Wine Concepts, the quality wine retailers in Cape Town, held their annual Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon festival at the Vineyard Hotel on the 26th of September. Last year there were some excellent Sauvignon Blanc’s with the key notes being typical gooseberry flavours. There were also some good Cabernet Sauvignon samples with typical black current flavours. This year the Sauvignon Blanc’s were even better with more complexity. The Cabernet’s were better, too.
Cederberg Private Cellar with an elevation of 1000 meters above sea level has excellent cool climate conditions fine for Sauvignon Blanc. Their Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is pale straw with gooseberries and fig on the nose. The palate crisp and full. Their Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 was pale purple with black currents on the nose and the palate taut.
The Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from Walker Bay, celebrating 20 years of production, was pale gold, with lovely fig and minerality on the nose. With a full, taut palate.
Their Special Cuvee’ Sauvignon Blanc 2014. Very pale straw. Faint gooseberries on the nose. Lovely palate. Proving that warmer areas such as Robertson can make fine Sauvignon Blanc.
Their Methode Ancienne Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Medium garnet. Nose shy. Delicious black currents on the palate!
Villiera Wines well known for their excellent bubbly made in the Champagne method also make a well known Bushvine Sauvignon Blanc. Bush vines often lend a greater concentration and intensity to a wine and the Villiera Bushvine Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2014 is evidence of this. Medium gold. Nose shy. Soft acids with a full, delicious, creamy palate.
Their Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is pale ruby. Pure black currents on the nose and palate with lovely soft tannins.
Strandveld Wines in Elim are the most Southern vineyards in SA. Their wines definitely benefit from the cool, ocean conditions. Their Strandveld Pofadderbos Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is a prime example. Pale gold. Nose reserved with a crisp, creamy, superb palate. Perhaps the finest Sauvignon Blanc of the evening.
Steenberg, the top white wine specialists from the Constantia Valley have developed a growing reputation for their classical but intense wines. Their Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is medium gold with the nose shy and the palate rich and smooth. The Black Swan Sauv. Blanc 2012 is off gold with a grapey palate and less intense.
Cape Point Vineyards in the Cape Peninsula area also benefit from cool conditions combining elevation and the cooling effect of the ocean. They have rapidly become one of the most awarded white wine specialists in SA.
Their Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is off gold with the nose shy and the palate delicious. Their Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2013 is medium gold, the nose shy and the palate tight.
Finally, Hermanuspietersfontien based outside Hermanus with some grapes sourced from Sunday’s Glen in Stanford. Sauvignon Blanc specialists they also produce some fine reds. Their Sauvignon Blanc’s can be drunk young due to certain cellar techniques which soften the acids. But they can also age very well due to the cooler conditions. I recently wrote about an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc Nr. 32006 which I drank from my cellar which was drinking superbly and still had a few years left in the bottle.
Their Nr. 3 Bergblokke Sauvignon Blanc 2012 was pale straw with goose berries on the nose. The palate fresh, taut. Very drinkable. Their Nr. 5 Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is wood fermented. Pale straw with white pears on the nose and the palate reserved.
I must apologize that I was only able to taste perhaps only half of the wines on offer for tasting. But it is really impossible to go through the entire range and do justice to them as particularly with Sauvignon Blanc’s due to their acidity the palate fades fast.
One producer that I did not taste on the evening but whose wines I know well is Le Riche Wines. Cabernet specialists, Etienne was originally way back the wine maker at the iconic Rustenberg in Stellenbosch. Etienne Le Riche then went out on his own and produces outstanding, concentrated, classical and reserved Cabernet Sauvignon’s at his own farm in Stellenbosch. I was sorry that in my rush to get to a Friday night dinner I did not taste their reds. No doubt, more weighted and reserved than the Cabernet’s that I tasted.
So the evening was a great success. Lots of goose berries on the nose with the Sauvignon Blanc’s and black currents with the Cabernet’s. Quite to be expected as they are signature aromas for both varieties. Actually, they are genetically related and part of the same grape pool.
But I say that this year was even better than last because their was more complexity evident in the fine Sauvignon Blanc’s. More elegance, balance, and reward on the palate. This is saying something as last year’s Sauvignon Blanc’s were excellent. As mentioned one Sauvignon Blanc that really shone for me was the Strandveld Wines sample, showing how exciting the fruit from Elim can be.
The Cabernet’s were better, too, more supple, accessible and simply delicious with enough structure.
The event was as professional as ever with a lovely wine glass as part of the ticket, good value for money, well organized and delicious snacks. I really got hungry at 6 and the normal wafers served at tastings would not have been enough!