Furmint - Zweigelt - Kamptal
Tucked away to the west of Vienna, between the Kremstal, Donauland and Weinviertel, lies Kamptal, which takes its name from the River Kamp which runs through the region. Winegrowing history here goes back a long way - the local museum in Langenlois has exhibits showing that this region has been populated by man since the stone age.
The region is centred on Langenlois, which is Austria's largest wine town, while key wine villages include Kammern, Zöbing and Gobelsburg.
Our primary Kamptal producer is the Waldschutz family - their wines are fantastic examples of the primary rock terroir
Furmint is, of course, the main grape in the production of Tokaj, the unctuous sweet wine from Hungary. However, that country does not have the monopoly on this grape. It is grown in other nearby countries, Austria being one of them. Heidi Schröck was one of the pioneers that reintroduced the grape and now produces some of the best Furmint wines in the world. Her dry Furmint is elegant and filled with spice and quince. Her sweet Furmint and blends incorporating Furmint are truly astonishing and need to be tasted to be believed. I would urge everyone to become a believer.
Furmint originates in Hungary with the first references found in documents from the late sixteenth century. It is no surprise that it comes from the Tokaj region whose eponymous wines have made it famous and given so much pleasure. Other origins have been suggested but are without substance.
Furmint is related to Gouais Blanc and therefore to a vast number of well-known varieties such as Chardonnay and Riesling. It is a parent of the other main grape in Tokaji wines, Hárslevelü and the Swiss Plantscher.
What to Expect
The wines tend to be a lovely deep ruby colour and the nose is almost physically chewable with lingering black fruits, combining with sweet tones of treacle and caramel and a hint of stewed prunes in the background. Absolutely gorgeous.
On tasting, it is a surprise to find that it is typically lighter in the body than the nose suggested. Flavours of black fruits, especially cherry, come through with hints of plum in the background. Some Zweigelt will give a lot of spice, especially cinnamon. The length of this wine can be astonishing.
Zweigelt is named after its creator, Dr Zweigelt, who crossed St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch in 1922 at the research centre in Klosterneuburg. Whilst crossing two great grapes does not guarantee a greater, this comes pretty close. Both parents are used to making beautiful wine and the child is too.
It was originally named Rotburger and in places is still known by that synonym today. However that can be very confusing as there is another grape, totally unrelated, called Rotberger.
Knowing the parentage of Zweigelt, it is clear that it is the grandchild of both Gouais Blanc and Pinot, making it part of serious grape royalty. It is also a parent of Roesler, also created in Klosterneuburg, an up-and-coming red grape in Austria.
Austrian Wine Regions
Big reds, superlative dessert wines and natural treasures.
Red wine terroir and ancient roman cities
Elegant and spicy wines on hills north of the Danube.
Mineral Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
Impossible rolling hills, world class whites and unique rosé.
Directly south of Vienna. Serious red wines and characterful whites.
Wine terraces South of the Danube. Amazing value wines.
Vienna - the only capital which is its own wine region.
Some of the best whites on the planet.
Ancient rock and modern winemaking.
North of Vienna - the home of classic Grüner Veltliner.