Styria

Styria’s lovely landscape frequently evokes comparison with Tuscany. And it certainly offers one of the most beautiful wine-happy environments to be seen anywhere. Steiermark is comprised of three subregions, Southern Styria (Südsteiermark), Southeastern Styria (Südoststeiermark) and Weststeiermark (Western Styria). Untersteiermark (Lower Styria) lies south of the border in the sovereign state of Slovenia.

In Southeastern Styria, the volcanic hillsides roll out some 3300 acres of vines, mostly white varieties like the famous Sauvignon Blanc, light and refreshing—also chardonnay (light and refreshing as well, not much oak). These wines are all characterized by a fine mineral spice that offers delicacy to complement their vibrant character.

The wildly romantic landscape of Southern Styria offers nearly 5000 acres under the vine—planted in part on precipitous slopes in a wide variety of soils ranging from sand and slate to limestony marls. Again, Sauvignon Blanc leads the way, although brilliant wines from Muscat and Traminer also find their way to us here in America.

Weststeiermark has some 1100 acres planted to vines—almost exclusively devoted to a single variety, the Blauer Wildbacher. Of uncertain parentage, this little acid-factory is famous for yielding a wine called Schilcher—an acquired taste than some folks cannot live without. Most Schilcher is consumed within the domestic confines of Styria and often at one of the many "Buschenschank" places, the Styrian equivalent to Vienna's "Heuriger", where locals congregate to drink wine and eat small dishes.

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