Selected Summer Sauvignon Blancs





South Africa sits geographically halfway between the “Old World” of Europe and the “New World” of Australia and New Zealand and in terms of its Sauvignon Blanc, captures the best characteristics of both the Old World and the New World. Here is a small selection chosen to demonstrate that South Africa has a real future if it continues to produce Sauvignon Blanc which has its own distinctive character; good ripe fruit, crisp acidity, medium to high alcohol, some elegance and restraint.

The wines all have good ripe fruit, but they are not as overwhelming as might be found in more hyped New Zealand wines. The fruit is balanced with crisp and fresh acidity levels which make the wines fulsome yet refreshing. The wines selected come from four different wine districts in the Cape with differing climates and terroir (topography, soils and climate).It is an interesting range of Sauvignon Blancs, fun to compare and contrast and an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the styles of wine that it is possible to produce with this fascinating grape variety.

Knorhoek Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Knorhoek Estate is one of our favourites in the Cape. It is so because of the amazing consistency of the quality of its wines.Knorhoek sits at the top of Stellenbosch, on the cooler, upper slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain.

This Sauvignon Blanc is a traditional “old world” style, unwooded Sauvignon Blanc with complex fruit flavours and distinctive minerality of the sort you would expect in Sancerre. It is flinty, with predominantly tropical fruit, a hint of passion fruit, ripe figs and grapefruit to linger. The palate is refreshing with tropical flavours and balanced acidity. This is a smashing wine to refresh you on balmy summer evenings (here's hoping).


Seidelberg Sauvignon Blanc, 2008

This is a crisp dry white wine with hints of tropical fruit, green peppers and fresh cut grass. Seidelberg is consistently one of the best from the region and this wine typifies the South African "terroir"- being neither as flinty as a French Sauvignon nor as overtly fruit driven as a typical "New World" wine. The result is a balanced blend showing typical Sauvignon citrus and asparagus aromatics on the nose followed by hazelnut and dried peach on the middle palate ending with a crisp, dry and refreshing aftertaste.

I like the relatively low alcohol of this wine, 11.5% - this wine really does show that Sauvignon Blanc does not have to be 14% alcohol and be "bursting with gooseberries" to be refreshing and interesting to drink.


Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Zondernaam Sauvignon Blanc is made at the award winning Tokara Winery in the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The grapes come from the cool regions of Helshoogte, Elgin and Hemel en aaarde,  making for a concentrated but restrained and elegant wine. The wine has a clear, bright pale straw colour with a hint of green on the rim. The nose has aromas of freshly cut grass, nettles and cape gooseberries. The wine has a full palate with citrus and tropical fruit tastes, a creamy mouth feel and a long crisp aftertaste.

Don’t overchill, the wine is a great aperitif or served with fresh summer foods.


Glenwood Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, 2008

Glenwood Vineyards in the Franschhoek Valley enjoys the benefits of cooling mornings to help develop its fruit. The estate produces small quantities of high quality wines.

The Sauvignon Blanc is another which shows how much South Africa can be halfway between France and the New World in style. It is very fresh and zingy but not over rich or too intense. It is concentrated but not overwhelming.  Flavours remind of coriander and grapefruit. It is  great on its own or with any fish or chicken dish. At 13.5% alcohol it competes with anything from NZ, but  has the edge, as its ripe fruit is not overpowered by the zing of the acidity.


Du Totiskloof Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2007

Du Toitskloof Winery is located near the town of Rawsonville in the Breede River Valley. The award-winning wines are known for their excellent quality at very affordable prices and Du Toits has been rated best value cellar by WINE magazine three times in the last five years.

The Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is light, golden green in colour, the wine’s voluptuous gooseberry and guava aromas  carry through to flavours on the palate, where its acidity contributes to a sensation of freshness and a clean, lingering aftertaste. Alcohol 12.5%, balanced with ripe but not overpowering fruit.


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