Sauvignon for all seasons
Sauvignon Blanc is SA’S favourite white wine. The wines made from this zesty, refreshing white grape are the perfect match for a hot summer’s day, writes Graham Howe
THE Cape’s great diversity of terroir gives birth to a broad spectrum of six Sauvignon styles: tropical, green/herbaceous, wooded/barrel fermented, flinty/mineral, coolclimate and cassis/elderberry.
The annual FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc awards celebrate the quality and regionality of this cultivar. Watch out for the 2012 Top 10 — from wine regions spread throughout Cape Agulhas, Breedekloof, Cederberg, Darling, Durbanville, Elgin and Stellenbosch. This year’s winners are Clos Malverne, De Morgenzon, Diemersdal, Driehoek, Du Toitskloof, Groote Post, Lomond, Neethlingshof, Simonsig Sunbird and Virgin Earth.
De Bos Sauvignon Blanc 2012. This Fairtrade “handcrafted” range is made on the ninth generation farm of the Bosman family in Wellington. Sourced from vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Walker Bay, it is a cool-climate melange of kiwi, gooseberry and passion fruit with flinty minerality and subtle grassy fynbos nuances.
De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2012. The historic home of the Graaff family on the slopes of Tygerberg Hill in Durbanville produces distinct coolclimate wines. Cellar master Charles Hopkins makes two styles of Sauvignon — in the rich granadilla and fig tropical style, and in the greener asparagus and gooseberry style of Koetshuis.
Dombeya Sauvignon Blanc 2012. This premium range from high-lying Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch is made by renowned winemaker Rianie Strydom. Passion fruit, gooseberry, green figs and guava give classic expression to the variety in a zesty wine billowing with aroma and flavour.
Du Toitskloof Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the winner of the best value cellar award 2012 won a coveted place in the 2012 FNB Top Ten Sauvignon Blanc Competition. One of South Africa’s best-selling Sauvignon Blancs delivers value for money in a wine that bursts with ripe tropical fruit.
Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Winning a spot in the 2012 FNB Top Ten Sauvignon Blanc Competition, this historic wine farm in Darling has won recognition for making coolclimate wines of great intensity and complexity. Layered with flavours of granadilla, green fig and green pepper, the new vintage displays signature minerality.
Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Made from organic grapes grown in the Walker Bay area, this premium Sauvignon bears a replica work of celebrated artist Pierneef on the label. Reflecting its cool-climate origins, this scintillating wine shows gooseberry, green apple and fynbos flavours with a fresh core of minerality. Le Bonheur Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Winemaker Sakkie Kotzé celebrates 20 years on this historic Stellenbosch farm with a single vineyard wine made from 35year-old vines — on the site where the first Sauvignon Blanc was planted in the Cape in 1928. Flinty and full-bodied, it combines green and tropical flavours in a very distinct wine.
Newstead Sauvignon Blanc 2012. The maiden vintage from Lund Family Vineyards comes from the newest winery in the Plettenberg wine of origin. Grown in the cool-climate Crags, this limited edition under a striking black and white label expresses fresh green fruit in a wine with subtle lime, gooseberry and passion fruit nuances.
Plaisir de Merle Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Celebrating 20 years at Distell’s showpiece cellar in the Franschhoek Valley, cellar master Niel Bester has released a superb new vintage. He describes it as “Fresh, full and rich with mouth-filling sweet, fresh tropical flavours of passion fruit, pineapple and the typical green nettle hints.”
Springfield Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Made from a single vineyard planted in rocky quartz soils, these old vines produce a cult Sauvignon Blanc that lives up to its poetic name. A dramatic wine that bursts with ripe granadilla, peas and peppers, this bone-dry wine has a core of flinty minerality.
Stellenbosch Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Made from grapes picked at optimum ripeness to preserve flavours, only free-run juice was used to make this coldfermented wine. The result is a star bright Sauvignon with abundant green tropical fruit with kiwi, star fruit and melon nuances in a luscious, full-bodied wine.
Stellenzicht Golden Triangle Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Now under a stylish new label that captures the symmetry of the farm’s vineyards in Stellenbosch, Guy Webber says this range expresses terroir and cultivar. Subtle nuances of fig and green peppers develop into a mouthful of crisp asparagus, gooseberry, litchi and green pepper flavours.