If you have a long memory, you will recall that this iconic estate was part of Terry Theise’s opening Austrian portfolio. We were therefore delighted when the brothers Erich and Walter Polz approached us to see if we would be interested in resuming relations, since we had nothing but positive recollections of our earlier cooperation. Styrian wines sell with the utmost of ease on the Austrian market, but have not done as well in America, perhaps because they compete so directly with other countries practising the “international” varieties, often at lower prices. So credit our farsighted friends for consciously offering us their wines at extremely competitive prices. The quality is unimpeachable across the range, from the entry-level teirische Spiegel range to the trophies emanating from their celebrated single sites of Hochgrassnitzberg and Obegg. Polz has grown to a quite considerable size over the years. The core estate in Spielfeld sits quite literally on the Slovenian border, and offers as dramatic a picture as can be imagined, with its intersecting patchwork of vineyards trained at different angles across the steep folds of this verdant landscape. Because rainfall is so heavy in this region, grass and other cover crops are allowed to freely grow in all the rows, both to encourage competition and to fix the soil against erosion. For several years, Polz also managed the estate of Rebenhof, in the neighbouring village of Wittsheim. That estate was taken back by its owners, but Polz retained some vineyards here, too. They also have their famed Theresienhöhe site in the Kitzegg area. Then, in 2008 they bought the estate of the bankrupt producer Tscheppe in Leutschach. This came complete with an exceptional Sekt cellar, so sparkling wine is now a significant part of the producer’s programme. They also converted the building into a magnificent hotel which also offers a deservedly popular restaurant where you can drink just about every Polz wine offered at risibly reasonable prices. And then, ever questing for new frontiers, Polz has joined with several other leading Styrian growers to open up a regional tasting project called Vinofaktur. And, in future, you can look for wines from the Thermenregion, where they have taken over the grand but neglected estate called Thallen.
Styria is joining the DAC system soon, which is going to bring with it some very interesting changes to how the wines are categorized and sold. Young Christoph Polz, who has been making the wines now for the last several years, seems exceptionally well qualified to face the many challenges this and other developments will present him with. Our initial selection of wines is designed to showcase Polz’s mastery of Sauvignon, as well as showing
off a couple of their other tricks.