Franz & Christine Strohmeier

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.

 

www.strohmeier.at



Schilcher Frizzante — Back to the top

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 an indigenous red grape with high acidity known as Blauer Wildbacher and is most widely made as a still rosé – which Franz makes as well, under the name Lysrød (see below).

Grapes: Blauer Wildbacher

Vineyard: Lestein. Steep slope with loamy Opok soil close to Franz’s house, minimally pruned.

Making of: the grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed, then spend 4 hours on skins. After soft pressing, the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations happen spontaneously in wooden barrels, where the wine then rests for 6 months. Secondary fermentation happens in bottles with added yeast and sugar, for a couple of months. No fining, no filtration.

Personality: vivid, refreshing, invigorating.. you name it! Each sip of this light pink sparkler is like a splash of well-chilled fruit juice, with an electrifying acidic backbone. We’re addicted. In case you don’t finish the bottle on its own (doubt it), Schill Frizz is perfect with all kinds of friend dishes where its pleasant tart notes complement the fat beautifully.


Weiss Sekt — Back to the top

Age of Vines: 12-15 years

Yields: 25 hl/ha

Varieties: 50% Sauvignon Blanc/ 50% Chardonnay

Vinification Method: Hand harvested, first fermentation happens with natural yeast in 500-liter used oak barrels, and with a short skin fermentation (12 hours).  The second fermentation takes place in bottle with added champagne yeast, and it is lightly bubbly. Aged 3 months in bottle and not disgorged. Zero dosage. The wine receives 15 mg/liter of sulfur after the first racking. 


TLZ Lys-rød (fka Schilcher) — Back to the top

The TLZ, Trauben, Leibe, und Zeit (Grapes, Love and Time) are Franz’s zero sulfur added wines.

Lys-rød means “light red” in Danish, in a nod to the special relationship that Franz has with its Danish importer and customers. The wine used to be called Schilcher, which is an established term for a Blauer Wildbacher rosé typical for the region. But the wine being a bit different, freer than what the local people would expect, the Strohmeiers decided for a name change: “We heard so much of ‘your wine doesn’t taste like Schilcher’ that we decided OK, let’s not call it Schilcher then,” Christine laughs. Problem solved.

Vineyard: Lestein, plot close to Franz’s cellar with gneiss and a high content of iron and silica. Planted in the 1980s by winemaker’s father, minimally pruned. 

Varieties: Blauer Wildbacher

Vinification Method: Hand-harvested grapes are destemmed and macerated with skins for 4 hours. Fermentation is spontaneous with native yeasts in used wooden barrels. Three months later, the wine is bottled without fining, filtration, or added sulfur.

Personality: Rosé as fruity as it gets! Red berries, tangy spice, beautiful acidity. Experience just as refreshing as walking with Franz through this beautiful vineyard on a crisp winter morning.


TLZ Weiss — Back to the toppublicViewAttachment-4-300x298

Varieties: 70% Pinot Blanc, 30% Chardonnay

Vineyards: Bad Gams, Stainz. Gneiss with important iron and silica content.

Vinification Method: The grapes are hand-harvested and carefully selected to keep only the ripest bunches. A short (5-hour) skin contact to keep the wine at its freshest, then gentle pressing. Spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in 500-liter used wooden barrels, where it then rests for about a year. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, no SO2 added.

Personality: The subtlest touch of skin contact on the nose and palate, heaps of citrus, stone fruit, pleasant saltiness. A treat to be served in big glasses to fully enjoy the evolution.


TLZ Sonne — Back to the top

Sonne means sun in German, a fitting name for this wine’s lush and generous character. Mature fruit and lavish skin-contact notes leave no space for the grassy characteristics of commercial Sauvignons. One of Strohmeier’s top wines, a real treat and also keeper – older vintages of this wine are truly stunning, in case you can wait…

Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc

Vineyards: Bad Gams, Stainz. Gneiss with important iron and silica content.

Making of: the grapes are hand-harvested and carefully selected in the vineyard, keeping only very healthy and ripe grapes and picking out any damaged berries – this stage is crucial for having a top-quality material for the prolonged skin contact that follows. After destemming, the grapes are gently crushed and spend 4 weeks on skins. Gentle pneumatic pressing, spontaneous primary and malolactic fermentation. The wine is bottled after 12 months of maturation in used 500-liter wooden barrels – 50% in acacia, 50% oak. Unfiltered, unfined, zero sulfur added.

Personality: The skin contact on this wine is more prevalent than in the TLZ Weiss, but this is still a wine of subtlety and finesse, very in balance and faintly amber in color. Serve in big glasses to savor all its layers.


TLZ Wein der Stille — Back to the top

Age of Vines: 12 years

Yields: 15 hl/ha

Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Weissburgunder

Vinification Method: Hand-harvested and fermented in 500-liter used wooden barrels, on the skins for 9 months with no temperature control. This wine is bottled without fining or filtration and no sulfur is added

 


TLZ Rot — Back to the top

TLZ Rot tech sheet

Age of Vines: 20 years

Yields: 22 hl/ha

Varieties: Zweigelt 50%, Blauer Wildbacher 50%

Vinification Method: Hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks with no temperature control. The wine sits on the skins for 4 weeks and is bottled without fining or filtration and zero sulfur is added.


Rosé Sekt Brut Nature — Back to the top

Grapes: Blauer Wildbacher

Vineyard: Lestein. Steep slope with loamy Opok soil close to Franz’s house. Vines planted in the early 1980s, minimally pruned.

Making of: the grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed, and then spend 12 hours on skins. After soft pressing, the must ferments spontaneously (both primary and malolactic) in steel tanks and wooden barrels (50/50), for about 8 months. The wine is bottled with an addition of sugar and yeast for the second fermentation; after 36 months of maturation in bottles, the wine is disgorged and 15ppm SO2 is added. Zéro dosage.

Personality: fruity but also creamy and velvety – compared to the Schilcher Frizzante you can definitely see its prolonged maturation and deeper savory layers.


TLZ Karmin — Back to the top

Grapes: Blauer Wildbacher

Vineyard: Bad Gams. Gneiss with important iron and silica content.

Making of: the grapes are harvested by hand with a careful selection of only very healthy and ripe grapes. Destemmed and crushed for 3-hour skin contact. The wine is gently pressed, spontaneously fermented and matured for 12 months in used 500-liter wooden barrels (mostly oak, a small part acacia). Unfined, unfiltered, no sulfur added.

Personality: this Strohmeier classic lives in the compelling light red / deep soulful rosé niche. Serve around 15 degrees C to enjoy its layer after layer after layer; Franz even recommends decanting it if you’re into it.


TLZ Indigo — Back to the top 

This deep, ink-blue red is one of Franz’s top wines, made with old Blauer Wildbacher vines in the best vintages. Just like the color whose name it carries, this wine is deep and intriguing; it also ages gracefully, so the patient among us will be greatly rewarded…

Varieties: Blauer Wildbacher

Vineyard: Lestein. Steep slope with loamy Opok soil close to Franz’s house. Vines planted in the 1980s, one-wire trained.

Making of: the grapes are hand-harvested, with a careful selection of only the ripe and healthy grapes. The crushed grapes then spend 4 weeks on skins, going through the spontaneous primary fermentation. After soft pressing, the wine spends 24 months in used 500-liter and smaller wooden barrels. Unfined, unfiltered, no sulfur added.

Personality: Red so deep it turns blue which turns black. The most beautiful color you’ll ever drink. An everlasting upward spiral to the layers of pleasure where words fail you. Treat yourself.



Cat-Silver — Back to the top

Cat Silver

“Cat-silver” is how the Strohmeiers call the silicate stones with very thin layers sparkling on the soil of all their vineyards. A perfect name for a wine that shows all varieties of grapes and vineyards they work with.

Varieties: all grapes found in across all the Strohmeier vineyards, including some PiWi hybrids. White grapes (Sauvignon blanc, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Bronner, Muscaris, Büten-Muskateller) as well red grapes (Souvignier gris) and dark grapes (Zweigelt, Blauer Wildbacher, Cabernet Jura, Merlot, Rösler, Regent).

Vineyards: blend of St.Stefan, Stainz, Bad Gams plots. Opok (limestone marl), gneiss

Making of: blend of skin-fermented and direct-press grapes. Spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in wooden casks. The wine is bottled after 8 months (= early by Strohmeier standards), with a small dose of sulfur (15 mg/l). No fining or filtration.

Personality: hazy fun co-ferment. Fruity, with distinct tannic structure, good liveliness.

 


Weisser Frizzante — Back to the top

Weisser FrizzanteVarieties: 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Pinot Blanc, 15% Zweigelt, all from minimally pruned vineyards

Soil: Gneiss with fertile top-soil

Winemaking: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc are skin-fermented for 3 weeks and then blended with the direct-press Zweigelt. After 8 months of aging in wooden barrels, the wines are bottled with yeast and organic sugar and the secondary fermentation happens in bottles. No sulfur added.

Personality: floral, fine-bubbling dry sparkler with funky earthiness.

 


Roter Frizzante — Back to the top

Grapes: Zweigelt

Vineyard: Lestein. Steep slope with loamy Opok soil close to Franz’s house, minimally pruned.

Making of: the grapes are manually harvested and destemmed. Part of them ferments as whole berries, part is crushed and macerated on skins until the fermentation starts. Soft press, spontaneous fermentation in steel tank and wooden barrel for 6 months, spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Yeast and sugar addition for the second fermentation in bottles. Unfined, unfiltered, undisgorged, no SO2 added.

Personality: utterly delicious! Light dry red with a gentle fizz and heaps of red fruit and spicy undertones. Serve well chilled in big glasses for sparkling wine.

 


Lysegrön label

TLZ Lysegrøn — Back to the top

Lysegrøn means “light green” in Danish, in a nod to the special relationship that Franz has with its Danish importer and customers, esp. Noma, whose appreciation for his then-unusually natural wines kept the Strohmeier winery afloat when their Austrian customers turned their backs on their zero-sulfur approach.

Grapes: Weissburgunder (aka Pinot Blanc)

Vineyard: Bad Gams and Stainz. Gneiss with important iron and silica content.

Making of: the grapes are harvested by hand with a careful selection of only very healthy and ripe bunches. Free-run juice only, spontaneously fermented and matured for 12 months in used 500-liter wooden oak barrels. Unfined, unfiltered, no sulfur added.

Personality: superb structure and elegance of the grape. Serve at 15 degrees Celsius in big glasses to fully appreciate it.