Continuing on our path of the exploration of the flavors of some of our favorite grapes, we’re headed south today to Styria (aka Steiermark) where Sauvignon Blanc’s production, making up 12.10% of the total vineyard area, is tied for second-most with Weissburgunder and behind Welschriesling, but to a large degree Sauvignon Blanc is Styria’s specialty. Overall, however, Sauvignon Blanc makes up roughly just 2% of Austria’s production.
Although we don’t see as much as we’d like in the US market, these delectable examples are known for their subtle herbal notes, with soft fruit flavors, expressive minerality and lots of acid. The best examples, often having undergone some oak aging and malolactic fermentation, are suitable for aging and become better integrated in their flavors as they do so. Sauvignon Blanc calls for meager soils to help control the vigorous nature of the vine – the thicker the leaves, the stronger the “green pepper and grassy notes” will be.
As noted, Sauvignon Blanc is often equated to a grassy, green grape with pungent flavors – particularly those examples coming from New Zealand. Austrian Sauvignon Blanc, in general, seems to align more closely with those of the Loire Valley, France offering the hint of green and pungency wine consumers have come to expect, but also with a soft, tropical character boasting grapefruit, gooseberry, and black currant as well as noticeable spicy notes.
Some producers to look out for in the US: Neumeister, Lackner-Tinnacher, Sattlerhof, Sabathi Possnitzberg