Walter Glatzer farms 54 hectares in the ancient region of Carnuntum, the largest border community of the Roman Empire where Celtics, Romans, and later monastic settlements tended vines for over 2000 years. Carnuntum has a unique combination of exposition, soil and microclimate that provides perfect conditions for viticulture. Vines in Carnuntum benefit from the contrast created by the warm Pannonian plane to the northeast, the cooling currents off the Danube, and wind protection from the Maria Ellend forest, to the north. This climate creates wide diurnal temperature swings, giving the wines a freshness and brightness that makes them a pleasure to drink.
The gently rolling hills of stony, dense loam and gravel soils are perfect for red grape varieties, while the sand on the alluvial plane stretching to the Danube are ideal soils grüner veltliner and other white varieties. Glatzer plants his vineyards to a about 5000 vines per hectare to help reduce vine stress and believes in high canopy training which focuses more energy, and consequently more ripeness in the fruit.
Red wines, especially zweigelt and blaufränkisch, play the leading roles at Weingut Glatzer. After maceration and fermentation in stainless steel, gentle pump-overs, and a gentle pressing, Walter ages the entry level wines in large 2000 liter casks and the reserve wines, including Dornenvogel Zweigelt, in barrique for 12 months. White wines are fermented at low temperatures in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to retain as much freshness, fruit and varietal character as possible. A certain amount of lees-contact gives additional depth and complexity to all wines.
Appreciated for superior wines made from indigenous varieties, Austria should be on the radar of any curious wine drinker. A rather cool and dry wine growing region, this country produces wine that is quintessentially European in style: food-friendly with racy acidity, moderate alcohol and fresh fruit flavors.
Austria’s viticultural history is rich and vast, dating back to Celtic tribes with first written record of winemaking starting with the Romans. But the 20th century brought Austria a series of winemaking obstacles, namely the plunder of both world wars, as well as its own self-imposed quality breach. In the mid 1980s, after a handful of shameless vintners were found to have added diethylene glycol (a toxic substance) to their sweet wines to imitate the unctuous qualities imparted by botrytis, Austria’s credibility as a wine-producing country was compromised. While no one was harmed, the incident forced the country to rebound and recover stronger than ever. By the 1990s, Austria was back on the playing field with exports and today is prized globally for its quality standards and dedication to purity and excellence.
Grüner Veltliner, known for its racy acidity and herbal, peppery aromatics, is Austria's most important white variety, comprising nearly a third of Austrian plantings. Riesling in Austria is high in quality but not quantity, planted on less than 5% of the country’s vineyard land. Austrian Rieslings are almost always dry and are full of bright citrus flavors and good acidity. Red varietal wines include the tart and peppery Zweigelt, spicy and dense Blaufränkisch and juicy Saint Laurent. These red varieties are also sometimes blended.
Austria’s most popular red variety, the Zweigelt grape can make a charmingly fruity, snappy and spicy wine ideal for summer sipping. Be on the lookout for the one-liter bottles—perfect for the barbecue! It is also capable of more serious, concentrated, age-worthy version that can withstand a short number of years of age. Somm Secret— While native to Austria, Zweigelt is actually a fairly recent cross bred by Dr. Zweigelt in 1922. He crossed two native varieties, Blaufränkisch, for its peppery bite, with St. Laurent, chosen for its elegance.