There's lots of wine being produced in Steiermark/Styria and there are all kinds of weinstrasse. The one we researched for today's trip claimed that it was the home to some of the largest wineries with modern facilities.
We headed out of Graz due south avoiding the highway toward the town of Leibnitz. According to our material there were some Roman ruins there, the most significant in Austria. We're big fans of Roman ruins so we had take a look. Hence a very common tale if you do the kind of touring we do. I looked up the address of the place, plugged it into the GPS, which then took us obediently to exactly the address we plugged in...except no Roman ruins museum. Go back and forth a few times to determine if we somehow missed the sign but no, no Roman ruins museum. I get on the iPhone and plug the name into the Maps function. No museum but a street that has the museum's name. It's very close to where we are. Off we go. Nice residential street. No museum. Wife sees a sign that has a name in German with the a word that starts with 'ROM'. That must mean Rome right? Off we go and discover a daycare center on a dead end road. (I've left out the part where we make a turn into what we think is ruins but turns out to be an abandoned running track which we circle and drive out of). Back to the iPhone and search again. Ah here is the museum...and its address is on the road we were originally on but about 50 numbers further down the street. Success. It has a big ass sign that if we'd come in off the highway like most folks would have been impossible to miss. I'll talk about the museum itself in the pictures section.
We're now off to find that wine. But first lunch. My Graz friend from work has given us a list of wine places that have restaurants that she got from her sister who still lives in Graz. There is one quite close to us in the town of Ehrenhausen. We find that easily. This is a more upscale type of eatery than what we've been going to. Yes you can buy wine there but they don't really have tasting as we know it. Plus the wines they're selling are very pricey, not the kind of thing we want for just daily drinking.
(Side note: This is a part of Europe that is not frequented by lots of tourists from outside of the German speaking world. Very little is translated into multiple languages. We've had to really work on communication with a lot of patience from those on the other side because of our non-existent German. The two translation appps we have - Google Translation and Speak and Translate have been pretty ineffective and just about worthless when it comes to menu translation.)
The town is pretty as so many of them are here and we do a post lunch walk. Then on to the weinstrasse. We are not two minutes out of town when it appears like Xanadu revealing itself from the mists - A Winery with Tasting Room! There's a lovely young lady who has pretty good English and we taste seven wines (I spit when tasting because I'm driving). We buy six bottles two each of a dry muscat, a sauvignon blanc, and a pinot noir. The later in particular was a nice surprise as this is not an area known for red wine.
We continued on the weinstrasse through the countryside which was very lovely. They call this the Tuscany of Austria. After a couple of turns we were definitely in wine tourism central though we didn't see another new world type tasting room again. As we got back to the city, we stopped to buy some of that toasted pumpkin seed oil (kuerbiskernoel). I wanted to get a roasted chicken so I didn't have to cook but there was nothing like that in the grocery store. But going out of the parking lot, low and behold there is a small vendor with...chickens roasting on a spit! So we had a salad made with the kuerbiskernoel vinaigrette, roast chicken, and newly acquired wine.
The Roman Museum
Looks pretty impressive, no?
Not really. There was very little to see. Mostly the outlines of where the buildings were and a few places where there was some excavation. We were fortunate in that there was at least on sign in English.
(Note: don't get me wrong, I don't think that others should be obliged to learn my language. That's my problem. It's just that we've gotten spoiled because in international tourism so many places we go, English is used as a kind of lingua franca.)
This a much more upscale place
A nice open kitchen. There weren't that many folks in the restaurant and there a lot of people working in the kitchen. There was a wine festival that started the next day so I suspect they were going to have many more for dinner.
Open kitchen - It was fun to see the dishes being prepared.
Wife had a dish of local carp, with cooked cucumbers, some noodles, fresh dill, a very light cream sauce/foam and some fresh horseradish. Carp gets a bad rap in the US but it is just one of many things Americans have food hang ups on that are not borne out when you taste them.
I had a ragout of local porcini mushrooms that are in season
Pictures of Ehrenhausen complete with local church and castle (natch)
Wine Tasting Success!
Thank you Johann Erzherzog Winery!
Finally typical Weinstrasse scenery
There were many more places to stop so I was able to take more pictures.