Andreas Tscheppe is making stunning examples of natural wine in Styria from a collection of small vineyards, located on beautiful terraces at an altitude of 500 metres, surrounded by thick forests, each of them resembling a garden and invariably bursting with life. Biodiversity rules in his vineyards. Small clumps of flowers, wild herbs and weeds peek out in between the vine rows. These “gardens” are invigorating places to visit, lush with vegetation and insects. Butterflies, dragonflies and beetles are just a few of the creatures you will find while walking through these vines, and they are all represented on the labels of his wines. Andreas Tscheppe is part of the Styrian quintet of vignerons called Schmeck das Leben, or “Taste of Life”. His brother Ewald Tscheppe runs another iconic estate, Weingut Werlitsch, while his brother-in-law Sepp Muster operates his famous eponymous winery. Both are also members of this illustrious, ground breaking collective whose wines are redefining what Styrian wines are all about. They reshape our expectations of what a Sauvignon, Muskateller or Chardonnay can taste like. The Sauvignons are gloriously textural and flinty, shying away from the often-caricatured grassy fruit-bomb style; the Muskatellers are aromatic but not overtly floral, electrified by zippy acidity and exotic perfume, making them fine wines capable of serious cellaring; and the Chardonnay is neither buttery nor austere, nimbly marrying exotic graphite perfume with sumptuous minerality.
The Stag Beetle is made from a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Chardonnay. The wine was naturally vinified in 600 liter liter 10-19 year old barrels with whole bunches, and macerated on the skins for 5 weeks. Racked twice, it was matured for 18 months and bottled unfined and unfiltered and with zero sulfur added.