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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Polz and Tement from Austria's Styria‏

In the south of Austria near the Slovenian and Italian borders, Styria (known locally as Steiermark)  is a high-altitude land of hills, valleys and pre-historic fossil reefs warmed by southerly air currents that produces highly distinctive wines.

Piercingly crisp, thrillingly racy and lushly aromatic, Styria's entry-level klassic wines make great aperitifs, whilst higher up the scale, the richer, fuller, barrel-fermented wines will stand up to meaty white fish, chicken and lighter game.

Favoured grape varieties here are Chardonnay (unoaked and known as Morillon), Gelber Muskateller and, especially, Sauvignon Blanc.

Two of my favourite Styrian producers are Polz and Tement, and I got a chance to catch up with them at the Annual Tasting of Austrian Wines in London last month.

For more on the wineries themselves, check out my reviews from last year's tasting on Polz and Tement here:

Polz - http://cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/polz-styrian-terroir-elevation-and.html
Tement - http://cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/styrias-tement.html


Sauvignon Blanc 2010 - grown on mixed soils and fermented in stainless steel, this is aromatic and peppery with good structure.

Therese Sauvignon Blanc 2010 - from a single vineyard of 9ha at around 480m, this is grown on schist and fermented in stainless steel; less aromatic on the nose it is more mouthfilling and mineral.

Grassnitzberg Traminer 2008 - classic varietal gewurz aromas, good minerality and structure, dryish on the finish.

Hochgrassnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc 2009 - grown on limestone at 390m, this has been made in a Burgundian style since 2006 with fermentation in old oak -from a cool-ish year, it feels less open and tropical; tighter, more closed, there's a natural savoury depth with spice and smokiness, great finesse.


Gelber Muskateller Klassic 2010 - fermented in stainless steel from mixed vineyards, there is an expressive varietal nose of gooseberries and nettles, good structure and some flintiness.

Sauvignon Blanc Klassic 2010 - greener aromas on the nose and palate, good rounded acidity, some flintiness, balanced, elegant and focused.

Grassnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc 2010 - grown on shell limestone, this feels more weighty on the palate with less aromatic expression; savoury with a creamy texture and a minerally finish.

Zieregg Sauvignon Blanc 2009 - toasty smokiness on the nose and palate, it is savoury with a creamy texture and depth of flavour, long mineral finish.

Recommended Wines

These were all good wines and choice is really only dictated by budget as quality increases reliably as you move up the scale.

Whilst the entry-level wines are great, especially if you are looking for an introduction, for me the best wines are the Polz Hochgrassnitzberg SB and the Tement Zieregg SB.

Polz is imported by Clark Foyster, Tement is part of Austria's Fine Brands.


Polz - http://www.polz.co.at/
Clark Foyster - http://www.clarkfoysterwines.co.uk/
Tement - http://www.tement.at/
Austria's Fine Brands - http://www.austriasfinebrands.com/

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