Styria is famous for its vibrant world-class Sauvignon Blancs, refreshing Schilcher as well as light and fruity Muskatellers. Local winemakers also successfully cultivate Chardonnay (called Morillon locally), Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Still, while this is one of the most charming wine landscapes in Europe, grape growing here is truly challenging, because most of the vineyards lace steep slopes.
The three designated Styrian wine-growing regions all offer their own local speciality, and are situated in the south of the federal state of Steiermark. Towards the west, the spicy Schilcher Rosé dominates, a variety that truly expresses its terroir amongst the unique and picturesque undulating hills. In the Sausal region and along the Südsteirischen Weinstraße, the idyllic wine road that meanders through the vineyards, the aromatic Sauvignon Blanc and Gelber Muskateller varietals reign, and towards the south-eastern region, known as the Vulkanland for its remains of volanic activity, the trio of aromatic varieties is rounded off with Traminer, a real treat for connoisseurs.
The most abundant variety is the Welschriesling, with is bouquet of green apple, and is a refreshing, quaffable style of wine with far more fans than wine critics care to consider. The Pinot varieties offer more complex wines with a fuller body, particularly the Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) that produces a refined, mineral-rich wine from the shell-limestone soils. Likewise, Chardonnay (also known here as Morillon) and Grauburgunder (Ruländer, Pinot Gris) elegantly combines freshness with weight and body, and both can develop beautifully with bottle age. Each new vintage is celebrated with a light-bodied young wine called the 'Junker', which debuts during the first week of November. In the Spring following the harvest, the traditionally dry 'Klassik' wines, denoting those wines displaying varietal character and no oak aging, are released. One needs to have patience for the dry, full-bodied, 'Lagen' wines, that are usually produced from very ripe grapes from established single-vineyards. Styrian producers are maturing these wines gently and naturally, so that the result is a genuine and distinctive, world class, typically Styrian style.