Age of Vines: 35-40 years
Varieties: Blauer Wildbacher
Schilcher is a typical product of the Styrian region, known throughout Austria, and frequently paired with fried chicken, a specialty of the region. It is made from a high acid red grape known as Blauer Wildbacker, and is normally commercially available as a still rosé. Franz has 3.5-hectares of this grape, the local indigenous variety used to make Schilcher wine.
Vinification Method: Hand harvested, first fermentation in stainless steel tank, no filtration. Secondary fermentation happens in bottle with added Champagne yeast. 20 mg/liter of sulfur is added to the wine in tank, and no sulfur added when the wine is disgorged.
Franz Strohmeier is a visionary natural winemaker, working in the Steiermark part of Styria, known as the “Green Heart” of Austria. Franz is a very philosophical winemaker – who is never contented to make wine like the establishments around him – always making the decisions that expresses his terroir in the most natural way. He is constantly tinkering with his 8-hectares of vines to find better and more natural methods. An example most recently, was his use of whey (the liquid part of milk produced in cheese production) to spray his grapes, instead of copper sulfate. He has some portion of his grapes growing wild, without pruning, that produce very small intensely flavored grapes. Franz does not subscribe to any certified biodynamic organization, although many of his methods sound biodynamic to us. If a malady strikes a vine, he often prefers to not treat it. Instead he prefers to forgo those vines, saying the vineyard as a whole gains in health from a little bit of sickness, showing how biodiversity is of chief concern. He makes wines that are like nothing else we have ever tasted, a true display of the unique terroir of this region. Franz makes sparkling wines with great finesse and stability, perfect for every day drinking and pairing with a wide variety of foods. He also makes white wines with subtle amounts of skin contact, the TLZ line, of which we are very excited to feature two fine wines, the Weiss and Sonne that are amazingly crafted zero sulfur wines for special occasions.