Tement 2018 Sauvignon Blanc
A few years ago researching a trip to Austria, I became curious about the Sauvignon Blanc wines from Austria, apparently extremely popular in Austria! Wine critics scored them well too.
I pretty much fell out of love with Sauvignon Blanc based on the ubiquity of what New Zealand SB had become, and the fact that the best from Sancerre are getting harder and harder to find and when you do are really expensive ($50-200!?).
I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed many of the wines I tried at dinner or at wineries on that trip to Austria, but sadly there is VERY LITTLE of it here in the US. Then, a year later I tried a mini-vertical of the "IZ" from Tement, their top wine, and I will proudly state it as one of a handful of the greatest Sauvignon Blanc in the world.
So, what is Styrian Sauvignon Blanc like? What is the Styrian terroir like?
- Southern Styria (aka Südsteiermark) is south and a little west of Vienna in the eastern half of Austria, or "lower Austria" on the border with Slovenia and a small part touches Hungary.
- The climate is a warmer than Sancerre and the Loire, with cool nights. It is still relatively cool compared to new world SB regions like California or New Zealand.
- The soils are diverse: limestone with clay are abundant, but there is also sand, gravel, and shiste.
- Altitudes can vary and the region is extremely hilly, with the best sites, of course, on the higher altitude hillsides. Altitudes can vary from a few hundred to several hundred meters.
Styrian Sauvignon Blanc in style has the minerality and citrus fruit of Sancerre, with more body but without the cat pee, gooseberry and pungent grapefruit and tropical fruit of most New Zealand SBs. In other words they are EXCELLENT!
- Tement is the top producer of Sauvignon Blanc and other white wines in Austria
- Vine age 10-60 years
- Soils: Mix terroir, mainly limestone with clay but also sand, gravel and shiste - altitude 300-600 m sea level
- Viticulture: Practicing Organic, certified in 2017
- Steel tank fermented and aged on the lees in large German wooden oak foudre (neutral wood impact)