Sabathi Possnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc 2005, 750 mlfrom Sabathi (View all)
At the 2006 VieVinum in Vienna, respected Austrian wine critic Michael Pronay proclaimed this wine to be the best Styrian Sauvignon Blanc of the year. We certainly agree, with its sharp paprika and citrus notes which lay alongside grassy aromas, and its extremely elegant structure with complex, fruit forward flavors on the palate.
The Possnitzberg is winemaker Erwin Sabathi’s flagship wine each year, and tends to be a little restrained in its youth but has great aging potential. This is due to that magical combination of climate, vinification, talent and terroir. The Possnitzberg mountain produces wines with a wide body and high concentration. This is due to a soil called Pararinza: 15 to 16 million years ago maritime sediments created the base to this soil. Under the exclusion of oxygen a severe rock, commonly referred to as Glimmer formed. When this stone weathers the iron inclusions oxidize resulting in Felsbraunerde, a brown heavy soil packed with nutrients. This soil causes sweet, exotic notes in the wine and extends cellar life, probably due to the extra concentration and power it adds to the Possnitzberg Sauvignon Blancs.
|Falstaff Wine Guide||94 - “In the nose intense green pepper, some gooseberry, vegetal nuances dominate, some grapefruit peel. On the palate mighty, complex, some citrus fruit, elegant structure, shows already good length, resonates with beautiful fruit.”|
|A la Carte||93 - “Very ripe, dense, juicy nose. Sauerkraut and sweet pickle, deep and dense. Amazingly fine, round bite, the total fruit blast, a sensation of a Sauvignon Blanc.”|
|Wine & Spirits||90 - “Ripe, creamy notes of nectarine, Asian pear, cucumber and green pea are luscious and rich, framed by judiciously balanced oak. It feels more influenced by warm weather and international taste than the Poharnig, but it also shows a lot of finesse.”|
|Beverage Testing Institute||N/A - “Brilliant golden-straw hue. Fragrant smoky aromas show a touch of oak over a core of very ripe pear flavors. A zesty entry leads a full-bodied palate with a rich, generous texture. Bright acidity makes for a clean finish.”|
|Bottle size (ml)||750 ml|
|Residual Sugar||2.1 g/l|
|Cellar potential||now to 2020|
Erwin Sabathi is counted among a small group of young vintners who are already ranked among the best in Austria. He works alongside his two brothers; Gert shares the duties in the vineyards and in the cellar and Christoph handles the business of the business. Barely out of their twenties, they are already busily transforming the family winery, which boasts cellars dating back to the 17th century, into a modern monolith of winemaking. The new vast premises are fully equipped with the latest technologies and the building reaches deep into the side of one of the rolling hills that this region is famed for. It's a design that keeps the beauty of the “Tuscany of Austria” intact while serving the growing demand for their top quality wines. This fast-track forward mentality is perhaps due to the fact that, by Austrian standards, the Sabathi's are newcomers to winemaking: Erwin and his brothers are (just) the third generation, the family having arrived in Styria in 1938.
95% of the 30 acres of vineyards are planted with white grape varietals, making them white wine specialists. From the P÷ssnitzberg and Poharnig vineyards come beautifully clear and ripe Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays. Those named for the single vineyard they come from are exceptional and are rivaled only by those in the “Merveilleux” line, all of them getting scores in the mid-90's from the Austrian wine guide Falstaff.
Styria, sometimes known as the “Tuscany of Austria”, is truly as beautiful a wine country as can be found anywhere in the world. Divided into 3 areas, Western Styria (Weststeiermark), Southeastern Styria (Sud-oststeiermark), and Southern Styria (Sudsteiermark) of which the last is perhaps the best known.
The 4700 acres of Southern Styria borders Slovenia, where the cultivation of vines has been going on almost uninterrupted since Imperial times. It enjoys a climate like that of the rest of Southern Europe and is planted almost exclusively with white varietals. Of those, it is most famous for its Sauvignon Blancs which have a structure and fruitiness which rivals the best of what the New World has to offer.
For more than one hundred years they have been making Chardonnay, which they call Morillon, which is for the most part the opposite of the often over-oaked California version. Here you can taste the fruit in this wine. You will also find crisp Pinot Gris, exciting Pinot Blancs, as well as other “lesser known” varietals.
In Western Styria there is a truly regional rose wine being made from the Blauer Wildbacher grape called Schilcher. To the uninitiated palate it is almost undrinkable for its high acid content, and it is said to make one extremely aggressive. Here they don’t worry about exporting, as the majority of the small amount produced is all but totally consumed in the local heurigers (wine gardens).
Südsteiermark, Southern Styria, rolls over quite a geological kaleidoscope of soil types: from sand to slate, from marl to fossil-limestone. A warm and moist Mediterranean climate provides excellent conditions for growers who have made their mark on the world-stage with Sauvignon Blanc, driven to extremes of aromaticity by the mineral influence of the various soils. The vegetation season spreads itself out late into the autumn and the nights are cool all along the way.
There are almost 2,000 hectares of vines growing in the wildly romantic landscape of Southern Styria, where the extremely hilly terrain provides most of the hundred-some growers with plenty of exercise as they first cultivate and then harvest their vines.
Other varieties producing idiomatic and tempting wines include Traminer, Muskateller, Welschriesling (no relation, it's the Italico, not the true Rhine Riesling) and Chardonnay, here called Morillon. Current national borders are not always consistent with tradition and history. Untersteiermark, Lower Styria, lies below the Austrian border in Slovenia.