Named for the river Kamp that runs through it, the Kamptal is one of the most successful winegrowing regions in the country with 3,582 hectares under vines and numerous internationally known top estates, Culture and tourism also enjoy particular prominence here in the region. Since 2008, the name Kamptal DAC stands for Grüner Veltliner or Riesling, either in the classic-to- middleweight styles, or as a robust dry Reserve-category wine.
The Kamp is a river, some 150km long, which flows north to south and issues slightly east of Krems into the Danube. In the Kamptal – the Kamp river valley – one finds various rock formations, ranging from loess and gravel to striking crystal intrusions to red, feldspar-rich sandstones and conglomerates on the famous Heiligenstein. These four types of rock form the basis for a colourful geological patchwork that unfolds throughout the region, testifying to ancient seas and fiery volcanoes, primordial realignment of riverbeds and dust blown in during the ice ages. So it comes as little surprise that the wines from the Kamptal – characterised by differences in exposition, elevation and soil – exhibit very distinctive and individualistic character. One particularly special feature is the 270 million-year-old Permian desert sandstone with volcanic elements on the Heiligenstein. And although “heilig” might mean “holy” in German, the name actually refers to the “hellish” sunshine, which makes for a hot, dry microclimate.
On the steep terraces that crowd the southern slope of the hillside – so steep that no permanent covering of loess could remain – it is mainly Riesling vines that root deeply, producing powerful, mineral-driven and (above all) extremely long-lived wines. Toward the Danube, the soil formations of the vineyards changes; here, refreshing and classic but also very robust wines from Grüner Veltliner find ideal conditions on the broad loess and loam terraces. The classic Kamptal DAC on the Gebietswein and Ortswein levels manifests itself in both Grüner Veltliner and Riesling as a fresh, dry white wine with personality; pleasantly light on its feet and yet exhibiting concentrated structure. The great robust Riedenweine and Reserve wines are, with their rich character and appreciable depth, are unmistakable expressions of their origins. In addition, white and red wines of the Pinot family as well as the Blauer Zweigelt show their finer aspects here, marketed under the designation “Niederösterreich”.
In terms of climate, the dynamic tension that arises in the Kamptal between the hot, Pannonian basin in the east and the cool Waldviertel to the northwest is quite noticeable, and this fresh breath can also be felt in the wines. Interplay between the heat of the day and the substantially lower nighttime temperatures imparts great aromatic finesse and lively acidity to the grapes.