Districtus Austriae Controllatus

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DAC winegrowing regions, as of July 2019
Winegrowing regions without DAC status, as of July 2019

Districtus Austriae Controllatus (Latin for Controlled District of Austria), DAC, is a classification for regionally typical quality wine (legal category "Qualitätswein") in Austria. It is loosely modelled on the French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system,[1] and is coupled with a ripeness-based classification scale that shares a lot of nomenclature with the German Prädikat system. Thus, if a label states the winegrowing region followed by the letter combination “DAC” (e.g. Kamptal DAC) we are talking about a regionally typical quality wine. All Austrian quality wines have a round, red and white striped "Banderole" on the capsule, which ensures, that it has been inspected and approved by the government tasting authority and fulfills the requirements for “Qualitätswein”, such as maximum yields per hectare, minimum must weight and alcohol levels and guaranteed origin of the grapes.[2]

DACs are created for specific regions to establish clearly the local stylistic profile, in alignment with the French concept of terroir. Like in AOC, DAC wines are labelled only with the regional name and not the varietal unless more than one varietal is allowed. Wines carrying the name of a grape variety or a vintage year must be composed of at least 85% of that grape or vintage, respectively.[3]

Background[edit]

In the 1985 diethylene glycol wine scandal, several Austrian wineries illegally adulterated their wines using the toxic substance diethylene glycol to make the wines appear sweeter and more full-bodied in the style of late harvest wines.[4] Resulting from the scandal, much stricter wine laws were enacted, and the Austrian wine industry focused production primarily on dry white wines instead of sweet wines.

For these dry wines, the Prädikatswein designations (such as Spätlese or Auslese) shared with the German wine classification system, were seen as less suitable. Just as in Germany, much of the high-end dry wines therefore ended up using the designation "Qualitätswein", which in principle was seen as below the Prädikatswein. In Wachau, regional designations for dry wines were created as a response; Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd. However, several organisations pressed in the 1990s for a different national system to be introduced, with "appellation-style" designations based on geographical origin rather than on must weight, with regulations for each DAC regarding allowed grape varieties and wine styles.

The result was the Districtus Austriae Controllatus system, the framework regulations of which was introduced in 2001.[5] The first DAC region to be approved was Weinviertel DAC, which happened in 2003, with the designation possible to use from the 2002 vintage.

Rules for individual DACs are developed by regional committees which include representation from grape growers and wine producers, wine cooperatives, and wine merchants. The DAC requirements must at least correspond to those for Austrian Qualitätswein and the underlying European Union wine regulations, but the committees are free to set higher standards for a specific DAC. Each wine to be sold as DAC has to be submitted to a tasting committee. It has been common for the DACs to include two quality levels, Klassik for a "standard" DAC wine, and the additional designation Reserve for a DAC wine which fulfills slightly stricter or different requirements.

Effects of DAC introduction[edit]

Once a wine region receives DAC status, the region's name may only be used for wines that fulfill the DAC regulations. Other wines, such as those made from other grape varieties, are no longer allowed to use the region's name. This typically means that name of a larger wine region, of which the DAC forms a part, has to be used instead, e.g. "Niederösterreich" instead of "Weinviertel".

DAC regions[edit]

As of 2019, the Styrian winegrowing regions are the newest DACs, bringing the total to thirteen.[6]

Current Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC) regions
DAC Additional designation First vintage Allowed grape varieties Alcohol level Wine style
Weinviertel DAC[7] (white only) Klassik 2002 Grüner Veltliner Min 12% Aromatic, spicy and peppery; no oak or botrytis notes
Reserve 2009 Min 13% Dry, full-bodied and spicy, oak aging and subtle botrytis notes allowed
Mittelburgenland DAC[8] (red only) Klassik 2005 Blaufränkisch In general min 12.5%, max 13%.

From a single vineyard site: min 13%, max 13.5%.

Fruit-driven, spicy, full-bodied, matured in either stainless steel tanks, oak casks or oak barrels
Reserve Min 13% Fruit-driven, spicy, full-bodied, must be matured in either large oak casks or small oak barrels
Traisental DAC[9] (white only) Klassik 2006 Grüner Veltliner or Riesling Min 12% Grüner Veltliner: aromatic, spicy, no botrytis or oak notes.

Riesling: intensive, full-bodied, aromatic, mineral notes, no botrytis or oak notes

Reserve Min 13%
Kremstal DAC[10] (white only) Klassik 2006 Grüner Veltliner or Riesling Min 12% Grüner Veltliner: fresh, fruit-driven aromas, aromatic, gentle spice, no botrytis or oak notes.

Riesling: aromatic, intensive stone fruit aromas, elegant, mineral notes, no botrytis or oak notes

Reserve Min 13% As above with the following differences: opulent, full-bodied with density and with great length, pronounced varietal character. Subtle botrytis and oak aging aromas are allowed.
Kamptal DAC[11] (white only) Klassik 2008 Grüner Veltliner or Riesling Min 12% Grüner Veltliner: fruit-driven, gentle spice, no botrytis or no oak notes.

Riesling: delicate, aromatic, intensive fruit, elegant, mineral notes, no oak notes, none or only little botrytis

Reserve Min 13% As above with the following differences: opulent, full-bodied with a lingering finish, pronounced regional and varietal character. Subtle botrytis or oak aging notes are allowed.
Leithaberg DAC, white[12] 2009 Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Neuburger, Grüner Veltliner, alone or as a blend Min 12.5%, max 13.5% Regional typicity in taste and bouquet. Fruity, spicy bouquet with primary fruit aromas. Compact, spicy, delicate taste with minerals, little or no use of oak.
Leithaberg DAC, red[12] 2008 Min 85% Blaufränkisch, may be blended with up to 15% St. Laurent, Zweigelt or Pinot noir
Eisenberg DAC[13] (red only) Klassik 2009 Blaufränkisch Min 12.5%, max 13% Fruit-driven, mineral and spicy aromas, little or not notable oak aromas
Reserve 2008 Min 13% Fruity, mineral and spicy notes, full-bodied. (May have oak aromas.)
Neusiedlersee DAC[14] (red only) Klassik 2011 Min 85% Zweigelt Min 12% Typical for the variety, fruity, spicy, aging in oak barrels or stainless steel
Reserve 2010 Min 60% Zweigelt, the rest indigenous grape varieties Min 13% Typical for the variety, fruity, spicy, powerful, aging in traditional large oak casks or small oak barrels (barriques)
Rosalia DAC[15] (red only) Klassik 2017 Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt Min 12% Rich in finesse, fruit-driven aromas, spicy, aromatic
Reserve Min 13%
Rosalia DAC Rosé[16] (rosé only) One or more red Qualitätswein grape varieties Not specified Fresh, fruit-driven aromas, spicy
Vulkanland Steiermark DAC[17] Without a more specific geographical indication 2018 Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them Not specified. Instead: specifications for max. content of residual sugar and market release dates. Fine element of mineral spice, subtle, regionally typical weight and substance. Increasing depth and expression of origin with more specific geographical indications.
with indication of municipality Two (not mandatory) focal varieties per municipality out of: Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them
with indication of single vineyard site (“Ried”) Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them
Südsteiermark DAC[18] Without a more specific geographical indication 2018 Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them Not specified. Instead: specifications for max. content of residual sugar and market release dates. Fine element of mineral spice, subtle, regionally typical weight and substance. Increasing depth and expression of origin with more specific geographical indications.
with indication of municipality Two (not mandatory) focal varieties per municipality out of: Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them
with indication of single vineyard site (“Ried”) Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them
Weststeiermark DAC[19] Without a more specific geographical indication 2018 Blauer Wildbacher (as Schilcher), Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them Not specified. Instead: specifications for max. content of residual sugar and market release dates. Fine element of mineral spice, subtle, regionally typical weight and substance. Increasing depth and expression of origin with more specific geographical indications.
with indication of municipality Two (not mandatory) focal varieties per municipality out of: Blauer Wildbacher (as Schilcher), Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them
with indication of single vineyard site (“Ried”) Blauer Wildbacher (as Schilcher), Welschriesling, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer as well as cuvées made from them

References[edit]

  1. ^ DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) on austrianwine.com, accessed 2019-07-30
  2. ^ "Wine with protected designation of origin". www.austrianwine.com. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
  3. ^ Robinson, Janis (2006). The Oxford Companion to Wine. Oxford University Press. pp. 53, 222. ISBN 0198609906.
  4. ^ Sonntagsblitz, July 10, 2005: Im Wein war nicht nur Wahrheit Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine ("In wine was not only truth") (in German)
  5. ^ Districtus Austriae Controllatus
  6. ^ "DAC regions". www.austrianwine.com. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
  7. ^ Legal requirements for Weinviertel DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  8. ^ Legal requirements for Mittelburgenland DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  9. ^ Legal requirements for Traisental DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  10. ^ Legal requirements for Kremstal DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  11. ^ Legal requirements for Kamptal DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  12. ^ a b Legal requirements for Leithaberg DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  13. ^ Legal requirements for Eisenberg DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  14. ^ Legal requirements for Neusiedlersee DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  15. ^ Legal requirements for Rosalia DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  16. ^ Legal requirements for Rosalia DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  17. ^ Legal requirements for Vulkanland Steiermark DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  18. ^ Legal requirements for Südsteiermark DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07
  19. ^ Legal requirements for Weststeiermark DAC on the Governmental Legal Information System, accessed 2019-30-07