With the introduction of the highest Austrian sparkling wine category Sekt g.U. (PDO) in 2015 local producers set the course for Sekt of uncompromising quality. Since then, Austrian Sekt with a protected designation of origin and certified quality has been instantly recognisable for consumers via the red-white-red banderole on the capsule and the three quality classes of Klassik, Reserve and Grosse Reserve, which only Sekt g.U. is permitted to list on its label.

While the Sekt g.U. Klassik category is synonymous with freshness, vivid lightness and simple pleasure, Sekt g.U. Reserve must mature on the lees for a significantly longer period (at least 18 months), and bottle fermentation is mandatory. This places it somewhere in the same league as Spumante, Cava and French Crémant. Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve has a justified claim to being one of the best sparkling wines in the world, on a par with the likes of Franciacorta and Champagne.

All quality levels of Sekt g.U. – Klassik, Reserve and Grosse Reserve – are excellent companions for a wide range of dishes. When drunk alongside food, the carbon dioxide actually works as a flavour enhancer. A general rule: the more full-bodied the Sekt, the richer the dish may be.

The Austrian Sekt g.U. quality pyramid

Harvesting and pressing of the grapes for the base wine within a single municipality, exclusive hand-picking and traditional bottle fermentation, at least 30 months on the lees
Harvesting and pressing of the grapes for the base wine within a single federal state, exclusive hand-picking and traditional bottle fermentation, at least 18 months on the lees
Harvesting of the grapes for the base wine within a single federal state, all methods of Sekt production are permitted, at least 9 months on the lees
Each level encompasses further quality assurance standards. The focus here includes the work in the vineyard, harvesting, hand picking, packing height, rate of yield and gentle pressing.

Sekt g.U. Klassik

The Klassik level has stricter minimum requirements than the basic category for quality sparkling wines without a protected designation of origin (“Austrian Sekt”). It primarily guarantees that the grapes originate from one Austrian federal state and that the Sekt is matured on the lees for a minimum of 9 months, regardless of the production method. 

Perfect as an aperitif, Sekt g.U. Klassik also pairs delightfully with lightly smoked dishes, for example freshwater fish like trout and char, as well as with light and/or spicy finger foods. 

Requirements for use of the Sekt g.U. Klassik designation:

  • Grapes harvested within a single federal state
  • Made exclusively from varieties approved for the production of Qualitätswein
  • At least 9 months of maturation on the lees
  • All methods suitable for Sekt production are permitted
  • On sale no earlier than 22 October of the year following the harvest
  • All styles, dosages and “colours” (white, rosé, red) permitted
  • Maximum alcohol content of 12.5% vol. 
  • Mandatory indication of an Austrian federal state as the protected designation of origin; a more detailed geographic indication than the federal state is not permitted

Sekt g.U. Reserve

From the Reserve level upwards, only Sekt that has been produced using the Traditional Method (bottle fermentation) is permitted. The grapes and base wines must come from one generic winegrowing region (federal state) and they must mature on the lees for at least 18 months.

Sekt g.U. Reserve offers a perfect sparkling middle ground and is a correspondingly versatile accompaniment to food such as richer antipasti, light meats, poultry, well-seasoned vegetable dishes, rice and pasta dishes – the list is endless. Tip: a slight residual sweetness makes the Reserve an excellent accompaniment to cheese.

Requirements for use of the Sekt g.U. Reserve designation:

  • Grapes harvested and pressed within a single federal state
  • Made exclusively from varieties approved for the production of Qualitätswein
  • Made exclusively using traditional bottle fermentation
  • At least 18 months of maturation on the lees
  • On sale no earlier than 22 October of the second year following the harvest (2 years later)
  • Exclusively brut, extra brut or brut nature, and/or a residual sugar content of at least 12 g/l
  • Mandatory indication of a federal state as the protected designation of origin; a more precise geographical indication is not permitted
  • Juice yield not exceeding 60% (juice from the volume of grapes)
  • Mandatory hand-picking (max. container unloading height 35 cm)
  • Whole-bunch pressing
  • No current upper or lower limit for alcohol content
     

Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve

For the highest category, Grosse Reserve (i.e. the bottle-fermented high-calibre Sekt), grapes must be hand-picked in the same winegrowing municipality and this must be listed on the label (e.g. Poysdorf, Langenlois, Gols, Gamlitz, etc.). Single-vineyard designations are also allowed. After bottle fermentation and maturing on the lees for at least 30 months, the Sekts in this category are brought onto the market no earlier than three years after harvesting.

With a substantial yet extremely elegant structure, Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve is an outstanding solo performer for special occasions and also a perfect accompaniment to richer dishes. It is the perfect complement to flavoursome vegetable dishes, light meats and poultry, not to mention pâtés, seafood and more luxuriant fish like smoked salmon, and – with a slight residual sweetness – sweet and spicy Asian fish dishes.

Requirements for use of the Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve designation:

  • Grapes harvested and pressed in a single municipality
  • Made exclusively from varieties approved for the production of Qualitätswein
  • Made exclusively using traditional bottle fermentation
  • At least 30 months of maturation on the lees
  • On sale no earlier than 22 October of the third year following the harvest (3 years later)
  • Exclusively brut, extra brut or brut nature and/or a residual sugar content of at least 12 g/l
  • Mandatory indication of an Austrian federal state and a municipality (or a specific part of a municipality). The additional indication of the Grosslage (large collective vineyard site) or Ried (single vineyard) is permitted.
  • Juice yield not exceeding 50% (juice from the volume of grapes)
  • Mandatory hand-picking (max. container unloading height 35 cm)
  • Whole-bunch pressing
  • Pressing in the district of grape origin/must transport permitted
  • No current upper or lower limit for alcohol content
     

Sekt & Enjoyment

How Sekt should appear on wine lists

How Sekt should appear on wine lists

2019 Grüner Veltliner brut Sekt Klassik Niederösterreich g.U., Abc Winery
2018 Cuvée extra brut Sekt Reserve Burgenland g.U., Xyz Winery
2016 Rosé brut Sekt Grosse Reserve Steiermark g.U. Leibnitz, 123 Winery

Examination by the Federal Viticultural Authorities

Sekt g.U. Klassik, Sekt g.U. Reserve and Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve may only be offered for sale once its marketability has been certified by the Federal Office for Viticulture in Eisenstadt or the High School and Federal Office of Viticulture and Pomology in Klosterneuburg.

A picture shows the Sekt banderole
© Austrian Wine

The “Protected designation of origin. Certified quality” seal

Sekt g.U. Klassik, Sekt g.U. Reserve and Sekt g.U. Grosse Reserve may only be sold in glass bottles or dispensed at the place of distribution when the bottle is marked with the “Geschützter Ursprung. Geprüfte Qualität” (“Protected Designation of Origin. Certified Quality”) seal.

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Three-tier pyramid

Brochure Sekt g.U.

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