Kamptal is a region in Niederösterreich (‘Lower Austria’) in Austria whose centre is Langenlois, the country’s largest (and arguably most renowned) wine producing town. Kamptal means Kamp Valley after the river which flows directly through the region.
Climate: Johannes Hirsch of Weingut Hirsch says the Kamptal region ‘lies at some 200–300 metres above sea level [and] enjoys a climate favoured by its southern and southeastern exposure, influenced as well by the nearby Danube River on one side and the effects of the cold and windy Waldviertel on the other. This results in hot days during the summer as well as long and sunny periods in the autumn, when warm Pannonian air currents coming from the southeast are quite noticeable. They are met by cool winds flowing in from the raw northwest, making for cool nights even in the summertime. These contrasts are ideal for growing thick-skinned berries, shaping fine and fruity aromas and delivering plentiful vibrant acidity. At the same time, the barrier of the Manhartsberg (of Manhartsberger oak fame) and the tall forests of the upper Kamptal protect the region from any biting cold. The long vegetation period lasts well into late autumn, which gives the grapes ample opportunity to ripen fully.’
Geology: The south-facing wine growing area includes rocks that on the basis of their geological characters are attributed to the Variscan mountain range and the Molasse Zone. The Molasse Zone shows a marine deveopment, from a sea called Paratethys by geologists, and a river landscape, which is characterized by the overlapping areas of influence of three river systems: the Kamp, Traisen and Danube rivers.
In the north, diverse and predominantly acidic crystalline consolidated rocks dominate that also have been noted in the Wachau and the Kremstal areas. A rock package that is quite unique in Austria occurs within a wedge at the Heiligenstein area: in this tectonic rift valley the first erosion products of the former high mountain range of the Bohemian Massif are found. They consist of conglomerates, sandstones, arkoses (red, feldspathic sandstones) and shales. The sediments were deposited before 320 to 250 million years ago mainly under arid-hot climatic conditions as a result of flash floods directed from the ancient mountains onto the foreland. A special feature worth noting is the occurrence of rhyolite pebbles within the conglomerate that prove the existence of volcanic eruptions.
In the Kamp Valley glacially derived loess deposits are again the most prevalent wine-growing rock.
Wine styles: Effective from the 2008 vintage is the the Kamptal DAC which defines wines made from Grüner Veltliner or Riesling and in two styles, a classic-styled medium-bodied wine and a rich dry Reserve style.
Vineyard area: 2018 3,907 hectares under vine (Wines of Austria).
No certification: Weingut Matthias Warnung.
Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Wines of Austria