We find ourselves now deep in the Spitzer Graben, the valley where the Spitzerbach runs, which is too frequently bypassed by tourists enjoying an outing on or along the Danube.
Josef Högl, the best-known winegrower in the valley, calls it for this reason “the forgotten Wachau.”
Högl adds with a wry smile, “Everybody goes up and down the river or the highway, but only a few folks get lost and find their way to us.”
Some 100 hectares, a solid third of Spitz’s total plantings, are located in the Graben, and this expanse of terraces spreads itself out quite impressively on the hillsides.
Since the glen runs East-West from Spitz to Viessling, the vineyards enjoy a full South-Southwest exposure.
Josef Högl continues, “The Spitzer Graben is different from the rest of the Wachau. Not too far away from the Danube, but still different.” It is the coolest terroir in the noble district.
Here there is very little wind: the easterly breezes don’t make it into the Graben, and the frequently mentioned mountain-winds from Jauerling and the Waldviertel are clearly noticeable only in summer. The sun warms this small valley quite readily, but does so without drying things out.
The grapes require a lot of time to ripen, which makes for particular and finely-developed aromatics. In the warmer years, the cool nature of the place is in no way a disadvantage—the vines can regenerate themselves better from the heat-stress of the day.