As spring makes her grand entrance, prepare for her equally beloved counterpart, sauvignon blanc, to reappear at dinner parties and lazy Sunday lunches too. As one of South Africa’s best loved cultivars, sauvignon blanc is more versatile than a Swiss Army Knife. Demonstrating the wide spectrum of sauv blancs out there, Wade Bales reviews three very different ones he’s had a hand in creating.
Having spent over two decades searching out the finest Cape wines and building lasting relationships with many of their winemakers, one of my favourite pastimes involves selecting exclusive parcels of wine and working with its particular winemaker to create a special, limited-release wine.
For the size and stage of our wine industry, South Africa’s range of wines is staggering – not just in terms of the number of different cultivars we make, but the range and spectrum of styles within each cultivar too. These three sauvignon blancs from my Winemaker Selection showcase this diversity beautifully: ranging from mineral, herbaceous notes right through to ripe tropical fruits flavours – all thanks to the different regions they grow in and the varied styles of winemaking that help to craft them. Why not grab all three and enjoy them side by side – savouring their similarities yet lip-smacking differences too.
1. WADE BALES WINEMAKER SELECTION RIANDRI VISSER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 | (Cape Point Vineyards)
These vineyards overlook the icy Atlantic - and its unmistakeable influence burrows deep into each grape. In this wine’s case, expect tones of citrus, pineapple, sea breeze and ripe pear on the nose. The palate is light with plenty of fruit and a balanced acidity that leads to a long lingering freshness. Enjoy now right through to 2021, paired with fresh line fish or pesto pasta.
2. WADE BALES WINEMAKER SELECTION RUDI SCHULTZ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 | (Thelema Mountain Vineyards)
Heralding from the scenic Elgin Valley, the cool maritime climate produces wines with vibrant concentrated fruit flavours and a refined, elegant minerality. This wine is a great example: tank fermented, crispy fresh and packed with flavours of green apple too. Best enjoyed alongside seafood and pasta dishes, it’ll still be worth toasting to in 2022.
3. WADE BALES WINEMAKER SELECTION KOBUS DU PLESSIS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 | (Virgin Earth Wines)
Deep in the Langeberg Mountains, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Virgin Earth’s vineyards are hidden in dense fynbos thickets, encircled by red-gold rocky slopes. Its ancient soil enhances the complexity and diversity of this sauvignon blanc. Intense aromas of white apple, green pepper and tropical fruit promise to develop into pleasing asparagus tones at a later stage. Enjoy now through to 2022, alongside shellfish or pan-fried fish dishes.