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07 December 2005

Zig, Zag, Sproing!

Time for free association:

Austrian Wine

SabathistyriaWhen I see those words side-by-side, my head goes right to Grüner Veltliner.  Perhaps some Austrian wine lovers might think "Riesling."  But, I'd bet serious dough that nary a soul's brain conjures up memories of unique Sauvignon Blanc-based wines.  With the help of Emily from Wine Monger, I've begun a tour into Sauvignon Blanc from Austria's "Tuscany" - otherwise known as Styria.

I kicked things off with Jaunegg's 'Knily' Sauvignon Blanc.  It was more Viognier than Sauvignon Blanc.  Next I sampled VIN’O Tscheppe Czamillonberg Sauvignon Blanc 2002.  This wine offered traditional SB flavors, yet with the added heft of barrique aging.  S.Blanc #3 is from Erwin Sabathi: Sabathi 'Merveilleux' Sauvignon Blanc 2002.  While the Jaunegg zigged and the Tsceppe zagged, Sabathi's Merveilleux sproinged in a completely different direction.

The SkinnySabathimerveill
Sabathi 'Merveilleux' Sauvignon Blanc 2002 ($50)

  • From Styria (southern Austria)
  • Medium yellow gold in color with a thin, distinct pale gold rim
  • After the first sniff, my brain computed: barrel-aged Chardonnay.  It is full of vanilla, peach and pear scents.  There also seems to be a little lemon meringue going on in the background
  • Merveilleux is richly textured with a full body.  Yet it does possess enough balancing acidity to avoid going down the sloppy-barrel-booty path.  I detected flavors of vanilla yogurt along with some tropical fruit - mango & pineapple.  The wine offers a lengthy finish, which makes it ideal for sipping in the absence of food

**** (4 stars out of 5)
A bit pricey? yes. Unique & well made? Also, yes.

While I nearly eschewed food with this wine, I decided to pair it with a stew of braised pork shoulder, veggies and persimmon.  The wine's rich flavors echoed and complimented the rich and exotic character of the stew.

If you do decide to purchase this wine, I like Bill, recommend patience.  Try it in a year or two.  Or knock yourself out, invest in a couple bottles and let them get some beauty rest for another three/four years.


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Austrian wine is so hard to find out here on LI. I've seen a few GVs at one store (mostly the 10-15 dollar stuff, which I've enjoyed)...

It's amazing that this close to NYC and its great wine shops...that so many wine shops here have the same ole same ole.


If you get into the city try Chambers Street, I think it has a good Austrian collection.

Perhaps some New Yorkers could point us to a store or two?..

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