Abstract work on paper by the artist Jürgen Messensee (c) Foto Strasswirt

Messensee red & Messensee white

Strasserwirt, Tyrol, Austria

Mysteriously blending the juice of the grape, hospitable tradition, and creative talent

Two exquisite wines with historical depth and rich aroma which also breathe the essence of figurative painting. The name Messensee was not chosen by chance! It is the name of a section of the small village of Strassen in Eastern Tyrol, of which the “Strasserwirt – Ansitz zu Tirol” has been a part for centuries.

It has been historically chronicled since around 1399, though a noble family – the Lords of “Maessense” – can be traced back even earlier. Their disappearance into the shadows of the past gave rise to fantastical popular legends, extending to Roman times and retold to this very day.

Legends speak of an all-consuming landslide, a game with golden skittles played by local miners, the outbreak of a mountain lake as punishment for nefarious deeds, or the intervention of a mighty giant.

Abstract work on paper by the artist Jürgen Messensee (c) Foto Strasswirt
 A red and a white wine bottle next to each other on a table in the Strasserwirt, with labels designed by the artist Jürgen Messensee, in the background a grey tiled stove (c) Photo Strasserwirt

Unusual table wines labes by Jürgen Messensee

All of these tales are encapsulated within the toponym “Messa”: supposedly the name of a Roman town or ancient settlement at this location. The “lake” that was appended to the more recent name once lay in the valley bottom, having silted up completely by around 1500.

It is no coincidence that these table wines are adorned with unusual labels – designed by none other than Jürgen Messensee (*1936). He is widely known to the public through his expressive works of art found in the Albertina, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, and the Leopold Museum. Who better to represent the connection between local history and a tumultuous family saga than he? Though he grew up in Vienna, the artist feels a strong connection to Tyrol and a sense of duty to that province.

Messensee white & red are not just accompaniments to a delicious menu but also offer a surprising artistic highlight in their own right.

Dr. Andreas Rauchegger, cultural historian


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