This year’s judging panel of the FNB Sauvignon Blanc SA Top 10 competition on Uitkyk Estate: From left is Johann Fourie, head winemaker of Benguela Cove, protégé Mahalia Kotjane, assistant winemaker of Lievland, protégé Shanice du Preez of De Grendel, Bennie Avenant of Ever Solutions, the Cape Wine Master and panel convener Dr. Winifred Bowman, Nancy Lockett from FNB, wine writer and judge Fiona McDonald, Arno Cloete from FNB Agriculture, Gregory Mutambe, sommelier from Rust en Vrede and Morgan Steyn, winemaker from De Grendel. A total of 20 finalists will be announced in September and the ten winners will be announced on 25 October. Photo: Natalie Gabriels Photography
Adventurous admirers of premium Sauvignon Blanc can look forward to impressive wines with personality and an exciting range of styles. The 2023 FNB Sauvignon Blanc South Africa Top 10 competition judges came to this conclusion after tasting 169 wines entered by 106 producers this year.
169 wines, three days, five judges, two protégés, 20 finalists and ten winners
The judging took place at Uitkyk Estate in Stellenbosch from Tuesday 29 August to Thursday 31 August, and was presided over by Cape Wine Master Dr. Winifred Bowman. The panel included international wine judge and wine writer Fiona McDonald, Johann Fourie, head winemaker of Benguela Cove, Morgan Steyn, winemaker of De Grendel, Gregory Mutambe, sommelier of Rust en Vrede, as well as two protégés, Mahalia Kotjane, assistant winemaker of Lievland, and Shanice du Preez from De Grendel.
More than lemon, grapefruit, gooseberry and granadella
In the biggest category, unwooded Sauvignon Blanc wines from the 2023 vintage, a total of 90 wines were tasted. The 2023 vintage was a difficult one, but it nevertheless yielded excellent wines. McDonald summed up the experience as “much more than lemon, grapefruit, gooseberry and granadella”. Mutambe praised the versatility and the whole spectrum of Sauvignon blanc flavours of what he described as “wines with personality”.
“It was encouraging to see such a wide range of Sauvignon Blanc expressions in this year’s competition,” says Bowman. “Our winemakers are constantly innovating in how they give expression to all these different styles and we see these styles becoming more exciting every year.”
South Africa produces world-class wooded Sauvignon blanc
Bowman believes South African wooded Sauvignon blanc is of international quality, something the industry can be proud of and should market more widely. Both Steyn and Fourie were impressed with the complexity that time on the lees brings.
“The older, aged wines performed excellently this year, thanks to good winemaking and viticulture techniques by South African winemakers,” Bowman said. “It’s especially important and helpful for restaurants and wine tourism that Sauvignon Blanc’s vintage is not an expiry date.”
Cooperation with partners locally and internationally
“South African Sauvignon Blanc is a unique asset that helps maintain a strong brand reputation for the country while making a name for itself at premium prices in export markets around the world,” says RJ Botha, chairman of Sauvignon Blanc SA. “We are grateful for the exposure we were able to achieve by hosting the 14th Concours Mondial du Sauvignon in March on local soil in collaboration with Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, as it was the first time this competition took place outside of Europe.”
Botha singled out the ongoing support of Sauvignon Blanc SA’s Top 10 title partner FNB and platinum partner EVER Solutions. “The competition, which has been hosted since 2007, has been made possible again this year with the support of FNB and Ever Solutions. We look forward to announcing the Top 20 finalists later this month and the Top 10 at our awards event on Wednesday 25 October.”
A technical seminar is planned for Wednesday 22 November 2023 at Allée Bleue in Franschhoek.
For more information, visit www.sauvignonblanc.com or contact Sauvignon Blanc SA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 808 1114. Follow Sauvignon Blanc SA on Twitter (@SauvignonSA) and on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (@sauvignonblancsa), and chat together on social media with #SauvignonBlancSA.
Issued by: Sauvignon Blanc South Africa
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