Sparkling Wine from Kamptal – Niederösterreich Lower Austria
9th February 2022
In the north-western wine region of Austria (Lower Austria Niederösterreich), you will find the Kamp Valley or Kamptal in German and as it is more widely referred to. With the river Kamp (of which the wine region is named after) running straight through and down to the main river that of Danube. The wine region is famous for its top vineyards and fine producers.
Kamptal is a DAC (DISTRICTUS AUSTRIAE CONTROLLATUS) which is the legal abbreviation for a particular region-typical quality wine with a protected origin for the Grüner Veltliner and Riesling grapes since 2008. This DOC is the Austrian appellation control system that is still very much in its infancy within the country and in the making.
The wine region is some 3,900 hectares in size with valleys facing down onto the river Kamp, forestry, and the soils being loess and volcanic sandstone. The weather/environment sees cool, fresh air coming in from the forests with a generally mild climate seeing sunny and hot summers and with temperatures of above 0°C in the winter. The terroir is also influenced greatly by the river Kamp.
The Kamptal lies next to Kremstal and Wachau wine regions which both rest alongside both banks of the river Danube.
Set alongside the many famed producers is Weingut Steininger whose location is in Langenlois. The winery is a family producer, in 1989 they began producing sparkling wine and today a wide selection of bubbly labels are on offer including many vintages (Weingut Steininger Vintages).
“It all started with a holiday in Champagne, which sparked a passion for sparkling wine. The year 1989 was a milestone – we started with the traditional bottle fermentation method. With the single-variety and single-year sparkling wine of the typical Kamptal varieties, we have found our own Austrian sparkling wine philosophy. With a bit of luck, our philosophy has been confirmed by top places at home and abroad.”
The family lays claim to the unique production method of elemental which uses the natural sugar of the grape exclusively where the base wine is stopped during the first fermentation and fermented unfiltered for the second time in the bottle with yeast specially selected on-site. After the yeast storage, the sparkling wine is shaken smooth. When removing the yeast, the dosage is dispensed with, the protection against oxidation is only provided by the natural carbonic acid.
Grüner Veltliner “Green Wine of Veltlin“
Both still wines and sparkling are produced at Weingut Steininger, white wine grapes are used as the region is famed for.
“Grüner Veltliner is such a wonderful and expressive grape for me, the wines by a select few wineries I simply adore. It does not suit everyone’s taste with its green fruits / lime / exotic / green pepper style of aromas and flavours. In our house, I’m the only fan, though I do not feel lonely when I get to enjoy the full bottle to myself. I prefer the sparkling wine over the still and for me, the vintage of 2016 is a real delight to enjoy now.”
For me, the finest Grüner Veltliner is enjoyed via Steininger which this winery has taken home several Trophies and Gold Medals for their 2016 vintage along with their Sauvignon Blanc and Muskateller labels.
Title image credit: Pixabay
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.