I am possibly repeating myself in saying that Armin Tement (supported by brother Stefan and his wife Monika as well as his parents Manfred and Heidi) has made Weingut Tement Austria’s number one wine producer. Although it has been one of the country’s finest wine addresses already during the 1990s and 2000s by Armin’s father Manfred, the son has pushed the limits even farther. In terms of size, sophisticated winemaking and the immense range of high-quality wines, I don’t see anybody else producing wine on this level in Austria... —Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Armin Tement, Monika Tement (Armin’s wife), Stefan Tement (Armin’s brother), Manfred Tement (Armin’s father) and Heidi Tement (Armin’s mother)
(From left to right: Stefan, Manfred, Heidi, Armin, Monika)
In pursuit of perfection. This was the first Styrian winery to win international recognition, but the accolades have only pushed them to craft ever more chiseled expressions of place. Decidedly classic in style and flavor, but natural in method.
Three competing weather patterns converge in Styria.
- Wet, warm air from the mediterranean in the south. Very high precipitation annually and all the disease pressure to go with it.
- Hot, dry air from across the Pannonian plane to the east. Helps with ripening, concentration and disease pressure.
- Cold breezes from the west and north flow down the alps, ensuring bright acidity and freshness in all the wines.
- Zieregg: Arguably the best Grand Cru site in Styria. The Tement family has decided to split this large vineyard into four distinct, named sites to further explore the nuances specific to each. All are at 1,000 feet to 1,350 feet elevation. What is now simply, Zieregg, is south-facing and covered in pure coral limestone. Wines from here are about as perfect as they come, combining elegance, finesse, intensity, concentration, and length, no matter the grape variety. Both the Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon (Chardonnay) seem expensive, but a pittance compared to Grand Cru Burgundy, whose quality they far exceed in most circumstances.
- Zieregg Kår: Pronounced “Koar” which means “cool hill” for its south-west exposure. Soil is marl over coral limestone and the wines here have more tension and a tighter structure, if not quite so much density and concentration.
- Zieregg Kapelle: A plateau at the top of the hill, getting sunshine all day long with heavy clay topsoil. This means richer wines, although not overly so, as they are tempered by the cooling air of the surrounding forest. Keep these for the long haul as they have gobs of concentration for development.
- Zieregg Steilriegel: The oldest family plot, the most complex wines, everything is turned up a notch here. Pure limestone soil and all the structure, acid and minerality that come with it.
- Grassnitzberg Riff: A terraced site in a closed off valley with a south-southeastern exposure 900-1,260 feet high. The soils are sandy-loam with coral limestone for a slightly more open knit fruit, but the very cold nights mean searing acidity and a salty, mineral tang.
- Wielitschberg: Their warmest west facing site with clay over marl and limestone. Traminer, or Gewürtztraminer finds itself perfectly at home here, where it archives both adequate ripeness to showcase the typical perfume, spice and fruit notes but with more freshness and silky texture than most.
- Sulz: Here we find “Opok” the classic Styrian soil of loamy chalk and marl that give the region its distinctive minerality. A warmer site with south, southwestern exposure with an elevation up to 1,470 feet make it well suited for Pinot Blanc and Morillon. Wines from here are built to last and are best with at least 5 years before opening, I’d say give it 10-20 if you can.
- Ottenberg: Another plateau at 990 feet elevation with sandy topsoil over limestone. Home to Welschriesling, normally an innocuous workhorse variety, finds new life with more mineral than fruit and a balanced structure.
- Sernau König: One of the most unique sites in the line up defined by its soaring elevation, up to 1,500 feet and the Drau river at its base, layering gravel and alluvial soil over millennia. Besides the elevation, the surrounding forest protects it from wind, but also keeps temperatures lower for spine tingling acidity and inimitable minerality. It also lends to a greener-more garrigue focused profile with tarragon, lime pith, pine and mint imbued wines.
Grape Varieties |
- Sauvignon Blanc. Now the most typical grape of the region, but it was Manfred’s passion for the variety and focus on it and Morillon that helped catapult it's now lofty reputation. The style is unique for this very popular grape. Very old-world and mineral driven, not quite as austere as Sancerre, or fruity, sweet or green as New Zealand, more of the body and richness of Bordeaux, but without the new oak or blending partner of Semillon. An excellent addition to the repertoire of any lover of crisp, intense, semi-aromatic, white wine.
- Morillon = Chardonnay. The 2nd most planted white grape in the world finds a comfortable second home in Styria. The best are on par with the 1er and Grand Cru white Burgundies, often for a fraction of the price.
- Welschriesling: Not to be confused with Riesling. This is a workhorse grape, capable of high yields and made for easy drinking, simple wines. In the right sites, with old vines and well farmed you can create some mineral driven delicious little bottles.
- Others: Gelber Muskateller, Blaufränkisch, Gewüztraminer, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), and Zweigelt.
- Manfred changed from bulk to fine wine production in the 80s, but the typical conventional methods of his time.
- Armin started conversion to organic viticulture in 2005.
- All 80 hectares were certified organic by 2018.
- In 2022 all vineyards are now doubly certified biodynamic by both Demeter and Respekt.
- Everything is hand harvested, a feat with that much acreage on such steep slopes.
Cellar Work |
“Tement’s own style” - Armin Tement
- Natural, in classic wine’s clothing
- 12-24 hour maceration before pressing
- Spontaneous fermentation with wild yeast
- Non-single vineyard cuvée are fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks
- Aged for 6 months on the lees
- Single vineyard bottlings are all fermented and aged in large, neutral oak barrels
- Age for 18-24 months on the lees
- Wines see no sulfur until bottling
About the winery |
Manfred Tement was the first of his kind, favoring Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon over Welschriesling. Before he started in 1986 this was an innocuous, bulk wine region, with most wine being consumed by the locals at the charming Heurigen and Budenshank (wine taverns) spread across the beautiful countryside. His commitment to quality took 5 years for anyone to notice, at which point a German wine magazine declared Tement to make the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc.
That’s a lot of praise to live up to, but the family has not tired from always raising the bar and keeping their much deserved attention. Manfred’s sons Armin and Stefan have taken on the task with gusto. Farming has been a huge priority, not only hand harvesting, but conversion to organics and now biodynamics. Ask any farmer in the Finger Lakes, Bordeaux or Galicia, all very wet regions, about the difficulties or organic farming and most will tell you it's just impossible. Especially on 80 hectares in a remote region rife with super steep slopes. They preserve.
In the winery they’ve pulled everything back. Ripeness levels, skin maceration, new oak, temperature control, filtering and sulfur. Today these are as pure an expression of place over winemaking as one can get.
Why aren’t they more famous here? My theory is two fold. Austrian wines in general do not get the attention they deserve. This may be a hold over from the 1984 wine scandal (happened in a totally different region), or assumptions of over ripe-styles based on now outdated Parker years, or just a general aversion to German words and bottles.
The second half is Styrian wine is expensive and their old importers didn’t do them justice in getting the wines in the hands of the right people. These are difficult, remote terrains to work and the thirsty locals could consume everything, if we let them, meaning it's often more economical to sell domestically. So wine from an unknown region starting at $25 and up (prices which don’t seem as crazy today as they did 5 years ago)? It’s a difficult sell and needs the right champions. Bowler & Flatiron are those champions.
What do the wines taste like?
Classic in the best sense of the word. Terroir driven single-vineyard wines are the stars of the show and rife with mineral intensity. While gorgeous on release these are wines that will continue to develop and unfold for years in the cellar. Their diversity in site is rivaled only by Burgundy, Mosel and the Wachau, hence the huge line up of single parcel bottlings, but each is unique and worthy of attention.
But don't miss out on the zippy Kalk & Kreide with your back yard BBQ this summer! This is Styria at its most charming. It is a better value and higher quality than ANY Sancerre at the same price.
Some consider this the world's best Sauvignon Blanc (don't tell Vatan or Vacheron, but it's pretty darn amazing). I’m especially partial to the reductive, limestone-minerality of the Morillon myself.
Tement is the best in the region, one of the very best in Austria, and that puts them in line with the greatest winemakers on earth.
Wines on Offer |
Tement, Gelber Muskateller Sand & Schiefer, 2022 $25.99 $22.87
This organic Gutswein (territory wine) comes from seven of the best single vineyards, grown on sandy (for easy drinking fruity notes) and schist (for a layer of minerality) soils. The grapes were selectively harvested by hand and naturally fermented before aging for six months on lees in a stainless steel tank. A true reflection of South Styrian terroir.
Tement, Gewürztraminer Wielitschberg Erste Lage, 2020 ( 3-btl min.) $49.99 $43.99
Ried (vineyard) Wielitschberg is a perfectly situated site for warmth-loving Traminer with great structure and varietal character. Smoky minerality combined with a delicate bouquet of lilac and chocolate mint, which is reflected on the dry palate with plenty of lively refreshing aromatics. A lighter style than those found in Alsace, more precise finish, a perfect summer-at-the-beach wine.
Tement, Morillon Muschelkalk, 2021 $25.99 $22.87
Morillon is the local name in Styria for Chardonnay. The "Muschelkalk" Morillon is a regional wine that comes entirely from Sudsteiermark vineyards. It's predominantly grown on coralline limestone soil. It spends 18 months of aging on its lees in big, neutral oak casks before being bottled unfiltered. Bright and balanced now, but even better after two-three years of bottle age. This is a great reasonable cellar option. If you haven’t enjoyed Morillon from Styria yet, then you’ve been missing out.
Tement, Morillon Sulz Erste Lage, 2019 $44.99 $39.59
“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. 93 pts” -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Morillon Zieregg Grosse Lage Steilriegel, 2020 $88.99 $78.31
A very special Morillon from a special single parcel of our best site Zieregg. Here the limestone changes to marl, which has more heat storage capacity and is ideal for a fully concentrated, intense style of wine. Cool winds also favor the aromatic expression of the grape. After natural fermentation, 20 months of aging on lees in big, neutral oak casks it is then bottled unfiltered. Better than all but the top Burgundy wines. It will go the distance in your cellar, in your glass and in your memory. This is a not-to-be-missed wine.
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Ehrenhausen Korallenkalk, 2020 $25.99 $22.87
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Grassnitzberg Erste Lage, 2019 $38.99 $34.31
"The 2019 Ried Grassnitzberg Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes quite reductive and needs a lot of air, but it is precise, deep and clear. A second bottle was far better and a clearer Grassnitzberg representative, with a deep, cool and intensely fruity nose with mango notes and fine, smoky spice. Complex, elegant and fine on the palate, this is a full-bodied, juicy, ripe, savory, salty and grippy Sauvignon from Grassnitzberg that is tartly bitter on the finish and needs plenty of time to shine. The 2019 is not at all for young-wine or brand drinkers, but for collectors and connoisseurs of demanding wines. This is a tightly knit, taut, big wine that needs around 10 years before its journey really begins. 13% stated alcohol. Glass stopper. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2021. 96 pts" -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Grassnitzberg Riff Erste Lage, 2020 $47.99 $42.23
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Grassnitzberg Riff Erste Lage, 2020 (1.5L) $101.99 $89.75
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Grassnitzberg Riff Erste Lage, 2020 (3L) $190.00 $167.20
"Tement's former Grassnitzberg comes under a new name since the family opted for a particular naming for the coolest part of the 80-hectare single vineyard that is located on a coral limestone shelf in the southeast-exposed Erste Lage (premier cru). The 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Ried Grassnitzberg Riff 1STK opens very clear with elegant fruit and floral notes on the nose. Almost austere in its phenolic grip on the palate, this is nonetheless an elegant, herbal-fruited Grassnitzberg from the coral limestone reef with a dense, firm-mineral structure and length. Though still a bit restrained, it is a superb Sauvignon that will evolve in bottle. 13% stated alcohol. Vinolok closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. 94+ Pts" -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Kalk & Kreide, 2022 $25.99 $22.87
A hugely varied terroir mix from 55 different Sauvignon Blanc parcels, mainly grown on mineralic limestone soil. It spends six months aging on lees in a stainless steel tank. There is a sharp bite to the acidity, keeping the wine very refreshing against the just ripe fruit. Not exactly old world meets new world, but more like old world meets balance.
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Sernau König Grosse Lage, 2020 ( 3-btl min.) $71.99 $63.35
"From Gamlitz, the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Ried Sernau König GSTK opens with a cool, refreshing, leafy and tart nose with ripe and juicy but also concentrated fruit notes. Dense and powerful on the palate, with tremendous salt and tension, this is a powerful, grippy and long-lasting Sauvignon from the gravelly soil. 13% stated alcohol. Vinolok closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. 95pts" -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage, 2019 $74.99 $65.99
“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. 96+ pts” -- Stephen Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage, 2020 $88.99 $78.31
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage, 2020 (1.5L) $160.00 $140.80
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage, 2020 (3L) $330.00 $290.40
“Armin Tement calls 2020 “the most balanced vintage for ages" and says that the wines are "calm and deep." The 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Ried Zieregg GSTK reveals clear, elegant, bright and fine spicy fruit with grassy, herbal and stony notes. Juicy and powerful on the palate, with plenty of energy and firmly structured length as well as refreshing phenolic notes, this is an elegant, complex and balanced, super persistent and salty-mineral Zieregg with great length and, once again, impressive complexity. 13% stated alcohol. Vinolok closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. 96 pts" -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage IZ Reserve, 2018 $178.99 $157.51
"Tement's 2018 Ried Zieregg GSTK Reserve IZ displays a vigorous yellow color as well as a dense, intense, woodsy nose with ripe, concentrated fruit. It is very present in contrast to earlier vintages, which, for all their fascination, were far more untamed and enigmatic in their youth. The wine is rich and lush on the palate but firmly structured, with clove and wood flavors, a dense and very concentrated texture and firm but fine tannins. This is an almost stunningly powerful, dense and substantial Sauvignon with great, aromatic and juicy length. As always, it is an exciting Sauvignon blend, in this case from a warm vintage with clear, very aromatic fruit. 13.5% stated alcohol. Vinolok closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. 97 pts" -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage Parzellenkollektion, 2020 ( 3-btl min.) $164.99 $145.19
A special collector's pack with three different micro-parcels from the famous Zieregg Grosse Lage. These wines are only available in this mixed case: Zieregg Steinbruch, Zieregg Dreieck and Zieregg Weisse Wand. And 2020 is the last year that it will be offered as they are now bottling Zieregg Kar and Zieregg Kapelle each year.
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Grosse Lage Vinothek Reserve, 2019 $160.99 $141.67
"Blending the ripest Sauvignon grapes of the vintage entirely sourced from the plot "7 rows" and aged sur lie in 700-liter barrels for 24 months Tement's, 2019 Ried Zieregg GSTK Vinothek Reserve is clear and intense but fine and herbaceous on the nose, with riper, more concentrated, elegant and floral fruit. Intense and rich on the palate, it is very dense and powerful but juicy, with firm tannin structure and great length. This is a highly complex, promising Sauvignon with lots of potential. 2019 is “similar to 2017, but a bit more tangible, with grip and structure, yet velvety," Armin Tement commented about his wine, which was bottled with 13.5% stated alcohol. Vinolok closure. Tasted in Grafenegg in September 2022. To be released in spring 2023. 95+ pts" -- Stephan Reinhardt, The Wine Advocate
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Kapelle Grosse Lage, 2020 ( 3-btl min.) $88.99 $78.31
NEW with vintage 2020. Ried ZIEREGG KAPELLE is a high plateau above the winery, at the foot of the Karmeliter Chapel. Very juicy Sauvignon Blanc with decent notes of flint on the nose, deep spice and dark cool fruit on the palate.
Tement, Sauvignon Blanc Zieregg Kår Grosse Lage, 2020 ( 3-btl min.) $88.99 $78.31
A new wine starting in vintage 2020. Kår (pronounced Koar) stands colloquially for "kolta Riegel". It is from grandma Edina's home vineyard and Kiesner Mountain with west-south Exposure and cool microclimate. This is Sauvignon Blanc as the Tement’s like it: meager, cool, athletic & structured.
Tement, Vermouth Alfred Dry, NV $41.99 $36.95
Tement wines make up the base wine for the Vermouth and the brandies are made by Manfred Tement's friend, Alois Gölles, who is responsible for lively and fine brandy. The ""Alfred"" Dry is made with wormwood, cardamom, thyme, fennel, coriander, rose petals, and orange peel. Bitter, spicy and absolutely delicious.
Tement, Vermouth Alfred Rosso, NV $41.99 $36.95
Another winning combo, this time with Tement’s Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch as the base wine for the Vermouth and Alois Gölles, Manfred Tement’s friend, provides the delicious brandy. Herbs include wormwood, cardamom, thyme, fennel, coriander, rose petals, and orange peel. I can never decide which I like better, you should just buy both!
Tement, Welschriesling Ottenberg Veitlhansl, 2020 ( 3-btl min.) $36.99 $32.55
white strawberry, faint riesling fruity nose. Mineral, delicate.
Tement, Welschriesling Weinstock Alte Reben, 2020 ( 3-btl min.) $73.99 $65.11
First vintage was 2011 to bottle single vineyards. Made in the oldest 500L barrels. From Zieregg, previous owner named Weinstock. Planted in 1978. Richer, mineral. Great intensity. Grassy nose....smells like the dried cut grass in the vineyard.