The town of Klosterneuburg always puzzled me by being totally associated with wine – its monastery said to be the oldest wine estate in Austria – and not having any good Heurigers. True, there was the Nierscher on its outskirts – now sadly closed – and the Trat-Wiessner is OK though far from great. Still, one would have expected more from a place considering itself a wine paradise.
As it turns out, I did not know where to look. For years and years, I somehow considered the monastery and the nearby square by the Kierling train station to be the center of the town. I was completely wrong: the actual center, including the city hall, is a few meters above the monastery. A short walk uphill from the city hall, and the vineyards are starting, with the impressive glass-walled Weingut Kerbl overlooking the town itself, the Bisamberg across the Danube and (fortunately, just a little bit) the town’s cemetery.
Kerbl obviously positions itself as the wine-drinking place of Klosterneuburg, and it’s truly very nice. Had I been blessed with a slightly better weather, I would have definitely stayed at the tavern’s spacious terrace with an amazing view. But even inside, the place combines modern design with coziness, and even with all the tables occupied, it feels comfortable to stay for a couple of hours drinking wine and reading a book until the letters become blurry and the story incomprehensible.
Kerbl’s menu, predictably, contains a couple of “sophisticated” dishes like roast beef and chicken liver parfait, but all the Heuriger classics are there, too. Their Weinbergjause, despite being served on a plate instead of a wooden board, is a pretty standard Brettljause on its own right. The Schweinsbraten, Surbraten, Geselchtes, Speck, Blunzen, cheese and paprika-onion spread are of good quality, and the bread (available at extra charge, for some reason) is fresh. There was a bit too much of Blunzen for my liking, the cheese could have been tastier, and the Speck would have benefited from the absence of cartilage, but in general the dish was better than average. Considering the ambiance, the whole experience was much better than average, and a comeback, when the weather is nicer, is all but guaranteed.
Better still, on my way downhill from Kerbl to Weidling I must have passed at least four other Heurigers. Klosterneuburg is certainly a better place than I had thought.