From: Südsteiermark, SE Austria (near the Slovenian border)
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Taste & Critical Acclaim: Absolutely gorgeous, and we couldn’t agree more with these tasting notes. It’s interesting to read Armin Tement’s quote on the 2022 Kalk & Kreid below because we were not only blown away by the quality of the wine but were amazed by the fact that this layered, nuanced, lovely wine is Tement’s regional Sauvignon Blanc bottling that comes from 50 different sites.
94 pt Tasting from 10.07.2023: Peter Moser
“Light yellow-green, with silver reflections. Subtle nuances of fresh gooseberries, guava, lovely savoury herbs, white apple. Juicy, with a fine fruit sweetness, an elegant structure, white stone fruit on the finish, a hint of lime in the aftertaste, already drinking well.”
92 points Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate, September 29, 2023
""We never had a quality like this before in this category," says Armin Tement. He even feared that the wine could be too complex for a generic wine. Indeed, the 2022 Sauvignon Blanc Kalk & Kreide opens with an intense and concentrated, grassy and stony but also earthy and intense bouquet of ripe and concentrated fruits, crushed salt and lemon aromas. Fermented in stainless steel and large oak vats until the bottling in May this year (there is a bottling every single month starting with April), this is a full-bodied, complex and vibrantly fresh and phenolic Sauvignon with still-challenging grip but excellent potential. It's very intense and juicy but still terribly young. With over 100,000 bottles produced, this is the signature wine of the domaine. "
Pairing: You can pair this lovely white wine with a ton of dishes, including Spanish tapas and Mediterranean cuisine— especially those that center around fresh ingredients and seafood, and of course, foods from Vienna. Austrian food is most often associated with Viennese cuisine, which the Austro-Hungarian Empire has influenced over centuries. Sure, it can be hearty and filling, but it’s not always. Wiener Schnitzel, Langos (fried potato bread), Spargel (asparagus), boiled or smoked fish (or even sausages) with sauerkraut and dumplings (check out the recipe below) are all delicious pairings.
‘Choucroute’ of Fish
By Mark Bittman
"I am possibly repeating myself in saying that Armin Tement (supported by brother Stefan and his wife Monika as well as his parents Manfred and Heidi) has made Weingut Tement Austria’s number one wine producer. Although it has been one of the country’s finest wine addresses already during the 1990s and 2000s by Armin’s father Manfred, the son has pushed the limits even farther. In terms of size, sophisticated winemaking and the immense range of high-quality wines, I don’t see anybody else producing wine on this level in Austria...”
—Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
Many thanks to importer David Bowler for the following. Armin Tement happily joined his family winery in Sudsteiermark (South Styria) in 2005. His father, Manfred Tement, had over time, firmly established Weingut Tement as a benchmark producer for Styrian Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon. Manfred was one of the founders of STK (Styrian Terroir and Klassik Wine growers association) in 1986. STK was established because there were no government regulations established at the time for making fine wine in the region. Manfred preferred Sauvignon Blanc to the most widely planted and highly productive Welschriesling. It was a big step to prioritize quality over quantity and eventually in 1991, Tement was recognized by the German magazine, Der Feinschmecker, for making the ‘world’s best Sauvignon Blanc’, essentially putting Tement and this small winegrowing region on the international wine map.
When Armin joined in 2005, his goal was not only to make an unequivocal Styrian wine, but also a wine that expresses, in his words, ‘Tement’s own style”. With the support of the family, Armin began following organic agriculture, eventually converting all eighty hectares over the next ten years and becoming certified organic in the 2018 vintage. South Styria gets a lot of rain and incredibly, Armin, Stefan, and Manfred have converted all of their sites to biodynamic agriculture, 2022 is the first vintage certified biodynamic by both Demeter and Respekt. There are three main weather influences that are a part of the terroir here: the Adriatic Sea to the south brings storms and rain, the Pannonian Plain brings hot and dry weather, and the Alps bring cool air at night.
Styria is one of the three major growing regions in Austria and it’s the smallest with 4,633 hectares planted. The subregion of Sudsteiermark, or South Styria, covers 2,563 hectares and it lies on the border with Slovenia. Styria is quite different from the rest of Austria as the main white varietal is neither Grüner nor Riesling, but Sauvignon Blanc!
Other white varieties also do well here, notably Gelber Muskateller, Pinot Blanc, and Morillon, the local name for Chardonnay. In Sudsteiermark, the wines are categorized by quality level, with regional wines at the entry level, village wines are a step up in quality and represent the terroir of the village, and the single vineyard wines are the pinnacle. All of the wines are labeled “Sudsteiermark DAC”. Tement makes wines from three villages, Ehrenhausen, Gamlitz, and Kitzeck-Sausal. And the highest quality wines are single vineyard sites which are designated either Erste Lagen or Grosse Lagen, the equivalent of premier cru or grand cru. The most famous site in Sudsteiermark is Zieregg where both Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon are planted.
Tement is specialized in making exceptional single-vineyard wines, but the flagship is the regional Sudsteiermark Sauvignon Blanc “Kalk & Kreide”. It is a blend from fifty sites and the name describes the main terroir, limestone and clay. Like all of their wines, the grapes are harvested by hand, undergo a maceration of twelve to twenty-four hours and then fermentation happens spontaneously with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel.
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