Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at Buschenschaenke Kitzeckmueller in Kitzeck, Austria
We had a wonderful evening with Gerhard Wohlmuth sen. at the Panorama Restaurant/Hotel Steierland in Kitzeck, where we enjoyed the delicious food of co-owner and Chef Ruth Stelzer. The next day, we were planning to go to Munich, when the sun woke us up and announced a beautiful day. No way to leave the Steiermark. Instead, we visited a couple of winemakers we knew from the time when we used lived in Zagreb, Croatia, like Gebrueder Polz and Sattlerhof, only to realize that they were closed on Sundays. But we drove by, were astonished how things had developed since the mid 1990s. Gebrueder Polz, for example, was a rustic wine tavern near the border post Spielberg (Austria to Slovenia), where we would stop and have a last drink before going to Zagreb. Well, Polz is now a huge operation, very hipp, with a modern tasting room.
Picture: Christian and Annette Schiller with Winemaker Gerhard Wohlmuth sen. at the Panorama Restaurant/Hotel Steierland in Kitzeck
What we also enjoyed that day, was a long and very relaxing luncheon at the Buschenschaenke Kitzeckmueller in Kitzeck. Buschenschaenke, literally meaning "bar in the bush", are rustic localities typically serving only their own wines and a limited selection of food (mainly dark bread, cheese, ham and spreads).
Wine Producing Country Austria
Austria has about 50.000 hectares of vineyard, equivalent to about half of Germany’s total vineyard area and one fifth of France’s vineyard area. In terms of world output, Austria’s vineyard area accounts for 0.7 % of the total. Almost all of it in the east of the country. “In the west we ski, in the east we make wine”, says Willi Klinger, head of Austrian Marketing Board. About 70 % of the production is white wine and 30% red wine. About 75 percent of Austria’s production is consumed in Austria and 25 percent is exported.
Austrian wine culture is ancient; people have been producing wine in Austria for 4000 years. But everything changed in 1985, when Austria was rocked by the “antifreeze wine scandal”. Some vintners were caught illicitly sweetening their products with glycol. As a result, the market for Austrian wine, especially the semi-sweet styles then in favor, evaporated overnight. Yet the scandal initiated a revolution that has propelled Austrian wines on to the world stage. It led to a broad rethink, with an emphasis on higher-quality production and innovation that soon became noticed. Young winemakers, drawn by the new emphasis on quality over quantity, brought cutting-edge techniques and farsightedness to vineyards and cellars, revolutionizing both.
Suedsteiermark - a lovely area. Millions of years ago, large parts of Styria were under water. Only a few mountain peaks rose above the prehistoric sea. The Kitzeck Mountain, which boasts most of the Wohlmuth vineyards on breathtakingly steep slopes, belongs to some of the oldest geological formations. Here, the vines thrive on paleozoic schist in optimum southern exposures. It is exactly these special soils which impart that unique and distinctive character to the wines.
Pictures: Views of Suedsteiermark from Buschenschaenke Kitzeckmueller in Kitzeck, Austria
South Styria is influenced by Mediterranean climate. Gerhard sen. said: “The interplay of mild weather conditions induced by the southern location with cool breezes coming in from the Alps after sunset produces large temperature differences between day and night. This factor is crucial to the development of intense aromas and flavors in the grapes.”
The wine-growing village of Kitzeck is the highest altitude wine-growing community in Central Europe. It is uniquely situated high upon the hills and on a clear day it offers a beautiful view of the far stretching countryside below. The local church, dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, was built between 1640 and 1644.
Pictures: Our Lady of Sorrows
Kitzeckmueller is at the same time a guest quarter, a winery and a Buschenschanke. It is owned and run by Franz-Karl und Andrea Temmel – Kitzeckmüller. Franz-Karl was waiting on us but refused to have his picture taken with us. So, I do not have the usual picture with him and me. He did not talk much to us although I tried to involve him in a conversation. Nevertheless, the wines, the food, the atmosphere and last but not least the view were fantastic.
Guest Quarter: The guest house has 2 Rooms, 1 Apartment and 1 Luxury Apartment. We did not stay there but it looked very cozy from the outside.
Picture: Guestquarter Kitzeckmueller in Kitzeck
Weingut Kitzeckmueller: Weingut Kitzeckmueller is one of the oldest in the region. It was built in 1545 by monks. In the 18th century in the wake of secularization by Emperor Joseph II, it was bought by the Temmel family. Today, Franz-Karl Temmel is the owner and winemaker (8th generation). The vineyard area is 4 hectares. Production amounts to 1000 cases, of which 80% is white wine and 20% red wine. All the wine is sold directly to customers on the premise, most of it in the Buschenschaenke.
Buschenschaenke: What awaits you is good food and wine. You have a choice between indoors and outdoors. We stayed outside to enjoy the fresh air and the fantastic view of the surrounding area. We had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and some charcutterie and cheese. It was a dream!
Picture: Lunch at Buschenschaenke Kitzeckmueller in Kitzeck
Mittwoch bis Freitag ab 16 Uhr
Samstag, Sonntag und Feiertag ab 14 Uhr
Montag und Dienstag Ruhetag
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