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The wine-growing region Thermenregion has only existed under this name since 1985, but that is not to say anything. More than 2000 years ago, the Romans already recognised the climatic and geological advantages of the region, whose vineyards today extend between the southern city limits of Vienna via Baden past Wiener Neustadt and occasionally as far as Neunkirchen, mainly along the eastern edge of the Vienna Woods.

Just how good the conditions are is also illustrated by the variety of grape varieties grown here; almost everything Austria has to offer is represented in the vineyards of the Thermenregion - and then some. For the reputation of the area today is based in no small measure on two grape varieties that are found almost nowhere else in the world: Zierfandler (also called Spätrot) and Rotgipfler, both in all likelihood natural crosses of Traminer and Roter Veltliner. The two are produced individually, but also as a cuvée - usually called Spätrot-Rotgipfler - whereby especially the Zierfandler often has more or less residual sweetness (first-class high-grade dessert wines are also offered), while the Rotgipfler is usually vinified dry or largely dry and can cover the whole range here from elegant fine-juicy and -spicy basic wines to powerful medtation wines. Only Chardonnay is of similar importance in the white wine segment. A whole series of wineries produce Chardonnays on a semi-regular basis that can at least be counted among the best in Lower Austria.

Another speciality of the region are the red Burgundy varieties Pinot Noir and St. Laurent, most of whose most important producers have joined forces in the association "die Burgundermacher", founded in 2003. In terms of quality, the two varieties have little in common here, the St. Laurent just usually seems a little darker and more cherry-like than the Pinot Noir. Both focus more on elegance than on power, even if the final finesse and depth are often still missing. On the other hand, most of the wines are a pleasure to drink after only a short period of ageing and are also very reasonably priced. Even the absolute tops don't make a big hole in your wallet - which is rather a rarity with Burgundies.

Often, however, the Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot succeed even better than the Burgundies. They obviously benefit greatly from the warm, Pannonian climate and even high ripeness and a spirited use of wood, which would take away much of a Pinot's subtleties, can do them little harm. The best representatives are dense, powerful and sometimes capable of developing for a long time.

We asked all the relevant wineries to submit tasting samples; below are brief comments on the wineries that accepted the invitation and their wines:

Weingut Familie Auer

Important "Burgundy maker", but with the Bordeaux varieties almost even better, also the whites, here especially the Chardonnay, are good. You can actually buy blind here.

Winery Leopold Aumann

One of the leading wineries of the region, red and white without weaknesses, with "Harterberg" and "Badnerberg" always among the top red wines.

Winery Biegler

Good Pinot Noir and Rotgipfler, sometimes excellent Bordeaux cuvée. Keep an eye on them!

Winery Günther and Sonja Dopler

The red wine cuvée "Daniel" is always a bank and also extremely inexpensive, also otherwise consistently good, often inexpensive wines, the Pinots could be a little finer and deeper.

Freigut Thallern

Always at the top, especially with the autochthonous whites, but also with very good St. Laurent and possibly the best Riesling of the area. Aumann, Alphart and Polz are the names of the winemakers responsible - and it shows.

Johann Gisperg Winery

Very reliable Burgundermacher, always good, sometimes excellent, often extremely good value. Pinot Noir and St. Laurent play the main role, but Cabernet and Zweigelt are equally recommendable.

Habacht Winery and Heuriger

A winery to keep an eye on. Although the quality varies a bit, there are several excellent wines at sometimes unbelievably low prices. The best example is the 13er Zierfandler for just 6 euros, but also Chardonnay Reserve and the red wine Cuvée Reserve are excellent and absolutely inexpensive.

Winery Heggenberger

One of the lesser known "Burgundy makers" and consequently also with very good Pinots in its programme. Red wine cuvées and white wines also deserve attention.

Gustav Krug Winery

One of the best known wineries in the region, extensive assortment with some highlights; the best Pinot Gris in the area, excellent Rotgipfler (also excellent as an orange wine) and again and again top-class Merlots and Cabernets.

Winzerhof Landauer-Gisperg

Highly reliable winery, not quite on the cheap side anymore, but St. Laurent and Zweigelt are actually always a bank.

Winery Georg Nigl

Probably the most courageous winemaker in the region at the moment: largely natural wines, partially or completely macerated, complex, strong in character, mineral and deep. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but for me one of the most exciting things the Thermenregion has to offer.

Piriwe Winery

Consistently good white wines, dry, semi-dry and sweet. With Zierfandler, Rotgipfler and Chardonnay always at the forefront of the region.

Winery Gregor Schup

Sometimes the wines have too much of everything, are a bit too thick and alcoholic, but often they put their power away well, then they are absolutely recommendable for lovers of this style. Also very good orange wines.

Click here for all 204 currently tasted wines of the Thermenregion

The Thermenregion in the glossary

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