Winners of the #FNBTop10: Facts & Tidbits

Strandveld Pofadderbos Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Named ‘Pofadderbos’ thanks to its frequent encounters with Puff Adders, this vineyard is surrounded by fragrant local Elim fynbos which is protected under the Biodiversitiy and Wine Initiative.

Made from grapes grown on a cool, south-easterly facing slope in the picturesque area of Elim, the modest crop ripens slowly, but without the loss of flavour.  Innovative wine-making techniques, cold fermentation with selected yeast strains, and lees contact for six months gives this Sauvignon Blanc expressive tropical fruit flavours on the nose, and a full, creamy and textured palate with a distinctively flinty, oyster-shell minerality on the finish, which is complemented by a lovely natural acidity.

Interestingly, Elim is one of the places with the most flower species in South Africa.

 

Stellenbosch Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Stellenbosch Vineyards is one of the largest wine producers and exporters in South Africa, and their wine is produced on Welmoed, one of the oldest proclaimed farms in the Stellenbosch region.

The quality of this modern-styled wine is thanks to the grapes being chosen from premium vineyard blocks in Stellenbosch, and the nurturing of good relations with the grape growers.  This and soil diversity, cool coastal fog and cool nights combine to create a high calibre Sauvignon Blanc.

Harvest happens during the night and early morning, and occurs over two weeks, which widens the flavour profile to range from green to tropical aromas.  It is left on the lees for six months during primary fermentation to ensure a rich and complex palate, with a nose of gooseberries, asparagus and lemongrass complemented by lush, juicy fruit.

Enjoy right away, or mature for up to 5 years.

South Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sean Skibbe, winemaker, says he is usually hesitant to enter competitions, believing that his Sauvignon Blanc ‘is not showy enough, and is perhaps too restrained to shine among the more flashy competitors’, but was heartened to see that a number of the wines awarded in the annual FNB Top 10 competition were chosen for their complexity rather than their appeal. (We’re pleased you entered, Sean!)

A particularly challenging vintage for South Hill, with fires sweeping through parts of their farm in January; right around harvest time.  Sadly they lost almost all of their Pinot Noir, but miraculously the Sauvignon Blanc had not yet ripened which saved it from being affected by smoke taint.

Look for limey citrus and granadilla flavours, with a refreshing, natural acidity which gives it versatility when it comes to food pairing.

He suggests waiting for at least 18 months to allow the wine to develop to its full and complex potential.

 

Mulderbosch 1000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Wooded)

Grapes selected from their best vineyards in Stellenbosch, Elgin, and as far afield as Piekenierskloof in Citrusdal were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks before being matured in neutral 500l French oak casks for 15 months.

Now, this has to be one of the most beautiful descriptions of wine you’ve read (and if not, please do comment and share your favourite!):

‘Notes of box wood and cassis vibrate side-by-side, penetrated by shafts of a herbaceous, nettle-like character.  A dazzling white-gold in appearance, our wine shimmers in the glass’.

The name ‘1000 Miles’ apparently comes from the distance travelled on sometimes tough and very dusty roads (makes one thirsty just thinking of it) to find the very best grapes to make this Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017

At Kleine Zalze they believe it’s important to nurture the people, the vineyards, and the cellar in order to produce world-class wines.

Only the best goes into their Family Reserve wines.  The grapes for this quality Sauvignon Blanc were handpicked in the wee hours of the morning (or sometimes late at night) from selected sea facing vineyards, and separately harvested to ensure a wonderful freshness with full fruit flavours.

Dry ice in the vineyard helped maintain a reductive handling of the wine right from start to finish.  The beautiful flavours inherent in the skins were encouraged with at least 12 hours of skin contact, and the wine spent 7 months on primary lees before being bottled to offer up a crisp, lively and herbaceous wine with layers of fruit, and tropical and green elements.

And speaking of world-class, we’re sure you’ve watched ‘Seasons at Terroir’, and know why it’s a great idea to visit the farm for a delectable lunch or dinner paired with their wines.  And why to book ahead.

 

Highlands Road Sauvignon Blanc 2015

“2015 was my first harvest at Highlands Road, and what a fabulous one it proved to be… I quickly realised that the Elgin wine producers were very serious about their Sauvignon Blanc, and the reputation of the region for this cultivar had to be held high and cherished.” ~Vanessa Simkiss, Winemaker.

With loads of Elgin typicity on the nose and racy hints of nettle, fynbos and seashell, this cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc creates great expectations when you give it a swirl and a sniff.  The aromas follow through onto the palate with a mineral vibrancy, a seamless and rich mid-palate, and an exceptionally long finish, with the zesty acidity balanced out by the added residual sugar.

Highlands Road has spent quite a few years stacking up the awards for their Sauvignon Blancs. They are well worth a visit, and they say they aim to offer visitors not just a wine tasting, but rather a ‘full winery experience’.  Stay for lunch; their friendly staff serve wood-fired pizzas at their waterside café.  And – of course! – while you’re there make sure you’re treated to a taste of their dessert wine made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc!

 

Groot Phesantekraal Sauvignon Blanc 2017

The fulfillment of a life-long dream held by owners Andre and Ronelle, Groot Phesantekraal started as ‘Phizante Kraal Wine’ back in 2005, and is a family wine brand producing small quantities of quality wines.

The grapes are grown on the farm in Durbanville and the wines were, until recently, made by family friend Thys Louw, winemaker of award-winning wines at nearby Diemersdal.  This particular wine was made by newly appointed winemaker, Etienne Louw, previously of Altydgedacht.

The two blocks of Sauvignon Blanc were planted in 2007 on good high ground, and has yielded grapes of a high quality.  The grapes were machine harvested, and then left on the lees for 3 months after fermentation, before bottling.

Fresh and zingy gooseberry, passionfruit and guava are the flavours you’ll find upfront, with the acidity balanced beautifully by a rich and juicy mouthfeel and a full-fruit aftertaste which lingers.

 

Diemersdal Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc

Just look at those shiny badges.  This multiple award-winning Winter-Ferment Sauvignon Blanc was made using a revolutionary wine-making process.  What does Winter Ferment mean?  The Sauvignon Blanc juice was frozen during the harvest in February, thawed five months later, and then fermented to produce a wine with exceptional tropical flavours. Cool, huh? If you’ll excuse the pun.

A note from cellarmaster, Thys Louw: ⠀

“Conditions were not looking favourable for quality Sauvignon Blanc, especially with Diemersdal’s signature being to make wines from dry-land vineyards exclusively. But a healthy dollop of rain in December cooled things down, and we we were blessed with mild conditions during harvest… and the quality of Sauvignon Blanc turned out to be one of the best I have seen in my time on the farm.”⠀

So many reasons to get over to Diemersdal. 🙂 But, just in case you need another, did you know they have ten different styles of Sauvignon Blanc to choose from, all available from the tasting room?

Boschendal De Werf Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Handcrafted in limited volumes, and only available directly from Boschendal’s cellar door.  The grapes for this wine were hand-sorted by a meticulous team to ensure that only the optimum quality grapes made it into the wine, and inert gasses were used to avoid air contact with the juice in order preserve the delicate fruit flavours. Battonage was employed to add a rounded richness to the palette, and to contribute to the overall balance and complexity.

A cool-climate wine with opulent white fruit flavours, kiwi, and lively lime zest with a touch of green fig.

Despite 2016 being one of the driest vintages (until now) in South Africa, thanks to a mostly dry winter and summer and a few unusually hot months which had an impact on the yields, this is a classic and classy wine that we’re pleased we’re able to enjoy.

 

Vrede En Lust Artisan Range Blanc Fumé 2016 (Wooded)

Blanc Fumé is a style of Sauvignon Blanc which is often associated with a wooded wine.

In the Artisan Range, winemakers are encouraged to play with different styles and wine-making techniques, using site-specific grapes to make small batches of quality wine. Only 2,500 bottles were made of this particular wine, using grapes cultivated on Vrede en Lust’s Elgin farm, Casey’s Ridge, which specialises in the production of cool-climate white varieties.

Delicately fermented in oak to offer an integrated creaminess, the fresh palate offers hints of orange blossom and subtle stone fruit.

Newly appointed head winemaker, Karlin Nel, says: “As a wine-making team we really are given creative free reign with the Artisan Range, which – coupled with the interesting Elgin fruit – allows us to create wines with detail and dimension.”

CandiceWinners of the #FNBTop10: Facts & Tidbits

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