World Cup en­livens ru­ral lips

Fo­cus is more on the price of a bed than har­vest time and an abun­dance of de­lec­ta­ble wine avail­able from Con­stan­tia to Walker Bay

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD QUAFFING - MYRNA ROBINS

AS THE new year set­tles into a ru­ral rhythm, the throaty roar of a me­chan­i­cal har­vester growl­ing through our vil­lage is tes­ti­mony to the ad­vent of har­vest in warm re­gions: wine farm­ers and viti­cul­tur­al­ists are watch­ing the white grapes closely, while in the cool ar­eas, pick­ing and crush­ing will take place more than four months hence…

But in ev­ery cor­ner of our winelands, wine­mak­ing and mar­ket­ing plans are ac­com­pa­nied by a height­ened an­tic­i­pa­tion of a Cape win­ter that prom­ises to be dif­fer­ent from the norm. Prepa­ra­tions for out-of-sea­son World Cup vis­i­tors and boom­ing sales are un­der way at many cel­lars as pro­duc­ers rel­ish the prom­ise of a mid­win­ter bonanza. It’s the ideal an­ti­dote to a re­ces­sion­ary year we are happy to bid farewell to.

As 2010 marks not only the start of the sec­ond decade in the new mil­len­nium, but also the com­ple­tion of 15 event­ful years since South Africa be­came a democ­racy, re­flec­tion and de­bate on vi­nous achieve­ments should be high on the agenda. But it seems that the prospect of the Fifa World Cup in six months means that the con­ver­sa­tion is more likely to cen­tre around the prices be­ing asked for a week’s ac­com­mo­da­tion at a far m cot­tage, break­fast in­cluded.

While last year was tough for most, the good har­vest com­pen­sated to some ex­tent. Youth­ful whites re­leased last win­ter con­firmed the prom­ise of qual­ity, while now’s the time to look out for those which spent a lit­tle longer in tank and bar­rel.

With tem­per­a­tures reg­u­larly climb­ing be­yond the 30 de­gree level, most con­sumers seek re­fresh­ing whites to counter the heat. This usu­ally leads to a sau­vi­gnon blanc and this year’s river of su­per sau­vi­gnons will please most palates and purses. Some are scin­til­lat­ing, many are en­joy­able and just a few of the cheaper ones are in­sipid or bor­ing.

It is the crisp green sau­vi­gnon that is still trendy, whether cut grass, green pep­per, goose­berry or as­para­gus fill the mouth. The fuller fruitier ver­sion is more dif­fi­cult to find, while the ideal – a medium-bod­ied wine that of­fers a su­perb bal­ance of both – is not un­com­mon in the higher price brack­ets.

South­ern sub­urbs cus­tomers who have no wish to go fur­ther than Con- stan­tia for their wine, could fo­cus on Buiten­verwacht­ing’s 2009 Husseys Vlei sau­vi­gnon (R85). A sen­sa­tional spe­cial oc­ca­sion wine, it’s likely to age beau­ti­fully, and right now will part­ner leafy sal­ads and fresh seafood in style. Mean­while, res­i­dents in Dur­banville have a choice of three from large-scale pro­ducer Dur­banville Hills. Martin Moore’s least ex­pen­sive ’09 sau­vi­gnon costs R48 and is crisp and green with a lit­tle melon and cit­rus to add in­ter­est.

For bud­get-watch­ers, Perde­berg is a house­hold name when it comes to chenin, but their 2009 sau­vi­gnon re­serve is also good value at R33, and will ap­peal to those looking for fruit rather than ver­dant flavours.

From Dis­tell comes Zon­nebloem’s Lim­ited Edi­tion sau­vi­gnon 2009, priced at R58. Al­ways a safe buy, this crisp green wine makes an en­joy­able aper­i­tif and part­ner for del­i­cate pas­tas.

An­other value-for-money Dis­tell sau­vi­gnon is the stan­dard Fleur du Cap sau­vi­gnon which, at R40, costs a lot less than their much-ad­mired un­fil­tered cham­pion, and is a great match for ca­sual sum­mer fare.

In the warm Robert­son val­ley, Spring­field reigns supreme when it comes to sau­vi­gnon, with loyal fans re­turn­ing reg­u­larly for both the com­plex, min­er­ally Life from Stone and the equally pop­u­lar Spe­cial Cu­vee, dry but with crisp cit­rus notes.

Fur­ther up Route 62, Carel Nel and wine­maker daugh­ter Mar­gaux of Bo­plaas, aware that it’s a lit­tle warm for sau­vi­gnon in the SA port cap­i­tal, have turned to the Dar­ling re­gion for sau­vi­gnon blanc grapes which they vini­fied and bot­tled un­der their new la­bel Cool Bay. Per­fect to counter the Klein Ka­roo heat and it’s also avail­able at their new tast­ing room at Great Brak River.

More about mar­itime sau­vi­gnons from Walker Bay and the West Coast an­other time, but there’s just space for a de­light­ful suc­cess story from the Iona cel­lar in El­gin. Renowned for a se­ri­ously good sau­vi­gnon and chardon­nay, along with a cou­ple of well-aged reds, a light-hearted ver­sion of the crisp white – dubbed So­phie Te’blanche – joined the range in Novem­ber. Re­ferred to as “the most fa­mous woman to never ex­ist”, the stylish la­bel de­picts So­phie’s golden tresses while the screw­cap is fin­ished with an al­lur­ing set of lashes. Priced at R45, this is qual­ity El­gin wine with flo­ral, min­eral and ver­dant tones.

It has been snapped up by con­nois­seurs and party-go­ers alike. More is be­ing bot­tled, so the farm should have new stock by mid-month, and you should find it in some re­tail out­lets.

BUITEN­VERWACHT­ING: Vine­yards deep in the Con­stan­tia val­ley are the source of a bril­liant sau­vi­gnon blanc.

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