Muscat - Weinviertel
The Weinviertel, or "Wine Quarter" is a large region to the north of Vienna extending as far as the border with the Czech republic. For decades it was the edge of the Western World, right next to the Iron Curtain!
Although this is the largest winegrowing region in Austria, with more than 15,000 hectares of vineyards, it doesn't really seem like wine country as you travel around it, as it is also the breadbasket of Vienna. Vines are scattered on the hillsides and in the most favourable areas amongst other crops - lots of wheat, fruit trees and everything from asparagus to strawberries.
It's a fascinating region architecturally with mediaeval gems of towns such as Retz, with its stunning Baroque centre and miles of underground wine cellars. The region has many more charming wine villages and towns, many with "Kellergassen", streets lined with cellars resembling stuccoed houses. Interesting towns include Eggenburg, Falkenstein and Poysdorf, possibly Austria's most picturesque wine town.
In 2003, Weinviertel was the first region to adopt a new classification system, "Weinviertel DAC", where DAC stands for "Districtus Austriae Controllatus". This is a bit like the French AOC system.
Gelber Muskateller is the German name, and one of a vast number of names worldwide, for Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains which is a very old variety.
Not be confused with the inferior high-yielding standard Muscat (Muskat-Ottonel), this is an altogether better variety but one which is hard to cultivate. It is grown only in small quantities as it is very demanding on location, being sensitive to rot from fungal attacks and frost, although it is not fussy about soil type. They make an excellent summer wine.
Although often made into dry, light wines, it can be made sweet. Unusually, there is often the aroma of grapes in these wines and smoky and spicy aromas that continue on to the palate with plentiful fruit and a lingering acidity. There is some nuttiness and a hint of orange. This is another white wine that is worth drinking now and laying some down for future years.
There are records of the Gelber Muskateller being grown in the Wachau as long ago as 1400, although there is also a long tradition of its cultivation in Styria and Burgenland. It is used to make wines in a variety of styles from dry, all the way up to Prädikat, with the stronger examples having tremendous storage potential. They are truly some of my favourite wines - such an aromatic nose and particularly good as an apéritif or with appetisers.
It is believed that the grape originated from Greece and was disseminated through Italy and into France by the Romans.
Gelber Muskateller Weinbau UrbanExhuberant and fruity Muskateller, even when mature. SALE 20-50% Off