On some of the highest and steepest winegrowing slopes in all of Central Europe, where winegrowing was documented as early as 1757, a pair of brothers continue their family tradition. Bernhard and Stefan Schauer have taken over the reins of their family’s winery and brought their own passion to this corner of Südsteiermark in southern Austria. Records in the village church document the early winemaking of the Schauer family. Once a farm of mixed agriculture, the crop is now grapevines. Grown on the top of hillsides, the vines thrive in the slate and schist-rich soil.
Since the beginning, there has always been a Schauer family winemaker overseeing viticulture and winemaking in Kitzeck-Sausal. Both the great-grandfather and grandfather of the present generation were farmers and made wine. In 1980, Karl Schauer completed the conversion of all farming to grapevines. In 2010, he passed primary responsibility for the estate to sons Stefan and Bernhard. The brothers are passionate winegrowers who always work together, in the vineyards, in the cellar, or in their parents’ Buschenschank (traditional Austrian wine tavern) and guesthouse. Stefan is the winemaker and runs the winery with Bernhard, who handles marketing and all administration. Stefan went to school for viticulture, then worked for wineries in Italy and the Wachau before returning home. Bernhard studied hospitality, then spent a year in Britain, another on a cruise ship, and then in the Austrian national tourism office. They have grown the winery quickly in the past 10 years: from 10 hectares in 2010 to 28 hectares in 2019.
- Soil: Red slate
- Aspect: South, Southwest
- Altitude: 450 – 560 meters,
- Site: Terraces
- Vine age: 30 years
- Yield: 3000 liter/Ha
- With over 12 ha of vines, Gairiegl is the largest and most important vineyard. It has been in the Schauer family’s possession for the longest time and coincides with the origin of the Schauer winemaking tradition. This steep, South-facing slope is dominated by re schist soils and responsible for the winery’s most prestigious wines with minerality.
- Hand harvested end of September
- Manual sorting
- Native yeast fermentation in 500L used wood barrels for 2-4 months
- 14 months on full lees
- Maturation for 18 months
- Bottled in May 2019
The wine was fermented with indigenous yeasts in 500- and 2,000-liter barrels and was still on the full lees when tasted in June 2018. It is a full-bodied, lush, very elegant and balanced wine with good finesse and a long, intense, well-structured and grippy finish.
100% Sauvignon Blanc; alcohol 13%; red slate soils; vine age 30 years; altitude 450 – 560 meters; native yeasts only; 100% fermented in large wooden barrels, 22 months in barrel; no malolactic fermentation; bottled in May 2019.
- 100% Sauvignon Blanc
- Alcohol: 13%
- RS: 1.8 g/L
- TA: 6.1 g/L
NAMED #53 of TOP 100 CELLAR SELECTIONS of 2020 10/28/2020
A hint of smoke and a touch of flint on the nose slowly give way to a nutty, lemony note. The palate displays smoky hazelnut, lemon, apricot and a creaminess that still has to knit together. This is not ready yet but holds all the elements of future glory. The acidity is bright and luminous, the body balanced, the fruit vibrant and the finish dry. Drink 2023–2040. Cellar Selection
Gaisriegl faces south, its ruddy schist soils rising to 1,800 feet above sea level. It produces Stefan Schauer’s most intense sauvignon blanc, with 2017 a prime example. The fruit is juicy but firm, like Asian apple and exotic citrus; its dense texture helps to absorb its peppery power. If you open it now, decant; otherwise, wait a few more years, then pour it with monkfish or other meaty seafood.
|Proprietors||Bernhard & Stefan Schauer|
|Annual Production||8,333 9L cases|
|Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic)||Sustainable|