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There are undoubtedly other wine-growing regions with more weighty and alcohol-richer wines, but seldom does a region offer such a brilliantly fresh and elegant style of region-typical wines as in southern Steiermark.
The three designated Styrian wine-growing regions all offer their own local speciality, and are situated in the south of the federal state of Steiermark. Towards the west, the spicy Schilcher Rosé dominates, a variety that truly expresses its terroir amongst the unique and picturesque undulating hills. In the Sausal region and along the Südsteirischen Weinstraße, the idyllic wine road that meanders through the vineyards, the aromatic Sauvignon Blanc and Gelber Muskateller varieties reign, and towards the south-eastern region, known as the Vulkanland for its remains of volanic activity, the trio of aromatic varieties is rounded off with Traminer, a real treat for connoisseurs.
The most abundant variety is the Welschriesling, with is bouquet of green apple, and is a refreshing, quaffable style of wine with far more fans than wine critics care to consider. The Pinot varieties offer more complex wines with a fuller body, particularly the Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) from the carbonate-rich soils. Likewise, Chardonnay (also known here as Morillon) and Grauburgunder (Ruländer, Pinot Gris) elegantly combines freshness with weight and body, and both can develop beautifully with bottle age. Likewise, Chardonnay (also known here as Morillon) and Grauburgunder (Ruländer, Pinot Gris) elegantly combines freshness with weight and body, and both can develop beautifully with bottle age. Each new vintage is celebrated with a light-bodied young wine called the 'Junker', which debuts during the first week of November. In the Spring following the harvest, the traditionally dry 'Klassik' wines, denoting those wines displaying varietal character and no oak aging, are released. One needs to have patience for the dry, full-bodied, 'Lagen' wines, that are usually produced from very ripe grapes from established single-vineyards. Styrian producers are maturing these wines gently and naturally, so that the result is a genuine and distinctive, world class, typically Styrian style.
Steiermark’s economic development has always been determined by its mineral resources. The Erzberg near Eisenerz supplies most of Austria’s iron ore and has been mined since Celtic times. Brown coal (lignite) is mined at Fohnsdorf and Köflach and magnesite in the Shale Alps. The state also produces sizable amounts of graphite, talc, gypsum, and salt. Thermoelectricity is generated, and there are hydroelectric plants on the Mur and other rivers. Heavy industry is concentrated in the Mur Valley below Fohnsdorf and in the Mürz Valley. Metal and machine industries, sawmills, automobile development and production, and paper and cellulose industries are important; chemicals, textiles, leather, and food products are also manufactured. Major industrial sites are in Graz, Leoben, Bruck, and Kapfenberg. Agriculture employs a small percentage of the working population; livestock raising is widespread, and corn (maize) and fruit are cultivated in the southeast. There is a significant tourist trade, based on numerous mountain resorts.