Often a little overlooked alongside its more famous neighbours Wachau, Kamptal and Kremstal, Wagram is home to a whole range of first-class producers whose wines often remain exceptionally good value even at their peak. By far the most important variety is Grüner Veltliner, which finds ideal conditions especially on the roughly 30-kilometre-long terrain that gives the area its name, in the part of the region north of the Danube, with its often metre-thick loess overlay.
One of Austria's leading Veltliner producers is undoubtedly Franz Leth, from whom you could buy everything from the "Klassik" at the base to the powerful Grande Reserve "Gigama" every year. You will hardly ever make a mistake here. This year, we were particularly taken with Toni Söllner's multi-layered 13 Reserve "Alte Reben", which seems to be at peace with itself. With the "Hengstberg", he also presented us with one of the best Veltliners of the 2014 vintage, which was certainly not easy. A whole series of first-class 14er Veltliners come from the Urbanihofand Ecker-Eckhof vineyards, as well as "Löss II" and "Löss III" from Sauerstingl, the two Fumbergs from Blauensteiner and Gerhold, the Hochrain from Franz Anton Mayer, the Hohenberg from the Ernst family and, with the Essenthal, another Veltliner from Blauensteiner. Fritz Salomon is also represented at the top, although his smoky and tobaccoy Maulbeerpark is still from 2013. The biodynamically produced, always somewhat wild and slightly oxidative wines from Wimmer-Czerny are a world of their own. They require some habituation and should not be bought blindly if you have no experience with these wines. But once you have made friends with them, they sometimes open up their very own worlds of aromas. The 13 Weelfel is excellent, the 12 "Pur" - more orange than white - sensational from our point of view. A must for advanced and experimental wine drinkers. So much for the top wines from this year's tasting, the list of recommendable Grüner Veltliners from the Wagram is also long this year; too long to present all the wines individually in this text. A list of all 44 Veltliners tasted from the Wagram this year can be found here.
A speciality of the Wagram is the Red Veltliner, which has a similar importance nowhere else. The variety has nothing at all to do with Grüner Veltliner, but can have a similar peppery spiciness, especially if it comes from loess. The best wines are dense, ideally powerful without being heavy, as well as firm, grippy and long-lasting. Once again, Franz Leth came out on top with his very firmly woven, salty, tart and enormously grippy Scheiben, followed by Eckers Steinberg, the semi-dry Hinterberg from the Bauer family, and Toni Söllner's 2013 Berg Eisenhut. All 15 Red Veltliners tasted this year can be found here.
Riesling does not play the same role in the Wagram as it does in other Lower Austrian regions. So this year we were not presented with many Rieslings, of which we can especially recommend Leth's "Wagramterrassen", which year after year is one of the top Wagramer Rieslings. Leth's Basis is also good again, as are the wines from Ecker, the Ernst family and - as always idiosyncratic - Wimmer-Czerny's Weelfel.
In the Wagram, one should by no means pass by the white Burgundy varieties, which always turn out remarkably well here. This year it was above all the 13 Pinot Blancs from Fritz Salomon, whose wine is somewhat reminiscent of Chardonnay from the Jura, and the Stift Klosterneuburg that stood out, along with another wild 14 Pinot Blanc "Alte Reben" from Wimmer-Czerny, the 12 Chardonnay "Chabarri" from Franz Bayer and the Pinot Blanc from the Ernst family, another 2014, but this time completely wild.
One rarely associates the Wagram with red wine, but some reds deserve attention, especially since excellent qualities can be found here at friendly prices. As so often in Lower Austria, Zweigeld plays the leading role, mostly in an inexpensive, drinkable version, but sometimes also as a high-class reserve. Leth's "Gigama" has already earned a certain fame beyond the borders of the region and is clearly at the top again this year in its 2012 version, followed by the Urbanihof's "1598" and the Bauer family's Reserve, which has two more wines among the best reds of the Wagram with its Cuvée Reserve and the Blauburgunder - all vintage 2011. In addition, there is a polished 2012 Blauburgunder from Toni Söllner as well as the cool, yet firmly woven 2012 Cuvée Reserve from Habacht, a real price-performance hit and one of the surprises of the entire tasting. All the red wines tasted from the Wagram this year can be found here.