Some times I have been driving through Austria, unfortunately without pit stop including overnight stay. That should change.

How could it be otherwise, of course it was the wine that brought me to Austria. More precisely, it went to Finkenberg in Zillertal. This is the family-run STOCK Resort founded in 1976. Between Hintertux and Zell am Zeller, in the midst of snow capped mountains and coniferous forests.
A facility with many fans, because in the run-up to and during the journey I received a striking amount of news a lá: ‘Clean, have fun!’, ‘Is mega there’ or ‘Geil, go to Stocki !?’.

Stock – Hospitality with tradition

The Stock family in the Zillertal has been an institution since the 1980s and since then has been building up and extending the family and adventure hotel. And remains true to their line. Full commitment, warm hospitality and well-being guarantee. Over the years and decades, the former sports hotel grew into a 5 star resort of the Zillertal elite. The rooms in the classic, traditional look and with the latest equipment – ensured by the permanent development of the entire complex – are very cozy and invite you with a view of the mountains to the glass Blaufränkisch in bed.

If you are looking for wellness, here comes his money. Good 5000qm are available here for the special way of relaxing. Whether Ladies only or Family only – that is also taken care of. 11 saunas, tempered from high to low, offer everything the sauna heart desires. In addition, there are more than 20 treatment rooms for massages and treatments. There are also 12 pools, such as sports or functional pool, whirlpool or the external roof pool with unobstructed views of the mountains of the Zillertal.

But even for me as an avowed non-wellness fan there are enough opportunities to fill the rustic hours. For example, in the gym or at the bar. The wine list of the restaurant is very well stocked and is of course dominated by Austrian wines. However, in terms of Bordeaux, Tuscany or international rarities, the selection is large, vintage depth is available and the prices are fair – making the bottles directly air even more fun.

Wine Week by STOCK

As already mentioned, the wine was the reason for my visit to the STOCK Resort. The Stock family has obviously always appreciated a good drop, which is why they introduced the STOCK wine week 15 years ago. This tradition is solemnly cultivated to this day. A colorful program of informative and entertaining vinophile highlights is reflected here every year. Although the focus of the STOCK Wine Week is of course on the topic of wine, so you can participate every day in various workshops and tastings. However, the STOCK team does not miss the opportunity to ‘merge’ this huge topic with the in-house ideas. The visit to the natural ice palace is as much a part of it as the sample of a special kind with the well-known pastor Edi Niederweiser with his vintage wine. For many, beer is just as important as wine for me. These appetites are also satisfied when it comes to the Tuxer beer brewery. But back to the vinophile things in the STOCK Wine Week. One of the daily activities is the ‘Meet the Winzer’. Here, different winemakers from all over the world present their wines. Of course they come from Austria, but also from Germany, Argentina, France, etc. Presented and tasted before dinner in a relaxed lounge atmosphere in the fireplace room. It was always exciting to talk to the winemakers themselves, and to receive information on the different wine regions, the soil or the climate when tasting the wines.

Vinophile highlights

Of course, my three highlights of the week were also vinophile nature. So it was shortly after my arrival directly to a workshop in the ‘energy room’ of the house. A wonderful room, classically but very modern with unobstructed views of the mountains and winter snowy mountain meadows. Perfect ambience, to know that it is colder than 0 ° outside and snowing and you look out of a pleasantly heated relaxation room with a great view of the winter landscape.

The Austrian champagne pyramid was more than a nice companion. As a big sparkling wine fan, this was a particularly interesting program for me. Who thinks now, we have built a pyramid with the help of champagne glasses, this – as in the film – from above flowing down with champagne filled, was far from lacking.

The Austrian champagne pyramid

The sparkling wine pyramid of Austria is the seal of approval for Austrian sparkling wine and classifies the sparkling wines in three categories of different quality. Exciting: included some wines from Schlumberger, including the sparkling wine from the Grüner Veltliner. We have served this for the ProWein tasting menu in the Düsseldorf Rheinterrassen in cooperation with Schlumberger for 200 people and found it very good.

All sparkling wines, regardless of the three categories ‘Classic’, ‘Reserve’ and ‘Große Reserve’, are already subject to a certain quality standard and criteria. Within the three classifications, these criteria are again ‘tightened’ to ensure the rising quality up to the ‘Große Reserve’. For example, in the ‘Klassik’ area, all grapes in an Austrian state must be read, but can subsequently be sown throughout Austria. In the ‘Reserve’ harvest and squeeze must take place in a single federal state, in the ‘Große Reserve’ even in a municipality within a federal state.

Another distinguishing feature is the storage time of the wines on the lees, which must be at least 9 months for the ‘Klassik’, at least 18 months for the ‘Reserve’ and finally at least 30 months for the ‘Große Reserve’.

Of course, the pyramid can be further developed, but will be considered more intensively elsewhere.

Wine-tasting dinner in the parlors

A little relaxation and wellness later, it was time for the winegrowers’ dinner in STOCK, which also takes place every year. For a 4-course menu, 8 wines were served in 2er flights – so you tried two wines per course. Although we had an overview of the winemakers, which wines were in the glass and from whose cellar these came, however, initially remained a mystery. Excitingly, what was on the plate remained secret, so that one could ever ponder here and there and had to assign the ostrich fillet properly. Partly contrary, partly similar wines were tasted to the menu, before finally winegrower and chef after the common food and drink the secret to the enjoyment aired.

For me as ‘Stocki newcomer’ it was exciting to see that many guests of the Wine Week are long-time guests of the house. They know the staff and the boss, feel at home and have witnessed the development and the ‘growing up’ of the house over the years. This fits in with my feeling that this is where the ‘we’ idea capitalizes and has developed an enormously strong customer loyalty and loyalty through the in-house performance. Impressive!

After meeting the Grüner Veltliner sparkling wine from Schlumberger in Finkenberg, more ‘playmates’ of the last months were on the program. So I met with Riedel for a glass tasting on the Riedel performance glasses, which I tested over months and found to be a very good product. The tasting took place together with the winery Markowitsch, which presented its wines from the south of Austria in the Riedel performance. After what I had already experienced and tasted with the glasses – also with Riedel owner and CEO Maximilian Riedel – I could have actually held the presentation, then I noticed jokingly.

I took three things from the tasting, actually three: The performance series keeps its promises. With its internal lamellas, the ‘Optic Impact’, the glass surface increases and literally gives the wines more room to unfold. Secondly, Blaufränkisch is a great grape variety that is becoming more and more beautiful as it matures – what did the 2012 M1 of Markowitsch, the flagship of the house, have for an untamed power? And third, that Markovich brings really good stuff to the bottle.

The only problematic thing about the week in STOCK was the day of departure. After arriving, tasting wines and relaxing, it was way too early to go home … as always.

That reminds me: I do not ski, but right in front of the main entrance there is a lift that takes you directly to the mountain. So you almost do not need your car once you’re there. For après ski afterwards, the well-stocked, in-house bar, which is 100% party-friendly, catered for.

After much deliberation, I would not know who does not get their money and has a nice time.

So, off to the ‘Stocki’!

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Björn Bittner ist der Gründer von Bjr Le Bouquet. Seine Artikel beschäftigen sich mit den Themen Wein, Essen und Reisen. Ob Verkostungsnotiz, Restaurant-Bericht oder Einblicke in die letzte Weinreise - hier findet ihr alles was Björn bewegt.

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