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Ep 331: Carnuntum -- Austria's Newest, Oldest Quality Red Wine Region with Christina Netzl

Wine for Normal People

Release Date: 06/22/2020

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Wine for Normal People

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Carnuntum is a small wine region in Austria with only 2% of the wine growing area, but it packs a punch in quality. A short drive from Vienna, Carnuntum is an old Roman hub, with a rich history and its wine is only just making an impact on the international wine scene. Christina Netzl, from Weingut Netzl joins – a producer who is largely responsible for putting this region on the map and making its red wines, especially of Zweigelt, so well-known and respected.

Here are the show notes:

  • We discuss the location of Carnuntum, its storied Roman history, and its unique position in Austria as an extremely high-quality wine region.
  • Christina gives us an idea of what the terroir is like in Carnuntum, the challenges with a windy climate, and the positive effects of the Danube, Lake Neusiedl, and the Pannonian Plain (which was once an old seabed!) on the climate and weather in the region.

  • We learn about the differences between the reds of Burgenland to the south, and the small Carnuntum region: the reds in Carnuntum are acidic, fresh, with bright fruit and ample spice. The wines are never overshadowed by the use of oak, which is used to support flavors, not to get “in front of the fruit” (I loved this phrase!).

 

Christina tells us about the very long, drawn out process of getting a Districtus Austriae Controllus (DAC) designation for Carnuntum.

  • We learn how very collaborative Carnuntum is – all winemakers had to agree to the standards of the DAC before it was finalized (very unusual!)

  • We discuss Carnuntum’s own classification system. Here are the German names:

    • Gebietswein (regional wine)
    • Ortswein (village wine)
    • Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine)

  • When wines can’t be classified as Carnuntum, they’re designated “Niederösterreich” which is sort of like Vins de Pays d’Oc (like from all of the Languedoc, for example) in France. The wines can come from a very large area all over the northeastern part of Austria. For smaller producers, it’s usually from their individual area, but the wine doesn’t qualify for the stricter DAC regulation.
  • Christina explains "Rubin Carnuntum”, a Zweigelt made in a certain style by a small group of producers (each has one under her own label – e.g., Netzl Rubin Carnuntum)
  • We discuss the name Zweigelt, and the link to its creator, an enthusiastic member of the Nazi party.

Christina tells us about the importance of Netzl working the land organically, how she is thrilled when she travels that people even know Austria makes wine, and the challenges she has had both as a woman, a young person, and a daughter taking over a family business.

A really fascinating look at an up and coming, (yet old and well-established) region!

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