Weingut Hannes Sabathi - .Weingut Hannes Sabathi Gamlitz . ... however, “steirische”, or Styrian

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Text of Weingut Hannes Sabathi - .Weingut Hannes Sabathi Gamlitz . ... however, “steirische”, or Styrian

  • Weingut Hannes Sabathi

    Gamlitz . Sdsteiermark

    2013

    Press information: Wine&Partners . Vienna . T: +43 1 369 79 90 0 . office@wine-partners.at

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    Contents

    1. The Region ..................................................................................................................... 3 2. The Winery and its History ............................................................................................... 4 3. The Winemaker ............................................................................................................... 4

    3 a. Time to Mature ......................................................................................................... 6 3 b. The Vision ................................................................................................................ 7 3c. STK ........................................................................................................................... 7

    4. The Wine Range ............................................................................................................. 8 5. The Lagen - Single-Vineyards Sites ............................................................................... 9

    5. a. Kranachberg and its Wine ......................................................................................... 9 5. b. Jgerberg and its Wine ........................................................................................... 10

    6. The Sdsteiermark ........................................................................................................ 11 7. Useful Figures ............................................................................................................... 13 8. Awards and Accolades ................................................................................................... 14 9. Contact ........................................................................................................................ 22

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    1. The Region

    The Sdsteiermark (South Styria) is ones text-book impression of a wine growing area, with its

    steep inclines with seemingly endless rows of wines, its gently undulating hills and winding

    roads lined with tall poplar trees. Picturesque farms are tucked into the crests of hills; the

    terraces of old stone houses offer a spectacular view of surrounding orchards and copses.

    The Sdsteirische Weinland encompasses a total vineyard area of 2,000 hectares. The steep

    inclines of the vineyards, combined with diverse soil structures of sand, slate, marl and shell-

    limestone provide favourable conditions for the crisp, fresh Welschriesling varietal wines to

    ripen, along with vibrant Weiburgunder (Pinot blanc), complex Morillon (Chardonnay) and

    aromatic Traminer and Gewrztraminer, as well as red wine varieties such as Zweigelt, Pinot

    Noir and Blauer Wildbacher. The prized grape variety is, however, steirische, or Styrian

    Sauvignon Blanc; a varietal that has received international acclaim and has earned its place

    amongst the worlds best.

    The grapes grow in the favourable Mediterranean climate zone, that offers both warm and

    humid conditions, which coupled with a long growing season, and extended, warm and

    sunshine-blessed autumn, allows the grapes slow, optimal ripeness. The diurnal effect of warm

    days and cool nights promote the development of abundant aromatic characters, that give

    Sauvignon Blanc its diversity and aromatic complexity.

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    2. The Winery and its History

    Hannes Sabathi and his family are a typical winemaking family in the Sdsteiermark. Their farm,

    situated in Kranachberg, has been in the family since 1860. It was an agricultural farm that

    cultivated a mixture of crops, and reared livestock, for some 100 years, when it was known as

    the Adam farm. It was renamed Sabathi in 1968, following the wedlock of Hanness parents,

    and his father took over the estate. From this generation onwards, viticulture became

    increasingly more significant, and effective from 1999, the estate laid its focus entirely on

    winemaking (with its Buschenschank).

    3. The Winemaker

    Hannes Sabathi was born in 1980. His passion for winemaking more or less began whilst he

    was still in his cradle. Growing up with wine encouraged him to make more special wine from an

    early age; to find out more about the opportunities to improve quality within the region. Hannes

    received a comprehensive winemaking education from the Silberberg oenology college, which

    he was able to apply during internships and work experience at leading wineries. In 1999, at the

    tender age of nineteen, he was made responsible for winemaking in the family winery, and in

    2003, he qualified as a vineyard and cellar master. At 25 years old, in 2005, his parents officially

    passed the entire wine estate over to their son. The father left; the son came.

    The Sabathi wines have undergone a major development since 1999. Traditionally, Hanness

    father lay his focus on the production of land wine for local drinking, much of which was

    consumed by guests at their Buschenschank. Wines were blended in order to produce a single,

    consistent quality throughout the young wines. Contrary to his father, son Hannes wanted to

    bring out the individual characteristics of each variety and vineyard, and accordingly, he started

    to select and vinify grapes from vineyards separately.

    This did not work as smoothly as he had hoped, In the beginning, I was on my own, explains

    the winemaker, I didnt have a sparring partner in the cellar, and I obviously made loads of

    mistakes. But looking back, I learnt a great deal from the experience.

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    With hindsight, he has grouped this personal experience into three phases, these being: the

    intuitive, the analytical, and the phase of experience; the latter is where Hannes Sabathi now

    sees himself.

    During his first few years, says Sabathi, he followed his intuition, and made decisions based on

    his gut instinct. I could rely on my intuition, and often got a lot of it right, amazingly enough, but

    sometimes, I got it all wrong and had to pour the wine down the drain.

    Some time later, he reflected upon what he was doing, and began to analyse his wine

    throughout all processes of production. I wanted to make sure that I was getting everything

    technically right, I wanted to know every single detail.

    Although he continues to use methods to analyse the wine, it is his feeling for the wine, his

    intuition coupled with his experience, that plays a much more significant role in winemaking than

    numbers alone.

    As early as 1999, Sabathi was certain that if he wanted to produce a high quality wine,

    everything needed to be right; good vineyards, optimal grape quality, meticulous work in the

    cellar. This is when he changed every step throughout his winery, one by one. Firstly, he

    focused on optimising his vineyards, with a reduction in the yield, correct canopy management

    during the summer, as well as a rigorous sorting of the grapes prior to them reaching the cellar.

    Then, gradually, all of the following winemaking processes and cellar equipment began to

    comply with his new demands in quality.

    Most recently, he has redesigned his wine labels. Both the print and artwork are a true

    representation of what is important in winemaking for Sabathi.

    Today, now that his wines have become amongst the most attractive in Austria, he dedicates

    his full attention to the terroir. It is not uncommon to see the winemaker equipped with a bucket

    and spade, digging up earth. He shovels up soil samples, and sometimes crawls along the

    ground, in order to gain a better understanding of the soil, along with soil and variety interaction.

    The earth makes the wine , states Sabathi, and adds, you could also say that it is the soil that

    makes the wine interesting.

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    Hannes Sabathi was a pioneer with his focus on vineyard site and terroir in the Sdsteiermark.

    Nowadays, his wines also contribute to the fact that Styrian Sauvignon Blanc has become

    acknowledged within the international wine scene.

    Sabathi wines can be found on wine lists in Germany and Switzerland, as well as Holland,

    Belgium, the United States, Singapore, Japan and China. Sabathi remembers that I thought it

    would be difficult trying to export in the beginning, after all, who is waiting for a Sauvignon from

    Styria, when Sauvignon Blanc is a variety that grows internationally? But I was wrong, because

    it is exactly these styles of wines that are most sought after.

    It is no wonder then, that Steirischer Sauvignon Blanc is a style in its own right, and not to be

    compared with regions from the same variety in the Loire, South Africa and New Zealand.

    3 a. Time to Mature

    Time is as important a factor in winemaking as the soil for Hannes Sabathi. He takes on a

    pioneering role here as well. The majority of wines produced in Styria are regarded for their

    youthful freshness, yet there is hardly another winemaker who allows their wines to mature as

    long as Hannes Sabathi.

    Therefore the Single-Vineyard wines are released at least one and a half years following the

    harvest, with the Reserve wines being sold after two years following the harvest. The Steirische

    Klassik range of wines are first sold in the spring following the harvest, after some six months