The old jewel in the Austrian wine crown
Although the Thermenregion’s global popularity is eclipsed by that of the Wachau, Kamptal, and Kremstal regions, it was here that Austria’s most prized wines were produced historically. The Thermenregion comprises a chain of gentle east-facing slopes with soils of varyingly mixed limestone and clay. (If this topography brings Burgundy to mind, that is no accident: Cistercian monks brought Burgundian varieties to the Thermenregion in the late 12th century, surely sensing a certain kinship with the lands from which they had come.) Wines produced from the indigenous Rotgipfler and Zierfandler varieties were favorites of the Habsburgs, and although the Paris Exposition of 1855 is perhaps better known for sparking Bordeaux’s classification system, it was actually a Rotgipfler from the Thermenregion that took first prize at the fair.