The Day of Austrian Sekt 2015 brought with it a cause for celebration. The three levels of the Austrian Sekt quality-pyramid are to be henceforth identified with the designations Klassik, Reserve and Große Reserve (Grand Reserve). With this comes not only the guarantee that – in purchasing an Austrian Sekt with protected designation of origin – the consumer is receiving a wine with a documented pedigree, but also official assurance that the most stringent standards have been observed during production. In this process, the level of quality will be raised appreciably. And if Austria’s wines have attracted more and more international attention in the last couple decades by virtue of their typicity and distinctive nature, Sekt from Austria has set itself a steady course that promises continued success in the future.
Austrian Sekt with Protected Provenance – where origins offer a guarantee of quality
After concluding a two-year process of quality calibrations, Austria’s Sekt producers have agreed on a stringent regulatory code – no easy fix, since it was necessary to acknowledge the interests of the big Sekt houses as well as those of individual, small artisanal producers. A new legal basis for high-quality Austrian Sekt – analogous to that of Qualitätswein – has been created by the Austrian Sekt Commission and a committee of Sekt-producing wine-growers, working together with the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, experts of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce and experts from the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture. Out of the former floodtide of undistinguished sparkling wine has evolved Austrian Sekt with Protected Provenance. These are wines capable of telling the tale of their origins, regardless of whether they are stamped with the freshness of Poysdorf or the minerality of Langelois, the Pannonian depth of Gols or the vivid aromatics of Gamlitz – there are distinctive sparkling characters to be found in all of Austria’s wine-growing regions. And our Sekt is ready to launch itself upon a great career.
The first level Klassik defines strict minimum requirements and guarantees above all that the foundational grape material has been grown in one Austrian federal state and that the Sekt has been kept for the minimum maturing time of nine months on the lees. For the level Reserve and above, only sparkling wine that have been produced by means of the traditional method (second fermentation in the bottle sold to the consumer) are permitted. The grapes and the base wines must have been grown and produced in one Austrian federal state, and an interval of at least eighteen months maturing on the lees is prescribed. For the highest level of elite bottle-fermented Sekt – Große Reserve – the grapes must have been harvested and pressed in a single wine-growing community, bearing its name as a designation (and that of a single vineyard, if applicable). After a minimum period of thirty months fermentation and maturing in the bottle, Sekt in this category will not be released to the market until a minimum of three years after the harvest. The individual ‘levels’ of the pyramid include further standards designed to ensure quality, governing work in the vineyards, the harvest, picking by hand, height of packing, level of yield and gentle pressing. Criteria for the base wines used in making Sekt as well as for inspection and monitoring of quality standards will be developed in depth and determined over the next few months.
The team of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board is dedicated to continuing its energetic support of the upswing in quality of Austrian Sekt, and is quite pleased with this exciting success story. So on the Day of Austrian Sekt 2015 we are proud to raise our glasses and pop the corks!