Weingut Thomas Leithner Zweigelt 2011
Climbing north and slightly east of the Kremstal region, Kamptal has very little vineyard area bordering the Danube River (unlike Wachau and Kremstal, whose vineyards run along it). The region takes its name from the river called Kamp, which traverses it north and south. Kamptal’s densely planted vineyards represent eight percent of Austria’s total.
The area experiences wide diurnal temperature variations like the Wachau but with less rain and more frost. Its vast geologic diversity makes it suitable for various experimentations with other varieties besides Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder), Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, St. Laurent and Zweigelt.
But the region is probably most noted for the beautiful and expansive terraced Heiligenstein, arguably one of the world’s top Riesling sites, as well as some of Austria’s most extraordinary Grüner Veltliner vineyards. Kamptal’s soils, which are mostly loess and sand with some gravel and rocks, make it suitable for Grüner Veltliner, so much so that actually half of the zone is planted to that grape.
Savory, spicy and fresh, this is Austria’s most popular red variety. While native to Austria, it is actually a fairly recent cross, bred by Dr. Zweigelt in 1922. He crossed two native varieties, Blaufränkisch, for its peppery bite, with St. Laurent, chosen for its elegance. Zweigelt can make a charmingly light and fruity, slightly tart and spicy red that’s great in the summer. Look for one-liter bottles to take to an afternoon barbecue. Zweigelt is capable of more serious, age-worthy version as well, which will be concentrated in fresh red and purple berries and boast delicate, autumn spice and pepper aromas. It grows well in various eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as in western Hungary. There are rare occurrences of the vine in some New World countries.