Biodynamic future to cram terroir into bottle
As an only son with two older sisters, Hannes Sabathi was destined to take on his family business - and did so at 19, assuming full responsibility for both vineyards and winemaking. He now manages a 13ha estate.
The southern region of Styria is best known for its Sauvignon Blancs, and Sabathi's show ripe stone fruit and even tropical notes, with mustard and dill tones from the sandy gravel soils they are grown in - especially in the 8.5ha Kranachberg site 500m above sea level - and refreshing minerality. He is currently converting the estate to biodynamic production in a bid to get even more of the terroir's character into his wines.
Sabathi makes wines at three levels: young, fresh Classic; site-specific wines designed to express terroir; and Reserve, made from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay only in the best vintages and vinified in small wooden barrels, designed to age.
For Sabathi, the wine is made in the vineyard. "We produce very bone-dry wines and they don't forgive anything," he says. "If there are any unripe berries in there you taste it - it lacks finesse, it becomes simpler and you can't age it so well. I want to make wines which, even after 30 years, speak a clear language: wines that show a line, a philosophy."
UK importer: The Wine Keller