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.
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.
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. Strohmeier has a 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 are biodynamic in nature. 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 everyday drinking and pairing with a wide variety of foods. He also makes the Trauben, Liebe & Zeit (=Grapes, Love, Time) line, amazingly crafted zero sulfur wines made with nothing but grapes, love and time.
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