Summer wine buying guide
Despite much journalistic-protestation to the contrary, it is clear that for most people Summer and Sauvignon just go together. Hell – who am I to fight against the tide of popular opinion? Especially when I enjoy a good glass or two myself.
Here are a few less-well-known Sauvvies which have crossed my threshold recently, along with a trio of fabulous Sauvignon blends – on the pricier edge of things, but so worth it.
Swartland Winery Sauvignon Blanc (2012 R32 from major retailers)
Say ‘Swartland’, and I have to confess that Sauvignon does not spring to mind. Nevertheless, this is an attractive version with pleasing lowish alcohol and plenty of verve and vim. Perfect for those who like to chuck a block of ice in their wine, with enough concentration to carry off the extra chill.
Winters Drift Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R57 from the farm)
I mentioned before how impressed I was with the Chardonnay this farm sent me recently and this is another reminder of a really exciting new talent. Elegant and fresh with a little extra body from 3% Semillon, I’m delighted they kept it back for that extra year. Good price too.
Garden Route Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R60 from selected retailers)
This is the Outeniqua range of wines from port-specialist Boets Nel of De Krans. From the cool foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains near George, the long, slow ripening period has produced an elegant wine with well-managed acidity and a good length.
Mont Rochelle Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R64 from the cellar)
The press release describes this wine as a food wine and, having tasted it, I would say it is one of the few Sauvignons that really is – mainly because they had the balls to delay releasing it until now. Lots of tropical fruit, well-integrated acidity – an appetising partner for a summer salad.
Hillock Black Poodle Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R66 from the farm)
Named after the pair of pooches who bound enthusiastically to greet visitors to this Ladismith farm. There are 2 Sauvignons and this is the finer and more elegant of them with flavours of crisp apple and lime balanced with crunchy acidity. Nice length, very promising debut.
Le Bonheur Single-Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R75 from the farm)
This is the first new release in many years from this mainly red wine farm in Stellenbosch. If I’d not been paying attention, I would have said it was a Kiwi Sauvignon – such a full, ripe mouthful of pink grapefruits and limes. Very delicious and very more-ish.
Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R75 from leading retailers)
Previously it has been the Reserve version of this wine which has garnered most of the accolades so it’s great news for budget-conscious drinkers that the less-expensive version is now winning awards. Top Ten, Gold medals – all in a day’s work for this lively, fresh and concentrated wine.
Delaire Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R79 from the farm)
Morne Vrey is doing sterling work on the high slopes of Banghoek, producing award-winning wines of elegance, longevity and charm. This definitely needed the extra year and could still stand up for another couple if you wanted. Lipsmacking, salty minerality, green fruit, balanced acidity.
Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R80 from the farm)
I dithered between talking about this one and the superior Husseys Vlei Sauvignon but decided to keep that for a special occasion! This is quite special enough anyway in my opinion – Brad Paton is really hitting his stride now (the Buiten Blanc is lovely this year) and this vibrates with gooseberries and well-managed acidity.
Clos Malverne Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R84 from leading retailers)
From seemingly out of nowhere, Clos Malverne has suddenly romped onto the scene as Sauvvie-specialists with their 2011 winning not one but TWO spots in the Sauvignon Top Ten in the last 2 years. The 2012 has spent 6 months on the lees which adds a touch of richness to the grassy, zippy fruit.
Vrede en Lust Barrique 2011 (R150 from the farm)
A blend of 62% Semillon from Elgin and 38% Sauvignon from Simonsberg, this has been entirely barrel-fermented (hence the word ‘barrique’) which may put a few people off. It shouldn’t, it really shouldn’t, because the oak just adds lovely layers of creaminess to the green fruit, a rich mid-palate and an endless finish. My kind of wine.
Bizoe Henrietta 2011 (R165 from selected retailers)
Bursting with pride at their achievement, this tiny cellar is proud to announce inclusion in the Wine Enthusiast Top 100 List for their 2010. It’s a great accolade for such a small production (450 cases) but the wine (70% Semillon/30% Sauvignon) is a delicious mouthful of exotic fruit, pears, quinces and citrus. Keep for a while. If you can.
Constantia Glen Two 2011 (R175 from the farm)
Classic combo of 60% Sauvignon and 40% Semillon, both parts of which have had lees contact and a mix of new, 2nd and 3rd fill oak. Bordeaux blends such as this are proving to be one of South Africa’s triumphs and, although you could drink this now, I think you should squirrel it away for a few years for true drinking splendour.