives a brief impression of the steep hillsides that almost slide into the Danube.

Can it really be a coincidence that Waitrose has suddenly placed Domaine Wachau Grüner Veltliner Terraces 2009 [Adegga / Snooth] on their shelves just as the wine bloggerati return from Austria? While lacking the intense minerality and sublime individuality of the single vineyard Grüners (or the Domäne Wachau, Grüner Veltliner Achleiten Smaragd 2008 Wachau also stocked by Waitrose) this 'basic' Terraces still offers that characteristic crisp acidity and clean-cut pear flavours. A touch of minerality to the texture adds much to the wines easy drinking stance. Decent length ending on a splash of lemon over Danube washed stones...

The Domaine Wachau estate (or Or more correctly Domäne Wachau), a 'quality-oriented cooperative' has 440 hectares of vines (which is 30% of the entire Wachau region) and as such is perhaps the most famous producer in the Wachau. It has a great visitor centre/tasting room/shop (another quick video here) and, if offered the chance, you should try and wander down to the historic cellars and also view the baroque Cellar Palace - recently restored to its 1734 state. It can actually be hired for weddings and other such functions. The frescos are magnificent. Of course we were rather privileged to be given a tour by the Winery Director Roman Horvath MW - Austria's second Master of Wine.

More pictures on Flickr and SpittoonExtra.




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And you mustn't forget the tales of how Ambassador Leopold Figl took the Russians down in the cellars of Domaine Wachau to out drink them with Gruner Veltliner , thus giving him an 'advantage' during the negotiations for the Federal Treaty. =P

The more blogs I read about Austria, the more I wish I could go there in the near future. I need to learn about wine before I go there. So far, I've only had Australian wine.

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