This year’s judging panel of the FNB Sauvignon Blanc SA Top 10 competition at Uitkyk: From left are protégé judge Mahalia Kotjane, assistant winemaker of Lievland, Johann Fourie, chief winemaker of Benguela Cove, Dr Winifred Bowman, Cape Wine Master and convener of the panel, RJ Botha, Sauvignon Blanc SA Chairperson, winemaker Morgan Steyn of De Grendel, Inge Smit of EVER Solutions, wine judge and author Fiona McDonald, Arno Cloete of FNB Agriculture, and Cape Wine Master René Groenewald.
As South Africa’s top-selling cultivar that flies the country’s flag high in export markets across the globe, wine lovers expect nothing less than the best when it comes to a glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc. This year’s judging panel at the 2022 FNB Sauvignon Blanc SA Top 10 competition agreed: SA Sauvignon Blanc has it all and more.
Quality, texture, balance between fruit and acid structure, complexity, elegance, and the wide variety of styles are some of the characteristics that were highlighted by a select panel of leading wine experts during this year’s Top 10 judging, where a total of 161 wines from 102 producers were tasted from Tuesday 30 August to Thursday 1 September at Uitkyk Estate in Stellenbosch.
The judging panel consisted of Dr Winifred Bowman, Cape Wine Master and panel convener, wine judge and author Fiona McDonald, Johann Fourie, head winemaker of Benguela Cove, winemaker Morgan Steyn of De Grendel, Cape Wine Master René Groenewald, and protégé judge Mahalia Kotjane, assistant winemaker of Lievland.
In the biggest category, unwooded Sauvignon Blanc from the 2022 vintage, a total of 88 wines were tasted, and this category was characterised by quality and an absence of fault wines. Excellent wood management distinguished the wooded category.
“The older aged wines performed better than ever, proof that South African winemakers are able to age our Sauvignon Blanc,” says Dr Winifred Bowman. ” Excellent wood management supported the fruit flavours impeccably and provided the necessary texture.”
Although 2022 was a challenging vintage, there were many impressive wines in different styles that particularly impressed journalist and international wine judge, Fiona McDonald. “There were definitely fewer acid imbalances, and the 2022 wines are definitely market ready.”
Johann Fourie of Benguela Cove was impressed with the technical aspects of the wines. “We saw fewer reductive wines this year. The true character of Sauvignon Blanc prevailed and even the wines aged on the lees grabbed my attention with their texture.”
The FNB Sauvignon Blanc SA Top 10 competition – which has been presented since 2007 – will announce the Top 20 finalists later this month. The Top 10 will be announced during an awards ceremony on Thursday 13 October 2022. A technical seminar will be held on Wednesday 30 November 2022 in collaboration with the Department of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University.
This year’s competition is presented with the support of Top 10 title partner FNB and platinum partner EVER Solutions.
“Sauvignon Blanc is not only the most popular white wine in South Africa, it also sells at premium prices,” says RJ Botha, chairman of Sauvignon Blanc SA. “This grape variety is a unique asset that helps build and maintain a strong brand reputation for the country. Our Sauvignon Blanc has never been more ready to conquer the world. We look forward to the exposure we will receive when we host the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon in South Africa in March 2023, as this is the first time in the competition’s fourteen-year history that it will take place outside of Europe.”
Sauvignon Blanc SA promotes South African Sauvignon Blanc’s quality locally and internationally. Join as a member of Sauvignon Blanc SA, to enjoy the benefits of shared expertise. For more information, or to subscribe to the Sauvignon Blanc SA newsletter, visit www.sauvignonblanc.com or call 021 975 4440. Join social media discussions with #FNBSauvignonBlancSATop10 and follow Sauvignon Blanc SA on Twitter as @SauvignonSA and on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn as @sauvignonblancsa.