From Vienna we spent one day exploring the region along the Danube River to the west. We drove to Dürstein in the Wachau wine-growing region — only 12 miles (19.3 km) long — and took a river cruise on one of the scheduled public boats to the west to Spitz, which marks the end of the Wachau. We had arranged for a driver to pick us up there and take us back to the east to explore a little and then arrive at the Jamek estate in Joching for a wine tasting and luncheon on their beautiful terrace, overlooking the Jamek vineyards. It is one of the leading estates in the Wachau region that now has 232 wineries in Austria’s smallest wine region. Wines have been produced in the area since the Romans, and the monasteries at the beginning of the 10th century constructed many of the terraces used to plant the vineyards, making the Wachau an historic cultural landscape.
“The Wachua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and region of natural beauty, and lies in the Danube valley between the towns of Melk and Krems. The wine grape varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling prevail on 1,344 hectares, partly on very steep-inclined terraces. The best vineyard sites produce some of the best white wine in the world with decades of aging potential… The Wachau is one of Austria’s most exciting and fascinating wine regions. Over millions of years, the Danube has gorged its winding waterway through the consolidated gneiss and amphibolite. The crystalline rock soils on steep terraces produce outstanding Rieslings. During the Ice Age vegetation cover was poor and, prevailing winds carried drifting sand that settled in the lee of the east-facing crystalline hillsides, resulting in layers of loess. This is where great, opulent and expressive Grüner Veltliner is cultivated. The extremely diverse geological terrain, coupled with the construction of terraces in the best aspects, and the cultivation of vines on these steep inclines by the Bavarian monasteries during the Middle Ages, has resulted in a spectacular and unique Wachau landscape.” – www.austrianwine.com
“Embedded in the romantic landscape of the Wachau region [in Joching] and right next to the Danube [River], the classic Jamek estate is surrounded by vineyards and a few apricot trees. A beautiful place, just perfect for enjoying. A competent team of committed people fulfills every culinary desire. This is how the Jamek estate became an institution which enjoys great popularity in Austria and abroad – and for many years now… Built under the name “Hotel Wachau” in 1912, this estate represents the epitome of successful hospitality. Four generations, whose greatest desire has always been to please visitors to the Wachau region by offering the highest possible quality… Delicious wines and fine food have a long tradition in the Jamek estate. The family is committed to producing legendary wines such as the Riesling from the famous single vineyard Klaus. Traditional practices are combined with modern methods in the winery. Modern technology is a prerequisite for careful vinification, but the traditional ageing in wooden barrels makes the wines attractive… Our main grape variety is Riesling, which is seconded by Grüner Veltliner. We also cultivate some Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Chardonnay, and Gelber Muskateller, and naturally some red varieties as well: Zweigelt and Spätburgunder (Pinor Noir). The three quality categories of the Wachau region: 1) Steinfeder: Light and fragrant – maximum of 11% alcohol, 2) Federspiel: Medium bodies Kabinett wines — maximum of 12.5% alcohol, and 3) Smaragd: The most full-bodied wines – at least 12.5% alcohol.” – Jamek estate brochure
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