Austrian Sekt is All You Need for a Happy New Year

The time has come to say goodbye to 2018 and with that means it’s time to celebrate the good things of the past year and those that lie ahead in the next… what better way to do so than with a big glass of sparkling wine, particularly Austrian sekt.

Only recently has Austrian sekt become a regulated product for Austrian wine, but 2018 marked the first year for the Grosse Reserve which means the quality pyramid can finally showcase all of its potential.

One of the wonderful things about Austrian sekt is that much like the grapes used don’t forgo any of their character and still remain incredibly versatile making them perfect wines for pairing with foods from the beginning to the end of a meal. Any of Austria’s 40 accepted grape varieties can be used in Austrian sekt production, but the most common are traditional sparkling wine varieties -Pinot Noir, Chardonny, Pinot Blanc – as well as Riesling, Gruener Veltliner and even Sauvignon Blanc.

Learn a little more about the pyramid:

LEVEL 1 – KLASSIK

  • grapes harvested in one Austrian federal state. Base wine vinified and second fermentation conducted in Austria
  • released to the consumer not before 22 October of the following year
  • maximum alcohol content of 12.5% indicated on the label
  • minimum 9 months maturation on the lees
  • all methods suitable for sparkling wine production allowed
  • all styles/dosage-levels/colours (white, rosé, red) permitted
  • no indication of origin more specific than Austrian federal state
  • vintage designation permitted
  • grapes processed according to the Austrian Wine Law

LEVEL 2 – RESERVE

  • grapes harvested and pressed in a single Austrian federal state
  • produced by means of traditional bottle fermentation
  • released to the consumer not before 22 October of the second year following the harvest
  • minimum 18 months maturation on the lees
  • level of juice extraction 60%
  • no indication of origin more specific than Austrian federal state
  • no vineyard/commune designation
  • vintage designation permitted
  • Sekt must be finished brut, extra brut or brut nature
  • no blending of red & white wine to yield rosé
  • grapes must be harvested by hand
  • whole-cluster pressing

LEVEL 3 – GROSSE RESERVE (GRAND RESERVE)

  • grapes harvested and pressed in a single municipality
  • released to the consumer not before 22 October of the third year following the harvest
  • minimum of 30 months maturation on the lees
  • made exclusively by means of traditional bottle fermentation
  • level of juice extraction 50%
  • vineyard designation from registered sites permitted
  • vintage designation permitted
  • Sekt must be finished brut, extra brut or brut nature – maximum residual sugar 12 g/l
  • hand-harvesting (maximum packing level 35cm)
  • pressing: basket press or pneumatic press
  • no blending of red & white wine to yield rosé
  • grapes must be pressed in their district of origin, though grape-must may be transported
  • currently no upper or lower limits regarding alcohol content
  • whole cluster pressing
  • Additional differentiation possible at this level, including the special claim “everything from one source”

 

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Categories: wine law

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