Judges Have Their Say on this Year’s FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc Competition

Diversity, quality and pleasure for the consumer. That’s what the judges of this year’s FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc Competition found while sniffing and sipping their way through the line-up of entrants for this year’s event, the results of which are to be announced on 10 October.


According to Winnie Bowman, Cape Wine Master, it was refreshing to see that winemakers tried to express the variety of aromatics in different ways.


“There was a wide range of styles from those with fresh citrus-flavours, right through to pungent, explosive tropical fruit flavours – something for every Sauvignon Blanc lover,” she said.


“Overall the quality was good with wines from the 2017 vintage now truly coming into their own. Many of the 2018s still needed time.”


And older wines?


“It was disappointing that there were so few older vintages entered, especially when one wants to demonstrate the aging potential the variety most definitely has,” she said. “The number of older wines submitted was just too small to make a judgement on the category.


“The oaked department was exciting, but again not too many samples submitted. Sensitive oaking definitely gives another dimension to the wine with breadth and depth, and offers a lot more interest. These styles are of course excellent for food, making their addition to a restaurant wine-list a must. This is a style the panel felt should be explored and produced more of.”


Christian Eedes, international Sauvignon Blanc judge and editor of www.winemag.co.za said this year’s line-up was characterised by enjoyable wines of which the best examples are definitely worthy of respect.

“Noticeable, compared to the South African Sauvignon Blanc scene a decade ago, is that producers have sorted out their relationships with pyrazine levels,” he said. “While still being pursued by some, pyrazines are better managed and not as direct as a few years back. There were no stylistic extremes in terms of pyrazine or excessive thiols, and the wooded entries were interesting wines showing complexity.”

According to Eedes, Sauvignon Blanc remains South Africa’s most popular white varietal category due to the consumer easily understanding the wines. “From entry-level to the top-end best examples, the punter recognises it as being Sauvignon Blanc which definitely helps in sales as the consumer knows what he or she can expect.

“Good wines are definitely not made by accident, and as the Top 20 finalists shows, terroir and regionality are playing a role in producing a diverse and exciting offering.”


The proof is, however, in the drinking. So roll on 10 October when the FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blancs are made public.


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