Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Kremstal, wine region whose 2,250 ha/5,600 acres of vines represent roughly 5% of austria’s vineyards and characterized by considerable geological and microclimatic diversity. Long considered part of the wachau, the towering rocky terraced vineyards on the region’s western edge—in particular those of the Krems-Stein suburb—segue seamlessly into those of today’s official Wachau. These include two of Austria’s greatest Riesling vineyards, the (Steiner) Hund and Pfaffenberg as well as the estimable Kögl and Wachtberg that are closer to the city of Krems proper. The valley of the diminutive River Krems incorporates only 7 km/4.3 miles of vineyards that are dominated by loess close to Krems city limits, rising to magnificent steepness upstream around Senftenberg, whose Ehrenfels, Hochäcker, and Pellingen vineyards are home to Riesling (10% of total Kremstal vineyard) and Grüner Veltliner. The eastern and north-eastern fringes of Krems are dominated by mounds of loess, anticipating the soil character and exposures of the wagram region that runs along the Danube’s left bank towards Vienna. Grüner Veltliner overwhelmingly dominates in this sector, which helps explain why it amounts to over half of the entire Kremstal vineyard area. Gneixendorf and Stratzing north of Krems (and bordering kamptal) as well as Rohrendorf and Gedersdorf to the city’s east are important wine villages in this sector. Kremstal also incorporates extensive vineyards on the Danube’s right bank, where sand and gravel from the Danube, that meandered around numerous islands until late 20th century dredging, vie with loess for vine roots’ attention. An especially diverse admixture of other varieties—including even Cabernet and Merlot from Bordeaux—colour growers’ price lists. Heading east from Mautern (in the Wachau), the villages of Furth, Palt, Oberfucha, and Tiefenfucha are dominated by the massive mountaintop Göttweig monastery—itself an important vineyard owner—while further downstream Hollenburg hugs the Danube’s shoreline and abuts traisental, to which, however, it is not assigned.