Austria confirms new DAC wine growing region

Austria has named its tenth DAC wine growing region – Schilcherland DAC in the far south of the country – known for its production of rosé using the red grape Blauer Wildbacher.

Schilcherland DAC is Austria’s tenth DAC located in the west of the federal state of Steiermark (Styria), formerly known as ‘Weststeiermark’. It’s most prominent variety is the red grape Blauer Wildbacher, which is typically vinified into a rosé wine called Schilcher.

The new DAC encompasses the former growing region Weststeiermark (546 hectares) as well as the cadastral municipality Obergreith. Only wines at the Qualitätswein level may be released to the market bearing this designation, either as ‘Schilcherland DAC Klassik’ or ‘Schilcherland DAC’, which carries an obligatory indication of a vineyard (Ried) name.

Both of these wines must be harvested 100% from the grape variety Blauer Wildbacher, then vinified as a rosé. The grapes must be harvested by hand in the region defined, and the wine must be bottled exclusively in glass bottles, sealed with closures of cork, screwcap or glass. Nominal volumes of 1 litre or 2 litres are not permitted.

Specifically, a Schilcherland DAC Klassik must be finished dry, and have a minimum alcohol content of 11% as well as a maximum alcohol content of 12%.

“Its flavour must be refreshing and fruit-forward, and ought to show aromatics of strawberry, red currant and raspberry,” the organisation said. “Notes of elderflower and cassis are also considered to be classic expressions, but there should be no perception of oak to taste.”

A Schilcherland DAC, with vineyard (Ried) designation, should evidence the same flavour profile, but have a “greater presence and more intensity”. The alcohol content must be a minimum of 12% and the word ‘Ried’ must precede the name of the vineyard on the label.

“This is done so that the consumer can easily distinguish a wine from a single vineyard site from one having a proprietary name or fantasy nickname,” the organisation explained.

The name Schilcherland comes from the German word for shimmering – ‘schillernd’ – referring to the “play of colours” in the region’s style of rosé, “ranging from bright to deep pink”.

Austria’s first DAC wine was released onto the market in 2003 – a dry Grüner Veltliner labelled as ‘Weinviertel DAC’.

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