Skip to Content

Best of the best

Lifestyle Section - Wine


Sauvignon Blanc has become a wine with such diverse styles that at this year's FNB Top 10 competition there were five categories according to which the winners were listed.

The awards event was a delightful occasion held at Blaauwklippen estate in Stellenbosch last Friday, September 27, where, demonstrating its versatility with food, four flights of wine were sampled, each with a wonderfully adaptive matching dish.

The categories were spicy and herbaceous (think racy flavours and aromas like peppers, paprika and asparagus, tinned peas, grass and nettles); tropical and yellow fruit (read fresh and lush tropical flavours and a tad of citrus); the category limes, green melon and grapefruit (zippy and racy); blackcurrant, elderberry and oak (fragrant), and finally, flinty and mineral (with more austere, lean flavours).

Pieter De Waal, secretary of the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group of South Africa (SBIG) under whose auspices the competition was held, commented prior to the tasting of the wines that were selected from 207 submitted: "we are looking for wines that will make us proud.

"We are trying to be innovative and we have to expand this category and put it in the international sphere".

Five judges, drawn from all sectors of the industry including fine wine retail, media, education as well as winemaking, deliberated for three days to sniff, swirl,taste and and discuss the wines, after which 37 contenders managed to get the thumbs up.

A further round and 20 were selected and finally the best of the best: the top 10.

There were some surprises and some old stalwarts that wrested the top accolades out of the Top 20, but quite frankly, each of the wines tasted, whether they ended up in the coveted Top 10 or the 20 were all stunners in their own way.

According to the press release, the judges "were looking to reward wines showing the distinctive features of South African sauvignon blanc, while maintaining elegance, clean fruit expression and overall balance".

"Even stronger than last year," said judge Richard Kershaw, MW of Richard Kershaw Wines. "The wines at the top are fantastic and there's a really broad band which is above average."

"Some wines are herbaceous and spicy, others show more tropical fruit and then there are others that have had some oak influence and they're all legit," said Cathy Marston, wine educator and journalist. The other three judges were Christian Eedes, Carrie Adams and Elzette du Preez.

The wines were presented with some brilliant food, which included a well-ballanced dish of spicy seared tuna with a kataifi(pastry)-wrapped prawn; a dollop of babaganoush (aubergine dish) topped with grilled aubergine and salmon trout mousse (highly unusual but well-paired with the flinty and mineral wines); absolutely delicious smoked salmon with a blackcurcurrant polenta and scented honey dressing (no guesses as to this pairing!) and finally, a chicken ballotine resting atop an orange blossom cream cheese (which went with tropical and yellow fruit wines).

SBIG stated that in years gone by, there's been much debate about whether greener flavours should prevail over tropical fruit flavours or vice versa, "yet now the best wines tend to demonstrate both these characteristics, their aromas and flavours much more multi-faceted as a consequence".

The top 10 listed alphabetically are: Alexanderfontein Chip Off The Old Block 2013; Boschendal Reserve Collection 2013; Cape of Good Hope Altima 2013; Cape Point Vineyards Reserve 2012; Cape Point Vineyards Woolworths 2012; Franschoek Cellar Statue de Femme 2013; Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2012; Nederburg Private Bin D234 2012; Phizante Kraal 2013 and Thelema 2013.

Six of the winning wines are single-property wines (Alexanderfontein, Cape of Good Hope, the Reserve from Cape Point Vineyards, Nederburg, Phizante Kraal and Thelema) and the other four are multi-regional blends.

While the 10 winning wines were made with grapes from a broad range of producing areas, this year, it was the wines made from grapes grown in Darling, Durbanville and Stellenbosch that shone this year.

Written by Orielle Berry You are reading Best of the best articles

View a complete list of the Bolander Property distribution points. Click Here...

Who's Online

We have 73 guests online