Arriving at the tight streets of Stein, a bit hidden I followed the street signs for the Heurigen Stagård. I spotted a small Swedish flag on a house wall and thought It can’t be so far away and followed the wall until I arrived at a door which says “Lesehof Stagård” and “Junge Wilde” and other things. I entered the door and saw a young person with a cap which say Riesling on it, jeans and beard. I said “Hej” in Swedish and he said “Hej” back and I continued, of course in Swedish, that I am looking for Urban, and he confirmed that it is him. I was a bit confused, should I continue to speak Swedish or German or even English. After a couple of sentences and realizing that his Swedish was fluent, we still decided to get back to German, and we entered the premises which is also a “Heuriger”. This is a very common thing in Austria and means it is a restaurant mostly from an own winery but only with cold food, not even coffee or tea is served. We went to the smaller room to the right because obviously they are fully booked for tonight to my surprise since the streets are empty. So we sat down he we started with some facts
Owner: Urban Stagård together with his wife Dominique and kids
Size: 12,5 ha (increased in 4 years from 7,5 ha to 12,5ha)
Cultivated: 50% Grüner Veltliner, 47% Riesling, Rest: Zweigelt, Weisburgunder and more
Production: about 80 000 bottles (and growing)
Others: Bio since 2005
After he was running around for a while to get some stuff sorted, Urban sat down with me and told me about his Kingdom. The Swedish name came from his parents which have their roots in Stagård which is a part of Bollnäs in Sweden about three hours north of Stockholm. That is why his Swedish his in very good condition but also the character of his personality is similar and most of it his “Skägg” (the Swedish word for beard) felt like I am sitting in Sweden and tasting Austrian wine. Urban a young person with a relaxed, easy going, innovative and nature oriented character says: for him the Riesling is the most important grape and Grüner Veltliner is being made until Riesling is ready, the words he used the most are Riesling, spontaneous fermentation, decant my premium wines an hour before and it can´t be worse as it already is. I like it, that’s the correct attitude to survive in these times, when others still talking about new and old world stuff others clean the field from the back. We started the tasting 2014 Riesling from the Cru´s Steiner Schreck, Gaisberg, Steiner Högl and the high end 501. People who taste a lot of wine can taste the natural fermentation with no added yeast
Steiner Schreck, soil type Slate and rocky:
More Aromatic, Vibrant and a long taste
Gaisberg, soil type Rocky with Gneiss:
Even more Aromatic plus, spices and full bodied
Steiner Högl, soil type pressed Gravel:
more structured, Grapefuit, spicy, and a long finish
No it is no Jeans pressed into a bottle, it is Riesling aged in 500liter barrels “Pfälzer Eiche” from Germany. What a fine wine, complex nose, vibrant, micro oxidation and powerful. The oak was very well integrated almost not to feel, peaches, ripe apples and almost no petroleum, puh that was difficult to spit out. Aging potential for at least 10 to 15 years, great 18 Points out of 20
Very aromatic, good balance and good acid. Very nice Grüner Veltliner with a good balance between acid and sugars. Long taste, peaches, pear and surprisingly low amount of that typical white pepper. From this wine the drinking is fun and easy as it should be.
A bit less aromatic then the usual Rieslings in the basic category, but still enjoyable.
When we were finished with the 2014 the “Swed”, how they call him, he brought all the 2015 Vintages and mentioned that some of them are still fermenting and isn’t able to bring all, unfortunately. At the same time the door opens, because he excepted somebody else to join the tasting from around Salzburg he said. He mentioned that they have a restaurant and the other one has a Vinothek. Two guys enter the door and coming towards the table, and I was like this is impossible! I know that guy! I even know his name, Markus. I said to him: I know you. He said I know you too! I told him that I even know your name, I said it is Markus or? He raised his eye brows and said shocked: yes. But we both didn’t know from where or when? So we started with all places we worked to try to find out from where, maybe a restaurant or hotel we worked together. After telling my whole Curriculum Vitae to this guys we found out that he was a waiter in the same hotel I made my apprenticeship to a waiter back in 1996 and his name is Markus Moucha. Wow what a flash back, and this happens at this vineyard in Krems/Stein, we haven’t met over 20years. If one person ever argues or doubts that wine doesn’t get people together, you better run. Sitting shocked at the table, we continued with the 2015 vintage
For a Weisburgunder the flower bouquet was rather low but rather spicier, acid medium plus, vibrant and dry. But once again you could taste the rawness of the spontaneous fermentation which I like so much which gives a natural flavor to it. And of course it is far too young but perhaps the flower bouquet comes with age.
Ripe fruits, warm and powerful, more structured and volume then the 2014
High minerality, fine sparkles on the palate and again spices
If I would wright something bad about it, I failed my job. The only difference to the 2014 is that it contains more alcohol and is more powerful. But the elegance and finesse is the same, with great complexity, peaches, pear, ripe red apples followed with a bit of tannin structure, compact and a very looooooooooong finish, Sjukt bra!
Rock´n Riesling 2015
After all these wines he came out with his secret wine as he calls it Rock´n Riesling, which he says wants to reproduce a Riesling Kabinett from Germany. Well balanced smooth acidity, off dry, ripe -stone fruit like peaches, ripe red apples, petroleum, hints of honey, good minerals and a very joyful long finish. A wine you want to take a bath in and sip it up with a straw until you fall asleep, and perhaps drown in a happy ending. However, the funny part is that the labels aren’t ready yet so there are no pictures to take, sorry.
Since I love the grape Riesling, he got me sold as an innovative, open minded winemaker, who is up for the challenge against the world! Of course all wines are good, but if you are seeking a wine and winemaker which has more quality then quantity in mind one should definitely have look at Urban and his wines. When Urban and me were talking about winemaking and spontaneous fermentation I mentioned that Robert Schätzle from Baden in Germany is playing Mozart music during the process, Urban said that he is doing that too, but not with classic music more like house, Drum 'n Base and other electronical music and you can see the wine ferment quicker and more vibrant. The young generation is about to come and hit the world market hard with natural produced wines with a passion and creative attitude. After sitting 3 hours with Urban tasting his world and getting to know him, he said that he is sorry but he has to make the dishes from the restaurant now. Then I totally felt in love with that guy, he is doing everything: Winemaker, Dishwasher, father with young children, waiter, chef and more. This man dedicated his life and love for the wine world and food.
The wines are representing what he is: fresh, vibrant, innovative, creative, down to earth and you can´t get enough of it, appreciate every moment spending together, but still showing the skills and experience of a top producer.
All in all great experience, shouldn´t miss that place when ever you are close. Keep up the good work and we will meet again maybe for midsommar. Skål, Cheers, Prost and Rock´n Riesling how he says……