There is a long, Baroque-yellow stretch of buildings along my usual tram route in and out of the neighborhood. Part of that stretch is occupied by the Privat Klinik Döbling, where we have unfortunately spent time in recent days having a stress fracture diagnosed in The Teenager’s ankle. No running for 4-6 weeks. That means the XC invitational in London early next month is a no-go for him. This is a first-world problem and he’ll survive.
The remainder of that pretty stretch of the street houses the Schlumberger Sektkellerei, Austria’s answer to France’s champagne. The cellar is 300 years old and stretches for nearly 3 kilometers beneath the neighborhood, housing several million bottles of the sparkling elixir. Today I finally made time for a tour.
This is an Internet photo of the building. I forgot to take my own photo, but today the skies were as blue as in this photo in case you were wondering.
The beautiful Schlumberger sparkling fairy greets visitors.
I will not bore you with the production chemistry of the sparkling wine that I found so fascinating, except to say that all of the grapes are Austrian, and the production methode traditionale is derived from that of the Champagne region of France.
“Riddlers” is the name given to the professionals who hand-turn each bottle 1/8 of a circle while changing its angle during the storage process. Three-and-one-half years and many turns later, viola! It is Sekt!
Schlumberger was the official purveyor to the Imperial Court. Of course. Now the Schlumberger cellars provide for us commoners and the well-heeled Wiener Opernball goers, too.
The smallest bottle is the “Baby” and holds 0.2L of sparkling sekt; the big green bottle holding 27L is referred to as “Primat.” A “Magnum” of sparkling wine is the clear middle bottle in the front row, holding 1.5L.
At the completion of our tour we were offered the opportunity to sample from the cellar offerings. It being but 11:00 in the morning I refrained, but I did select two Baby bottles to share with the family over dinner this evening.