Winemaker Armin Tement of Austria passed through New York the other day, which gave me a chance to taste some of the most distinctive Sauvignon Blancs being made anywhere in the world (truly). Weingut Tement is located in southern Steiermark (Styria), right against the Slovenian border, on limestone soils that give its Sauvignons distinctive lemon and fennel notes. It isn’t an easy place to grow grapes—according to Tement, it’s both Europe’s coldest wine region and its wettest. But when conditions are right, the wines are superb.
2012 Weingut Tement Sauvignon Blanc Berghausener ($22). The winery’s basic Sauvignon Blanc—lightly herbal but not in a New Zealand green peppery way—is a blend from several local vineyards.
2012 Weingut Tement Sauvignon Blanc Grassnitzberg Erste Lage ($29). Savory and incredibly stony on the finish, this comes from Tement’s coolest vineyard. Armin Tement says, “For me, this wine is like a breeze off the sea, very salty, very elegant.”
2012 Weingut Tement Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage ($50). The winery’s top bottling is rich and textural, with powerful lemon flavors and a minerally end.
2007 Weingut Tement Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage (NA). A library sample at the tasting revealed that, contrary to what people tend to think, great Sauvignon Blanc can age gorgeously. This was supple and layered, with lemon cream, cassis and black pepper notes.