New Quality Standards for Austrian Sekt
|October 22, the Day of Austrian Sekt, brought Austria's elegant sparkling wines out for a curtain call once more this year. The introduction earlier this year of the three-tier quality pyramid for Austrian Sekt and the Protected Designation of Origin Sekt geschützte Ursprungsbezeichnung—or Sekt g.U.—manifests the effort of Austrian Sekt producers to communicate clear information to consumers purchasing Austrian Sekt g.U., concerning point of origin as well as a style of certified quality to be anticipated. Klassik, Reserve & Grosse Reserve (Grand Reserve). Among other aspects, these three categories indicate varying lengths of time spent maturing on the lees but never come into competition with one another. The diversity of high-quality Sekt classified in the three categories can be, according to taste, served to perfectly match the most widely varied of occasions.
Sekt with the Meal?
A variety of factors are responsible for the style of a Sekt: the grape variety of the base wine, its geographic origin taking into account soils and climate, the vinification of the base wine, duration of time on the lees after the second fermentation—and not least the dosage, which determines the ultimate sweetness of the finished product. Depending upon the stylistic tone of the Sekt, these wines easily fit more than just the role of aperitif, but also work marvellously as table companions for the entire menu. This has been known in France for some time with regard to Champagne, where its elegance is celebrated as an accompaniment to evening-long programmes of successive dishes with detailed expressions of style and joie de vivre. While Sekt g.U. Klassik presents itself as aromatic and graceful, faithfully mirroring the primary aromas of grape varieties used in the base wine, Sekts from the categories Reserve or Grosse Reserve—vinified from members of the Pinot family or varieties such as Grüner Veltliner, Riesling or Welschriesling—are impressive for their elegant acidic structure, typical aromas of brioche and the finesse of a long finish. A Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve is capable of carrying on a very engaging dialogue with the refined dishes of haute cuisine.
The Ideal Sekt Glass
The past couple centuries have witnessed creation of the most extravagant glassware, designed to dramatically stage the motion of carbon dioxide in sparkling wine in a parade of lively ascending bubbles. But these glasses were not always conducive to developing the aromas and flavour of the sparkling wine. For some time now we know that while coupes and flûtes may indeed be lovely to look at, they are not particularly well suited to inspire the content of the glass to its optimal sensory expression. Working with the famous Austrian glassmaker Riedel, the Austrian Sekt Committee has developed a Sektglas Österreich (Sektglass Austria), one appropriate to the presentation of widely diversified styles of Sekt. Nothing was left to chance—with regard to the thickness of the glass, angle of inclination, and the form of the stem. This glass will be marketed exclusively through the Österreich Wein Institut (Austrian Wine Institute).
Dr Ferdinand Maier Is the Sekt Ambassador for 2016
One day before the Day of Austrian Sekt, the Austrian Sekt Committee (for the third time and in their typical fashion) provided a tasteful prelude. More than thirty first-class Austrian Sekt producers offered not only more than 100 Sekts for tasting in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier, but also provided visitors with an opportunity to pose questions concerning the mysteries of the cellar, and the chance to talk shop a bit. Then, to guard against this enthusiasm being limited to the single day, and to firmly anchor the sparkling concept of Austrian Sekt g.U. in the heads of winelovers throughout the year, the Sekt Committee had some surprises in store. This year for the first time, a Sekt Ambassador has been named: Dr Ferdinand Maier, who as president of the board of trustees of the organisation Kulinarisches Erbe (Culinary Heritage) is in the perfect position to lift his powerful voice for Austrian Sekt g.U. in public, and above all in the Austrian culinary scene. In the forecourt of Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier an artistically designed, larger-than-life muselet was unveiled to set the stage – in the form it takes after a Sekt bottle is opened. New as well was the Sparkling Food Pairing Lounge, designed to excite interest about the mating of Austrian culinary delicacies with Sekt.