2017 Weingut Tement, Sauvignon Blanc, Reid Grassnitzberg, STK 1er Cru, Südsteinermark DAC, Styria, Austria.
An area that doesn’t get much attention, but one that can producer remarkable Sauvignon Blanc, like this wine from the renown Tement winery in southern Austria, a region very different from the other parts of Austria, like the Wachau or Bergenland in the northeast of the county where Gruner Veltliner and or Blaufrankisch are more famously grown. This aromatic and crisply dry2017 Tement Reid Grassnitzberg Sauvignon is a very distant white wine with a steely mineral core and stony elements on display behind layers of lemon/lime, guava, gooseberry and white orchard fruits. There’s tons of personality here and terroir character shows throughout, the single vineyard Grassnitzberg was the first vineyard owned by the Tement family and was planted in the early 1950’s, making for old vine concentration as well. The medium bodied bone dry palate delivers exceptional quality and highlights Armin Tement’s gifted touch and the careful and organic work in the vineyard. The Grassnitzberg Vineyard, as the winery states, is a special site with coralline limestone soil with south-southeast facing slopes, which adds to the complexity and the ripe nature in the wines, with this wine adding spicy accents, a crystalline mineral note and a faint trace of grassy herbs that provides a nice contrast to that expressive tropical fruit. A big thank you to my friend Alex Lallos, who kindly shared this bottle and reminded me just how good this producer and region’s wine are, it is nice to have colleagues that are curious and keep you on your toes.
Weingut Tement is a small family run winery, run by vigneron Armin Tement, who took over from his father Manfred and turned this label in to one of world’s Sauvignon Blanc producers, he is supported by brother Stefan and his wife Monika, along with his parents who continue to help out here at this Styrian estate. Armin has since then made Weingut Tement Southern Austria’s number one artisan winegrower and who’s father has helped create what is known as STK, the official Styrian Terroir and Klassik growers association that has lifted the image in this lesser known region. Over the years Tement has built a huge reputation for their Sauvignon Blanc, in fact they have won the title of world’s best Sauvignon Blanc many times, and tasting this single vineyard wine certainly cements that view and honor, it is a serious version of this grape, putting it in league with some of top names in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume with Dageneau coming to mind. The single vineyard wines, including this Reid Grassnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc, are made without any sulfur during vinification or aging. These whites, mainly Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which is known as Morillon locally, only get a little sulfur at bottling, allowing the wines to display a full expression of their sites. They are fermented and lees aged in large neutral Austrian oak barrels for eighteen to twenty months to develop their full range of flavors and texture and are bottled without filtration. This pretty, lightly floral and charming pale golden Sauvignon Blanc has a seductive charm and goes great with a range of food, especially soft cheeses, smoke trout and or roast poultry, keep an eye out for these Tement SBs, they are rare, wildly enertaining and delicious treats!
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive