This month’s featured region is one that is uniquely its own. Located in the southern portion of Austria’s winemaking areas, Weststeiermark is best known for its wines made from Schilcher, formally know as Blauer Wildbacher, as it dominates the 500 hectares of vine in the region.
Despite it’s relatively rare status, wines made from Schilcher have earned their place in the wine world and having become an internationally accepted. The winemakers of the region have perfected their technique crafting several styles of wines from the grape ranging from crisp rose wines and hearty reds. The regions distinct style of rose has begun to gain momentum in the international community and it appears the reds are not far behind. Still, the relatively small production of this wine means it is one that will likely never see the spotlight – and is to be enjoyed to the fullest upon consumption!
The majority of the vineyards are grown on mountainous slopes – some reaching upwards of 600 meters above sea level creating unique growing conditions. The region’s soil is comprised of gniess, schist and sedimentary rock and the climate is influenced by both the Mediterranean southeastern Europe accounting for the high amount of rainfall and humid conditions.
Weststeiermark is a small, but historical region that is rumored to date back as early as the Illyrain Celts, but its winemaking practices are very much modern – a requirement to tame the once off-putting Schilcher.