Think SA wines today and you think Sauvignon Blanc. SA has in my mind equalled New Zealand in the quality of our Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, I think that we sometimes even surpass them in terms of the fact that, in my opinion, we offer greater variation of terrior in terms of the expression of Sauvignon Blanc.
Think Durbanville and one also thinks Sauvignon Blanc. Think Nitida and one finds a Sauvignon Blanc with extraordinary, intense flavours that leap from the glass. Guava, fig and much more. Importantly, Nitida with a first bottling in 1995 has added an important addition to their stable. A white styled Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Coronata Integration.
Presented in a snazzy bottle with a classy screw cap the first example that I tasted was the much celebrated 2012. A blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon it was quite a big, fat, broad wine although not without a touch of elegance. It had a rich palate and nose redolent of appealing petrol aromas.
Come the Nitida Coronata Integration 2013. Quite a different baby! A friend and I decided to have lunch in Kalk Bay, perhaps Cape Town’s equivalent of the French Rivera. The colour yellow, with green tinges. A delicate nose of lemons, sorbet and a hint of guava. The palate not as dense as the 2012 with a lemony follow on. The palate still tight but slightly acidic. The palate had a nice creamy concentration lending some body to the wine. It improved as the meal progressed.
With its lemony aromas and citric palate it went well the oysters that we had as a starter. I splashed lots of lemon on the oysters and we had nearly drunk half of the bottle before the soles arrived. It went well with the soles too, a good sea food wine.
Which vintage did I prefer? The 2012 or 2013? I think perhaps the 2012 was a more classical, broader wine on the palate with a completely different character to the 2013. The 2013 is, to my mind, a much lighter wine but one that needs more time in the bottle than the 2012 to show its full promise. Both are made in a serious but at the same time classical style that is at the same time a very easy drinking, fresh wine that can be enjoyed now. The fancy screw cap preserving its freshness. When judging a wine from different vintages one should always take vintage variation into account. Wine writers are quick to criticise a wine without realizing how difficult it is to manage the vagaries that each vintage throws at the producer.
For further information see below some of the winemaker’s comments on the Coronata Integration 2013.
“The Coronata Integration epitomizes the uniqueness of Durbanville’s terrior and reflects the ability of SA to produce world class white blends.” The Coronata is 57% Sauvignon Blanc vinified in tank so as to retain its freshness and vibrancy. The others share of the blend is 43% Semillon fermented in new French oak barrels allowing for a richer and fuller wine. Once blended the wine is matured for a further 8 months on fine lees in seasoned 300 litre barrels so as to ensure the harmonious integration of the two components.” It has an alcohol level of 13.38% which is about average for the current SA alcohol levels.
The white Bordeaux blend (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) provides a welcome addition to the SA wine scene. Unlike, Sauvignon Blanc on its own it’s a bit of a niche market. Frequently, quite expensive. The Vergelegen White and the Steenberg Magna Carta spring to mind. Both are made in what one might call the Old World style which is something I have a taste for. But I also appreciate the New World style of Nitida with its fresh, intense flavours.