The Wachau

The Wachau often reminds visitors of a kind of time capsule, because here one thinks in many corners that time has simply stood still at some point. And that's basically true: villages such as Dürnstein, Rossatz, Weißenkirchen or Spitz have been and still are cared for and cherished by their inhabitants in such a way that they have been able to retain much of their medieval charm. But behind many gates, time has anything but stood still.
The progressive, innovative spirit of the winegrowers and restaurateurs can best be measured by their achievements - and in this respect the Wachau people are among the pioneers of their guild today. In this distinctly feel-good landscape, which, by the way, was elevated to the status of World Heritage Site in 2000, viticulture has been practiced since time immemorial. The narrowness of the valley led the winegrowers from the beginning to plant the vines in stone terraces on the sunlit slopes, because the narrow valley floor was reserved for fruit, vegetables and cattle. And so the enormous walls were built in dry construction, whose dimensions could rival the monuments of antiquity. And there, on the best primary rock soils, the great Wachau white wines grow in three dry categories: the light, fresh Steinfeder, the elegant Federspiel and the full-bodied, long-lived Smaragd.

Mineral and fine

Grüner Veltliner is the dominant variety on the slightly more than 1300 hectares of vineyards, connoisseurs appreciate the wines from the finesse-rich Riesling grape. A speciality is the mild variety called Neuburger, which is said to have its origin in the Wachau, legendary as rare is the aromatic Gelber Muskateller. White Burgundy varieties are also represented here, as is a smattering of Sauvignon Blanc . Some winegrowers have even dedicated themselves to red wine. Nowhere else in Austria is the density of top vintners as high as here, and the stars of the scene are also happy to welcome visitors by appointment. The gastronomy focuses on regional specialities, and these range from the legendary apricot to saffron. The Wachau is best explored on foot or by water, but in any case with well-placed steps.

Even more enjoyment from the Wachau:

Wachau labneh
Kalmuck cake from the Elisabeth confectionery in Weißenkirchen
Variety of saffron products from the Wachau saffron manufactory
Pottery by Sabine Schneeweiß
Fine brandies from Markus Wieser
Recipe Tip:
Apricot spot with crumble
ISSUE IN Falstaff No. 04/2020