Austria announces new wine region

18 August, 2009

Austria has designated a new wine region, Leithaberg, which is the first to recognise both red and white wines with regional typicity.

The Austrian Ministry of Agriculture and Environment has decided that the red and white wines in the region around the town of Eisenstadt and its surrounding area, including the communities of Jois and Winden, are of a certain quality and have the required regional typicity for them to be marketed under the Leithaberg DAC designation from of September 1, 2010.

This is the second DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) appellation in Austria's Burgenland and the first Austrian appellation which will feature wines with regional typicity from both red and white grapes.

Leithaberg whites must be vinified only from the grape varieties Grüner Veltliner, Weissburgunder, Chardonnay and/or Neuburger - which means it can be either a single varietal white wine made from one of the mentioned varieties, or else a blend from two or more of these varieties. The red Leithaberg DAC must be produced from the Blaufränkisch varietal, although appellation law allows for a maximum of 15% of the wine to be comprised of up to three other red varietals - Zweigelt, Pinot Noir and St. Laurent. Both the white and red styles are dry and marked by a characteristic mineral expression.

Leithaberg DAC wines are described as structured wines for which the soil, not the wood, provides key definition with good ageing potential. The wines are said to: “demonstrate length, minerality, nervousness, confident expression, finesse and elegance”.

The Austrian DAC family comprises:

Weinviertel DAC: Grüner Veltliner, since 2002;

Mittelburgenland DAC: Blaufränkisch, since 2005 (includes Reserve category);

Traisental DAC: Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, since 2006, (includes Reserve category);

Kremstal DAC: Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, since 2007, (includes Reserve category);

Kamptal DAC: Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, since 2008, (includes Reserve category);

Leithaberg DAC: white: Grüner Veltliner, Weißburgunder, Chardonnay, Neuburger; red: Blaufränkisch, begins September 2010.

Districtus Austriae Controllatus defintion: a wine marked by distinctive regional typicity. If the addition of ‘Reserve’ is used on the label, this means that the wine demonstrates full body and power.