‘I don’t see anybody else producing wine on this level in Austria, and even in other German-speaking countries, there is perhaps only Markus Molitor from the Mosel on those heights’ – Stephen Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate, 2019.
Last year, we introduced clients to an Austrian producer who, quite frankly, blew us away with the world-class quality of their wines, not only of their top cuvées, but across the whole range. Following the success of last year’s offer, and since we had been so impressed already, we were looking forward to tasting some new samples which were sent to us last month. To say they did not disappoint would be an understatement. As seems to be the Tement style, the wines were characterised by a remarkable purity; detailed, focused and so expressive.
Weingut Tement is situated in southern Austria towards the Slovenian border in a region known as Südsteiermark (South Styria). Styria is one of the three main regions for wine production in Austria and half of its production comes from South Styria – the region towards the Slovenian border – though it extends over no more than 2,500 hectares. You will not find Grüner Veltliner or Riesling dominating wine production here, but rather Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon (the local name for Chardonnay).
The Tement winery itself lies on a small plateau above the Zieregg vineyard, affording dramatic views into neighbouring Slovenia. Interestingly, the Tement family also own Domaine Ciringa over the Slovenian border, where they produce wines from the continuation of the Zieregg vineyard, ‘Ciringa’ in Slovenian. Today, it is brothers Armin and Stefan who run the estate, together with their father Manfred. All their holdings are cultivated organically and both estates were certified organic in 2018 after a lengthy conversion process – they have been part of the Demeter Association since 2022.
A great deal of care is taken to elevate quality. Yields are kept low, only indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation and the leading wines are fermented and then aged in large old oak foudre for up to 20 months. Minimal sulphur is employed, and only at bottling, and all the wines are bottled with a glass stopper so there is no impact from any defective corks. Everything is about revealing the terroir as clearly as possible, and it is that clarity that renders this range so compelling. These are truly outstanding wines.
In this offer, I have chosen to focus on two wines, both of which are Morillon. The first is the new vintage of the Ried Sulz Morillon which we offered last year – Ried Sulz is a site which is classified as ‘Erste Lage’ which essentially means Premier Cru. Ried Sulz is a well-protected, warmer site with loamy, chalk and marl soils, known locally as Opok. At its highest point, Sulz stretches to 490 metres in altitude. The second wine, which we have not offered before, is their Muschelkalk Morillon, so named because of the shell limestone soils. The Muschelkalk Morillon represents the first rung on the qualitative ladder at Tement, and as such offers considerable value and it really punches above its weight.
We will be offering more wines from Tement in due course, so please do keep an eye out for our offers…these inevitably sell through quickly. If you have tasted these wines, you know how fine they are. If you have not yet had the pleasure, I could not recommend them more highly – I think they are outstanding.
One final word - I recommend decanting these an hour or so before serving, and take care with the serving temperature, they are best when not served too chilled.
No critic has yet tasted the current releases, so please see my notes below: