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Geprägt von Eiszeiten, Wind und Donau.

“­We find the most diverse soils here within a very small area.”

– Michael Malat

How does a vineyard shape the wine?

The vineyard is the smallest unit of a wine’s origin and has a decisive influence on its character.


What defines a vineyard? Not just the soil itself, but the special interplay between subsoil, slope orientation, sun and rainfall. Even five kilometres can make a big difference.

All Malat vineyards are within a few kilometers of each other, yet they are extremely varied. This is reflected clearly in the aromas and flavours of the village wines as well as in the high diversity of the range.


So this is what we mean when we talk about “terroir” – French for soil. Also “Riede” is a common name for a vineyard.

Erste Lage 1ÖTW

Ried Gottschelle:
a uniquely thick, powerful loess vineyard with a layer of Old Danube

It came to an end 10,000 years ago: the last ice age. Ice sheets over Europe, up to three kilometres thick.


When the ice melted and the soils were exposed again, there was no longer any protective vegetation. That allowed winds to blow the fine particles from the bare river meadows, mountain areas and the glacier forelands over stretches of land, layer by layer. That is the history of the formation of loess soils.


Loess provides ideal conditions for plants. One metre stores up to 380 litres of water. It is easy for rooting, so it allows – especially for vines, which naturally want to root deeply –  good access to its history: the stored nutrients and minerals from all eras preserved in its layers.


The Gottschelle is the only Kremstal region vineyard lying south of the Danube that consists so massively of loess. It is up to ten metres thick and has different sections, each of which represents a new ice age. In the Gottschelle, there is also Urdonau (Old Danube) gravel, which accounts for the unmistakable minerality of the wines grown here.

The high lime content produces a very minerally taste with a lot of creamy fruit and hints of exotic aromas. The vineyard was first mentioned in 1341 as “Gotschalich”, which goes back to the word “Götsche” and refers to an abrupt slope.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Gottschelle 1ÖTW Erste Lage Kremstal DAC

Erste Lage 1ÖTW

Ried Steinbühel:

first documented in 1322

The primary rock soil is practically exposed here, covered only by a very small layer of humus. Steinbühel is also our driest vineyard, making the vines susceptible to drought stress in very hot years. But it also brings very focused, puristic and tightly meshed wines.


Riesling feels particularly at home in this higher altitude site. With a moderate sugar level, it reaches high physiological ripeness. The result is a fine, never-lush Riesling; tightly woven with ripe and animating acidity.


First mentioned in a document in 1322, the Steinbühel is distinguished today as the first vineyard to belong to the Austrian Traditionsweingüter.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Steinbühel 1ÖTW Erste Lage Kremstal DAC

Erste Lage 1ÖTW

Ried Silberbichl:
Of glitter and mica

The mica schist in the soil, which glistens on the surface in the evening sun, gave this site its name – which was first mentioned in a document in 1562. The soils here are somewhat more fertile than those of the Steinbühel; and with that, the grapes reach a higher sugar ripeness.


Situated on a broad terrace of the Danube’s old valley floor, the subsoil features sandy layers of Danube gravel, while loess and loam with mixtures of glittering mica are above it.


The vines, which are more than 30 years old, produce powerful wines with a creamy-smooth texture – and that never become broad or lush.


Exciting for a comparison tasting: Riesling from the Steinbühel and the Silberbichl.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Silberbichl 1ÖTW Erste Lage Kremstal DAC

Erste Lage 1ÖTW

Ried Pfaffenberg:
Prestigious gneiss vineyard

Located on the north side of the Danube, the terraced Pfaffenberg vineyard is steep and southeast-facing – which means it’s exposed to strong wind and temperature extremes.


This is not the only reason why the Pfaffenberg vineyard is one of the most prestigious in the Kremstal. It was first mentioned in a document as early as 1450, and a document from the 17th century names the vineyard “Pfoffenberg”. The potential of the vineyard was recognised early on by local church members who began growing grapes here.


Gföhler Gneis, the parent rock frequently found in the Danube region, is crystalline and lends to a rather special dark fruit character that can probably be best described as “flinty” – and perfectly suited for Riesling.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Pfaffenberg 1ÖTW – Riesling

Classified vineyard

Ried Höhlgraben:
Weathered stone and gravel

Blasted by frost and water, crushed over millions of years – if you talk about weathering, there are elemental forces, periods and powers behind it.


Even granite turns to dust eventually – if enough time is involved. The minerals that dissolve from the stone in the process are dispersed; influences such as wind, weather and strong temperature contrasts all play a major role.


Between the Steinbühel and Gottschelle, in the Höhlgraben, there is a mixture of weathered stone and gravel soils along with the deposits from the Old Danube. Over this is a loess layer, 20 to 40 centimetres thick.


Since Malat was established in 1722, the winery has been cultivating the Höhlgraben vineyard. Today, there are many parcels with a variety of Veltliner clones and vines of different ages.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Höhlgraben Kremstal DAC

Classified vineyard

Ried Leukuschberg:
Crystalline, fine and filigree

The site was first mentioned in 1562 as “Leigkhersperg”, which stands for a bare patch of land caused by a landslide. So, a landslide that exposed this slope could be the origin of Leukuschberg vineyard name.


Today, the mixture of loess and an upper layer very rich in humus is highly beneficial for the Grüner Veltliner vines that Malat planted here – and to the first vintage he bottled in 2019. Still a young Malat vineyard, yes, but one with so much potential for great wines – today and in the near future.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Leukuschberg Kremstal Grüner Veltliner

Classified vineyard

Ried Am Zaum:

In transition

A “Zaum”, or bridle, typically refers to a small edge of the terrain. The transition between flat and steep. This vineyard takes its name as an offshoot of the Silberbichl site.


The Zaum is exactly where the Silberbichl becomes flat.


The transition is particularly exciting because mica schist from the Silberbichl is also present. In the plain, however, alluvial soil from the Danube predominates. The humus-rich upper layer is supported by gravel, providing the soil with enough permeability to prevent waterlogging.


These are ideal conditions for thin-skinned Burgundy varieties.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Am Zaum Pinot Blanc “sur lie”

Classified vineyard

Ried Hochrain:

High minerality

Located between the Höhlgraben and Satzen, the “rain” was the original name for a border strip of land between two fields. This was once located above the village of Palt – and which led to the naming of the vineyard – Hochrain – a name that has remained unchanged to this day.


The powerful layers of loess, which were blown in towards the end of the last ice age, have the greatest influence on this vineyard; the vines thrive in the nicely loose, chalky soil that gives the wine its distinctive minerality and saltiness.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Hochrain Chardonnay

Classified vineyard

Ried Zistel:
The Danube and the Old Danube – in very close proximity

Fine alluvial material lying on sandy gravels –  deposited by the Danube river on its natural valley floor over the last 25,000 years, right up to today. When the Danube still had its natural course, the surface areas around the Zistel vineyard were actually buffers against floods. Today, the Zistel is the vineyard with the shortest distance to the Danube.


The proximity to water is also reflected in the origin of the name. “Zisstl” is an archaic name for a water pond or a cistern – an underground walled cavity for collecting and storing water.


The calcareous layers of this vineyard not only store water, but also provide a complex tension of aromas and flavours, especially in combination with the later ageing of the Pinot Gris in small acacia barrels.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Zistel Pinot Gris

Classified vineyard

Ried Satzen:
awakens near and distant passions – at the same time

Even the first documented references from the 15th century indicate that this vineyard was extremely suitable for special viticulture: “Setzen” – a name that could be understood as a call.


Today, Malat grows both the local St. Laurent and the international Pinot Noir here. Predestined for Burgundy, the humus-rich upper layers provide a generous supply of nutrients for the vines. The quartz content and chalky gravel layers of the Old Danube underpin the sensitive Burgundy grapes with a balanced minerality. At the same time, the loose soil prevents moisture from too much accumulation, thus protecting against rot.

As a Pinot Noir that is often compared to Burgundy. As a local St. Laurent, the Austrian interpretation of Burgundy. Two specialities from one vineyard: Ried Satzen.


Wine from this vineyard:

Ried Satzen Pinot Noir

Ried Satzen St. Laurent

You can order the full variety of products from all Malat vineyards conveniently and directly, in the Malat-Shop »