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Steiermark reaches for the stars

The latest high points: mature wines with depth


What they have accomplished most certainly demands admiration. The STK wine estates have been spearheading development in the Steiermark’s wine industry now for twenty-five years. First, they made Styrian wines known at home & abroad, propelling them into becoming sales leaders, and now they are boosting the finest single-vineyard wines into the international top class. Their shared credo: Great wines need time. To demonstrate this, the twelve estates convened in Vienna to present rarities from four decades; hundreds of guests greatly impressed with the wines.

The winegrowers’ association STK (Steirischen Terroir- und Klassikweingütern): Frauwallner, Gross, Lackner-Tinnacher, Maitz, Neumeister, Polz, E. Sabathi, H. Sabathi, Sattlerhof, Tement, Winkler-Hermaden and Wohlmuth © Anna Stöcher

It’s no coincidence that international wine critics have been enthusiastic over the past few weeks: the 2017 Riedenweine – from Erste Lage & Grosse Lage vineyard sites – were recently released to the market, with better ratings than ever before. Stephan Reinhardt from Robert Parker Wine Advocate made the recommendation: ‘If you ever have in mind to explore the wines of Styria, you should definitely start with the 2017’s, which are among the greatest white wines I have ever tasted from Austria. The wines are perfectly clear, ripe and concentrated […] They have a lot of charm and are beautifully balanced, with enormous terroir expression’.

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A long & patient building process
The acclaimed 2017 vintage would not be what it is, had the Steiermark’s winegrowers not devoted decades to intense focus upon the distinguishing & dynamic characteristics of their vineyards. What they noticed time & again was the fact that the typicity of origin inherent in the wines becomes more & more pronounced with years in the cellar, the wines increasingly complex and their finesse continually more impressive. ‘A few years of bottle aging are ideal for great wines’, says Katharina Tinnacher, spokesperson for the STK winegrowers. ‘Maturity reveals complexity, multidimensional character & depth, especially in terroir-driven single-vineyard wines’.

In order to give wine lovers the opportunity to experience the complexity of matured wines, the STK estates organised a tasting of rarities in Vienna. The twelve estates presented more than ninety wines, spanning four decades: Frauwallner, Gross, Lackner-Tinnacher, Maitz, Neumeister, Polz, E. Sabathi, H. Sabathi, Sattlerhof, Tement, Winkler-Hermaden & Wohlmuth. Each estate chose two top wines and showed them in depth, reaching back over the years. Some 300 guests took advantage of this precious opportunity to taste Styrian rarities & archive wines at the Vienna Stock Exchange. Guests dedicated themselves with great interest & attentiveness to these wines from the Steiermark, discussing the different aspects, personalities & potential of the vineyards with the growers attending.