Located in Gols, Burgenland, Szigeti is Austria’s only family-owned winery dedicated to sparkling wine production. Brothers Peter and Norbert Szigeti employ centuries-old knowledge from the Champagne region, combined with the latest technology and innovative ideas, to produce more than 35 different sparkling wines.
The charm of Szigeti wines lies in their fresh, lovely aromatics, lively textures, and elegant fruity flavors. In addition to such classic wines as Grüner Veltliner and Welschriesling Brut, Szigeti also creates premium sparkling wines from chardonnay, muscat ottonel, and pinot noir rosé.
Juice from the finest, ripest, and healthiest grapes grown in Burgenland/Pannonia, the sunniest region in Austria, is fermented in the bottle using the méthode traditionnelle, a labor-intensive and highly specialized method that preserves and refines the freshness and flavors of each grape variety used.
Production at Szigeti is a rigorous process. Once the grapes are pressed, fermentation begins with the best Champagne yeast, imported directly from France. The wines rest on the yeast until the fermentation starts in the bottle. As fermentation continues, the wines rest on the spent yeast for 15 months or more, ripening and developing in the bottle, which results in a perfect mousseux, or perlage, of delicate, fine bubbles and finely developed flavors. At the end of this resting period, computer-controlled riddling machines bring the bottles slowly and carefully from a horizontal to an upside-down position, allowing the yeast to move gently down to the bottle neck. At the end of the riddling process, the bottles move neck down into a freezing agent to embed the yeast in an ice cube. Then the yeast and ice cube is removed, or degorged, and the dosage is added to give the last refinement to the sparkling wine. Different from the Champagne region, where a sugar and wine solution is added, Szigeti sparkling wines are replenished with selected dessert wines from the region.
KLIMT-EDITION SZIGETI SEKT
Conceived by Kurt and Leo and produced by Szigeti, this special Klimt edition Blanc de Blanc Brut 2009 features the artwork of Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch Bauer that hangs in the Neue Galerie, who is celebrating the painting’s 100th anniversary in 2013.
“We wanted to produce a sparkling wine in line with our heritage to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Klimt’s birth, as well as the book-release party for Neue Cuisine. We took 50 percent of the Chardonnay grapes from Wachau and 50 percent from Hungary, not only because Peter Szigeti was producing some Hungarian wines but also because of the historical aspect of our joint empire. Instead of brandy or cognac for the dosage, we added an Austrian sweet wine. The result is a wine with green flavors on the nose, a creamy palate, and a very acidic-driven structure that makes it fresh.”
The bottle was a key visual for everyone involved. Thanks to permission granted by Ronald Lauder, Kurt and Leo were able to take photos of Adele to use on the label. The overall result is a fusion of culinary and art—both inside and outside the bottle.