JUST across from Bratislava, on the opposite bank of the Danube River, the Carnuntum region of Austria spreads across the nearby landscape. The Carnuntum Experience festival is an excellent opportunity to get to know this region better, to taste its local wines and delicacies as well as to attend cultural performances or sports competitions. Its 4th festival takes place between August 14 and 30.
“We are proud that through our festival we can satisfy the desires of the public: to discover the beauties of this serene region and to feel in harmony with its amazing nature, which is like balm to people’s souls,” said Robert Payr, the president of winemakers association in the Carnuntum region which initiated the festival.
The festival has gradually grown into the main annual event of the region with all important local institutions participating in the festival: Archaeological Park Carnuntum, Culture Fabric in Hainburg, baroque Schloss Hoff castle, nature park Donau Auen, area restaurants, viticulturists and wine makers, artists as well as musicians. Altogether, there will be 70 different events this year.
“This interconnection is a key to our success,” Bernhard Schröder, the executive director of the tourist region Donau Niederösterreich, explained.
The festival will open with the White Wine Fashion party taking place in a quarry in Bad Deutsch-Altenburg on August 14 and close with Rubin Carnuntum in Schloss Hoff castle on August 30.
The name Carnuntum actually refers to a Roman colony that was located in what is now Petronell-Bad Deutsch Altenburg. Numerous archaeological excavations in this area have discovered an ancient amphitheatre and temple ruins that date back to the time when the first grapevines were planted. Wine has been produced here ever since.
Today, Carnuntum is one of Austria’s smallest wine growing areas. With 1,000 hectares under cultivation, it represents only two percent of Austria’s vineyards. There are three hill-side locations devoted to viticulture: the Leithagebirge, the Arbesthaler Hügelland and the Hundsheim Berge. The stony chalk and loess together with the climatic influences of the nearby Pannonian plain and the Neusiedlersee, Lake Neusiedl, provide ideal conditions for grape growing.
From the very beginning, the wineries of Carnuntum decided to create brands reflecting the varietals of the region. In 1987, the white wine Primus Carnuntum was launched.
Primus Carnuntum is a white kabinett wine, produced mainly from the region’s traditional Grüner Veltliner grapes, but also as a blend of Grüner Veltliner with other coveted varietals. Winemakers must follow strict requirements established for producing this wine: at least 200 kilograms of grapes and a minimum must weight of 16° KMW (Klosterneuburger Mostwaage). Rigorous quantity control and jury tastings ensure high quality standards for this wine. Through the use of the Grüner Veltliner grape and proper maturation, Primus Carnuntum maintains its youthful, fresh ripeness until the next vintage is ready.
The region introduced a red variety, Rubin Carnuntum, in 1992 and it also must meet strict requirements – such as a minimum weight of 18° KMW and only grape varietals typical of the region – Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. Most of the Rubin wines are of a single varietal and reveal a soft, fruity aromas and velvety tannins. Only those wines that pass rigorous quality controls and the demanding palates of a tasting jury are given official permission to be named Rubin Carnuntum. In 2008, 41 wines were permitted to bear the label Rubin Carnuntum 2007.
For more information about the Carnuntum Experience festival, go to www.carnuntum-experience.com