Ernsthofer Gruner Veltliner...
The wine comes from the small family-owned Ernsthofer vineyard, which is located in Austria's most famous wine-growing region, the Wachau....
Our assortment, like the Wachau region itself, is very diverse. Grüner Veltliner and Riesling top the list of our best-known varieties. We place particular emphasis on selecting only the best wines and producing them under the Steinfeder®, Federspiel® and Smaragd® brands. We complement the range with other varieties such as Gelber Muskateller, Weißburgunder and Chardonnay. For connoisseurs of fine spirits, we offer a selection of rare wines, including grape marc and brandy. Before being bottled, our spirits are stored in oak barrels for decades.
The varied nature of well-known regions such as Kollmütz, Steinriegl or Hinter der Burg perfectly reflect our wines. Each year is an exciting challenge that we approach with the utmost passion and dedication. Our wine cellar is located directly on the Danube in the heart of the Wachau region. We cultivate varieties typical of our region, perfectly matching the climate and soil of this unique place. We are proud that by carefully cultivating our steep vineyards we can contribute to the preservation and protection of this region as a World Heritage Site.
Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus
As a proud member of the Vinea Wachau winemakers' association, we focus on quality, purity and natural origin - this allows us to label our best wines as Steinfeder®, Federspiel® and Smaragd®. The names refer to the weight of the must and the alcohol level of the wines which determine the style of the wine. The grading can only be used by vineyards belonging to the Codex Wachau and is only used for white wines grown in this region.
Steinfeder® is the lightest style of the best Vinea Wachau wines, offering fresh, fruity wines with a maximum alcohol content of 11.5% vol. These wines are usually made from the earliest harvested grapes in the Wachau. The name Steinfeder comes from the grass usually grown near vineyards, Steinfeder-gras, which is light and fragrant - much like the wines of the same name.
Named after the falcon that often hunts in the Wachau, these wines rank second in the three-tier classification system. This classic dry wine is distinguished by a strong character rich in nuances. Federspiel® wines have a must weight of at least 17 ° KMW and an alcohol content between 11.5% and 12.5% vol.
Smaragd is the name of the best, most valuable Vinea Wachau wines. They got their name from the emerald lizard of the same name that lives in the Wachau vineyard. The alcohol content of these wines starts at 12.5% vol, which together with the highest maturity of the grapes and natural concentration, puts them at a world-class level. The wines are not very sweet, they have a rich body in terms of both weight and taste, and are also suitable for aging.
Today we're going on a trip to the Wachau to explain the concepts of Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd.
Long before the establishment of the DAC system, many wine regions in Austria were developing their own wine classification system. Among them was Wachau, which belonged to Vinea Wachau - an organization that covers almost 200 vineyards and specializes in wine classification. In 2006, all members of Vinea Wachau agreed to the guidelines set out by the Codex Wachau, which are as follows (source: Domane-Wachau):
Strict origin marking
The wines are harvested and bottled directly in the Wachau wine growing area. They are classified as Steinfeder, Federspiel, or Smaragd.
All Vinea Wachau winemakers refrain from any method of enrichment, including chaptalization. The natural sugar content of the fruit and the corresponding potential of each vintage are responsible for the quality of the product. This is the basis of the Wachau wine classification.
Wachau winemakers do not use any methods of concentration. The natural content of grapes, must and the resulting wine is not subject to technical concentration methods (vacuum evaporation, reverse osmosis, cryo-extraction, etc.).
No fragrance additives
Absolutely no fragrance additives are allowed. The Wachau vineyards do not falsify the natural aromas of their wines, therefore the use of oak barrels, wooden chips and powdered tannin is prohibited.
No fractionation or separation
Although the technology of fractionation (dividing the wine into individual ingredients - alcohol, aroma, etc. and recreating the desired parts) is allowed by the EU and the US, in Vinea Wachau it is forbidden because Wachau winemakers see it as a betrayal and cheating on nature and firmly refuse to use it.
Nature without additives
Wachau vineyards do not use any modern means of manipulating their wine. All Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd wines are completely natural and contain no additives.
As can be seen, the names Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd are significant elements of the classification system. Each refers to the weight of the must and the alcohol level of the wines which determine the style of the wine:
Steinfeder: You probably won't find many (if any) Steinfeder wines in the US because most of them are consumed in Austria. Steinfeder is the lightest style of the three, offering fresh, fruity wines with a maximum alcohol content of 11.5% vol. These wines are typically made from the earliest harvested and also the cheapest grapes in the Wachau. The name Steinfeder comes from the grass usually grown near vineyards, Steinfeder-gras, which is light and fragrant - much like the wines of the same name.
Federspiel: Named after the falcon that often hunts in the Wachau, these wines rank second in the three-tier classification system. They require a minimum must weight of 17 ° KMW and 11.5-12.5% vol. Federspiel wines are strong in character, but the relatively low alcohol content allows for more than one glass.
Smaragd: Smaragd wines are the most desirable wachau wines. They got their name from the emerald lizard of the same name that lives in the Wachau vineyard. They have a minimum of 12.5% vol. And are made from grapes with the highest level of ripeness and sugar concentration. The wines are not very sweet, but they have a rich body in both weight and taste, and are also suitable for aging.
Note: this classification can only be used by vineyards belonging to the Codex Wachau and is only used for white wines grown in this region