It’s time for a change of perspective. I was about to write something along the lines of “Actually, I don’t like Sauvignon Blanc, but…” again. It just doesn’t seem to be true at all. When I look at what great Sauvignon Blanc I’ve had here on the blog, it’s obvious that I like Sauvignon Blanc. When it’s made in a way that I like. And, spoilers, the Sauvignon Blanc Vom Opok from Austria from Werlitsch Winery is another one of those candidates. The vines for the wine grow in southern Styria on limestone marl, which is called Opok here. In the process, they are farmed organically by Brigitte and Ewald Tscheppe. The grapes are fermented spontaneously after maceration in open wooden barrels and then matured for 2 years in large wood on the fine lees. There is not much intervention, relying mainly on the good and healthy grape material and the preparatory work in the vineyard.
The wine has quite a lot of natural apple skin in the nose in the first moments. In addition, however, from the first time the nose dives into the glass it holds a lot of minerality and some smoke. Everything seems dense and quite distant from fruit. The Opok is fresh on the tongue, citrus, again the minerality and density in the structure. And it stays for a long time. The fruit is more in the acidity than in its aromatics. Kind of like biting into a grapefruit or a pineapple that’s not quite ripe yet. It’s fruity in its own way, without being really fruity. The wine really goes quite well with schnitzel and potato salad, and I hear nothing but praise for the rösti with smoked salmon on the other side of the table.
After a night in the fridge, more tannin is noticeable. For me personally, it at some stage almost touches the point, from which it would become unpleasant for me. With air and time, however, this passes again. The acidity is still as on the first evening. Now, however, the rest of the fruit has arrived in the wine with a bit of nuttiness. Between the minerality in the nose we smell ripe mango and a very small bit of passion fruit, so often found in Sauvignon Blanc. However, it never becomes really fruity. The length and especially the dense minerality are superb. That and the feeling of having bitten into sour, exotic fruit just before every sip make the wine.
In fact, with even more air, the fruit turns from exotic more towards ripe stone fruit and becomes more pronounced on the nose. The acidity softens, the tannic impression almost disappears again and it also plays big with hearty pancakes. A great food companion and a great wine overall.
- Johannes Zillinger - Velue 2019
- Domaine Vacheron - Guigne-Chèvres 2015
- Heinrich - Chardonnay Leithaberg 2014