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NEW: The outstanding 2019 releases from Weingut Tement : 'Austria's number one wine producer'

May 2022

The outstanding 2019 releases 
from Weingut Tement

'Austria's number one wine producer'

2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Ried Zieregg - £225 per 6 bottle case in bond
2019 Morillon, Ried Sulz - £135 per 6 bottle case in bond

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This is a truly exciting producer. Individuality, world-class quality and outstanding potential for patient cellarage and all from a less well-known region…
 
After my interest was piqued by a glowing set of reviews from the Wine Advocate’s Stephen Reinhardt, I read up on this Austrian estate and ordered an extensive set of samples, so that I could see if the wines of Weingut Tement lived up to their billing. Frankly, I was stunned; the range from top to bottom has a ring of quality about it that I seldom encounter – there was not a single underperforming wine, irrespective of vintage or level. Dedicated viticulture and skilled winemaking result in wines of fine purity and persistence; I could quite easily endorse the entry wines from this range as they revealed qualities above their price point. The real magic, however, starts further upstream.
 
Any wine critic who makes a statement as bold as the following from Stephen Reinhardt must be sure of their facts: ‘I don’t see anybody else producing wine on this level in Austria’. In the same article he states that Weingut Tement is ‘Austria’s number one wine producer’, adding that it had been ‘one of the country’s finest wine addresses already during the 1990s and 2000s’ yet ‘the son has pushed the limits even farther.’
 

I haven’t tasted widely in Austria, something which, after my tasting of the Tement range, I am keen to rectify.
 
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 to less 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. Wines in South Styria are classified into three tiers: regional or entry level wines, then village wines and at the top, single vineyard wines from Erste Lage (essentially Premier Cru) and Grosse Lage (Grand Cru). The leading Grand Cru is undoubtedly Zieregg, home to outstanding Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay (Morillon). The greatest sites within their vineyard holdings are located high up, facing south-east or south-west.
 
The wines of Tement are remarkably pure and very detailed; such results do not come about without great care and attention. 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.
 
For this offer, I am focusing on two wines, one Morillon and one Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon comes from the ‘Grand Cru’ of Zieregg, mentioned above, a remarkably steep vineyard ranging from 330-490 metres with a south/south-west exposure. The soils here are very specific, as the area was covered by an ocean 15 million years ago and benefits from a coralline limestone-based soil – there is no denying the distinctive mineral quality in the resultant wine. The Morillon comes from the ‘Premier Cru’ of Ried Sulz, which 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.


2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Ried Zieregg, Weingut Tement
£225 per 6 bottle case in bond

My note:
Green-gold in hue. Revealing pure aromas of currant leaf, aromatic herb, a certain flinty quality as well as a mouth-watering juicy lime. The palate is so poised – this is an extraordinary Sauvignon Blanc, on the one hand showing limey citrus fruits, hinting towards guava and passionfruit. Then, on the other hand, it shows a scintillating acidity, mineral infused and almost spritzy. Saline with a wealth of mouthwatering fruit, there is a terrific concentration to the fruit on the palate, held in check by a taut, mineral frame. Long, pure, and so beautifully expressed, with a chalky quality that lingers forever. This Zieregg simply has to be tasted, but be patient; this is a unique style of Sauvignon which demands patience. Unexpected and frankly, one of a rare breed of truly great Sauvignon. (SL) 2025 to 2040.  
  

96+ points, Stephen Reinhardt, robertparker.com
Dense, ripe and tight on the nose, the 2019 Ried Zieregg Sauvignon Blanc is surprisingly cool and elegant yet aromatic. Dense and taut yet very elegant and balanced on the palate, this is a compact, salty and persistently complex Sauvignon classic from the Zieregg, but perhaps also as akin in essence to the Grassnitzberg as is otherwise rare (or at all). It still needs an enormous amount of time. 13% stated alcohol. Glass stopper. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2021. Drink 2027-2050.




2019 Morillon, Ried Sulz, Weingut Tement
£135 per 6 bottle case in bond
 
My note:
Pale lemon in the glass, with fresh, floral aromas. Pure, complex and refined, with a very slight touch of oak, though nothing obvious, and gentle leesy notes. With air, it starts to remind me of Burgundy, perhaps Pouilly-Fuissé with that floral touch. There is surprising substance here, with creamy, rich citrus and orchard fruits. A beautiful, racy acidity lends plenty of direction to a palate that has a resonant, mineral backbone. Long and pure, the signature of all Tement wines. Something else has me thinking of Burgundy…then it hits me – it has the crystalline combination of mineral notes and citrus oil nuances that often leads me to Puligny-Montrachet. Give this wine air, as it simply shows better and better, revealing a sneaky concentration. Outstanding and bags of potential. (SL) Drink: 2024 to 2035. 


93 points, Stephen Reinhardt, robertparker.com
The barrel-fermented premier cru (1STK) 2019 Morillon Ried Sulz opens with a fresh, intense, yeasty and slightly oaky bouquet that seems deeper, toastier and more intense than the corresponding Pinot Blanc (Weisser Burgunder). On the palate, this is a rich yet vital, vibrantly fresh and sustainably structured Chardonnay from coolish calcareous marl soils located in a warm site. An impressive wine that needs a few years to open up and flow free. 12.5% stated alcohol. Glass stopper. Tasted in December 2021. Drink 2025-2040
 
These represent an exceptional couple of highly individual wines with great potential for cellarage. When you do open them, decant them and give them sufficient chance to breathe – each improved immeasurably with time in the glass even after decanting.
 
Please let us know of your interest.
 
All the best,
 
Simon

Ried-Zieregg-Sauvignon-Blanc (1)
Ried-Sulz-Morillon

To request a wine, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Atlas team. We can be reached on +44 (0) 20 3017 2299, info@atlasfinewines.com or by submitting the form below. Please note that stock may be limited and is always sold on a 'first come, first serve' basis. 

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

Atlas House, 1 King Street
London, EC2V 8AU
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
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