Weingut Maria & Sepp Muster is a Biodynamic estate winery in the Südsteiermark (South Styria) region of Austria and therefore near the Slovenian border. The estate dates to 1727, and was farmed by Sepp’s parents.
Owner: Sepp Muster and his wife Maria (née Tscheppe) and their three children took over the then 6 hectare (14.8 acres) estate from Sepp’s parents, Theresia and Rudolf Muster in 2001 (this was made official in 2002). Maria Tscheppe gave her own vines to her two brothers, Ewald (see Weingut Werlitsch) and Andreas, when she married Sepp.
History: The first documented records of the estate date to 1727. The layout plans of the vineyards are first found in the ‘Josephinische Landesaufnahme’ or Josephenian Land Survey (provincial agriculture records) of 1787.
Vineyards: 10 hectares (24.7 acres). Altitude of 430-470 metres above sea level. The main soil type is Opok.
Grape varieties: Gelber Muskateller (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains).
Climate: The local ‘illyric’ microclimate is said to be weak continental, with warm summer and mildly cold winter influences. The influence of the Koralpe (nearby high mountain plateau region) creates cool nights and winds.
Graf: Graf is a sub-vineyard of Schlossberg (see below) which has Opok soil with lime and clay/silt, and low yields of (30-40 hl/ha). The vines are more protected from the Koralpe climate here compared to vines in the Sgaminegg vineyard. Graf wines differ from those of Schlossberg vineyard by being fuller in structure, with more extract/density and pronounced mineral character. Wines from Graf include Graf Sauvignon Blanc, Graf Morillon (Chardonnay) and Graf Blauer Zweigelt.
Schlossberg: Clay/silt soil. Steep slopes up to 70%, partially located in bowl-shaped areas. The ‘illyric’ climate with hot days and cool nights is influential. The wines are fruity with soft mineral character. Wines made from Schlossberg include the blended red which is made from Blaufränkisch, Blauer Wildbacher, and Zweigelt; the blended white called ‘Opok’ which is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon, and Welschriesling; a Blauer Zweigelt; a Chardonnay (labelled as Morillon, the Styrian name for Chardonnay); a Gelber Muskateller; a Sauvignon Blanc; and a Welschriesling.
Sgaminegg: The estate’s best vineyard. Pure Opok soil (stony, rocky). The Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon (Chardonnay) show low vigour and produce low yields (25-30 hl/ha). Directly influenced by the winds from the Koralpe.
Viticulture: Traditional single wire trellising with the wire at 1.80 metres trained along chestnut posts. The canes hang down from the wire. No trimming is needed, which means the vines do not grow through a ‘green’ phase, and makes seed ripening easier.
Biodynamics: 2012 There was a 300-litre copper dynamiser. 500P and 501. No compost. Some teas are sprayed, but the slopes are so steep this is not always possible.
Certification: 2007 First vintage with full Demeter certification. | 2017 Still Demeter certified Biodynamic
Winemaking: Spontaneous fermentation (with natural wild yeasts). Preference for barrels and casks. Long storage (up to two years) and late bottling, to obtain the optimal maturity and harmony of the various taste and aroma components.
Graf Morillon: 100% Chardonnay (Morillon). | 2008 Nice mineral, satisfying I(Millésime Bio 2012).
Grafin | Gräfin is a Sauvignon Blanc aged on skins in cask to make an orange wine, Gravner-style. | 2008 Savoury (Millésime Bio 2012). | 2012 19 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015).
Graf, Sauvignon: 2007 Nice and understated, some lees, a bit like Semillon (Millésime Bio 2012). | 2012 15mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015). | 2013 Very natural style, fruit rather drying (Real Wine Fair 2017).
Morillon vom Opok: Morillon = Chardonnay, from ‘opok’ soil (see above). | 2007 Chardonnay. 5,000 bottles. Battenberg icing sugar (Millésime Bio 2012).
Opok | From the Schlossberg vineyard. | 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon (Chardonnay), Welschriesling, Gelber Muskateller. 5,000 bottles. Lean and green (Millésime Bio 2012). | 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon (Chardonnay), Gelber Muskateller, Welschriesling. 100% MLF. 15ppm at pre-bottling racking. Woody nose from oak ageing (225-400l oak), crisp, integration (Real Wine Fair 2016).
Sauvignon mom Opok: 2008 Sauvignon Blanc 6-8,000 bottles. Lean and green (Millésime Bio 2012). | 2012 No added sulfites.
Sgaminegg: 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon (Chardonnay). Nice and lean with pineapple fat on the end (Millésime Bio 2012). | 2008 Rocky soil. Small berries. Top of slope. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay. Very good citrus and oak, well rendered (Real Wine Fair 2016). | 2010 No added sulfites.
Welschriesling: White wine.
Rotwein: 2007 13 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015). | 2008 Blaufränkisch, Blauer Wildbacher, Zweigelt. Deep blackcurrant, smokey, some reduction, plums, needs air at Millésime Bio January 2012. | 2008 Bold fruit, firm tannin, plenty of fruit balanced out, integration (Real Wine Fair 2016).
Erde: The name means earth. | 2012 12 mg/l total sulfites (RAW 2015).
Zweigelt | 2007 Interesting, black plum skins, well made, tasted at Millésime Bio January 2012.
Graf Zweigelt: Zweigelt.
Weingut Maria & Sepp Muster
A-8463 Leutschach, Austria
Tel+43 (0)3454.70053 | www.weingutmuster.com
Isabelle Legeron MW, Natural Wine, An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines grown naturally (2014, Cico Books, London & New York), p.155.