After years of behind-the-scenes preparation, the Austrian Sekt Gala on 22 October marks a new milestone in Austria’s Sekt history: the highest level of Austrian sparkling wine, Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve, will be presented for the first time. With this, Austria will take its place conclusively among the ranks of top sparkling wine producers.
Protected origin, certified quality
Based on a 175-year-old tradition of sparkling wine production, Austrian Sekt producers christened a new elite category of native sparkling wine in 2015: Austrian Sekt with a protected designation of origin – in short, Sekt g.U. (g.U. is an abbreviation of “geschütze Ursprungsbezeichnung” = protected designation of origin). Strict regulations regarding origin, harvesting and production guarantee the highest quality on the three levels Klassik, Reserve and Grosse Reserve (Grande Reserve). As an unmistakable seal of quality, every bottle of Sekt g.U. carries a red-white-red banderole on the capsule.
The keystone to the quality pyramid
After the Klassik and Reserve categories were released to the market in 2017 (with nine or eighteen months respectively spent maturing) Austrian Sekt will debut its crowning glory on 22 October, the day of Austrian Sekt: Grosse Reserve takes the stage. The strictest quality criteria – measuring up to the highest standards of international first-class sparkling wines such as Champagne and Franciacorta – guarantee enjoyment at the highest level. The grapes must come from a single municipality or even a single vineyard (“Ried” in Austria), be harvested exclusively by hand, and processed according to the traditional method of bottle fermentation. Afterwards, the Sekt must be matured on the lees for at least thirty months. Other standards that must be met govern specified work in the vineyard, gentle pressing and a yield of fifty per cent. Additionally, fair pricing measured by international comparisons enhances the attractiveness of these sparkling Austrian treasures.
Far more than just an aperitif
Sparkling wines of this quality level offer outstanding enjoyment in a variety of contexts. In addition to its undoubted suitability as a solo performer, Sekt frequently also proves an excellent companion to many dishes, because the carbon dioxide acts as a natural aromatic amplifier. Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve, for example, sets the scene in an ideal way for light meat, poultry and rice dishes with its full-bodied but extremely elegant structure. Opulent fish dishes such as smoked salmon or spicier vegetable dishes also benefit from the brioche aromas of the Sekt, which gracefully lead into a long and elegant finish.