Review: Season of Sauvignon 2017

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Season of SauvignonSauvignon Blanc is the bottled spirit of the Cape, and nothing says “summer” in Cape Town more clearly than the Durbanville wine valley’s Season of Sauvignon festival. Durbanville is all about its craft, the cuisine, and the community. Here, they produce world-class wines and food experiences that range from harvest-style, country eating to fine-dining, and it’s all couched in old-world hospitality. Family, friends, live music and food take centre stage. And let’s not forget the wine.

But how does one approach a single varietal tasting? Easy, really: you start with fresh and crisp, and then progress through to sweet. What would my ideal Sauvignon Blanc tasting look like, you ask? A little something like this…

I always start a wine tasting off with a sparkling or MCC. Nothing refreshes you on a hot summer’s day quite like a sparkling wine, and the Durbanville Hills Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is a definite recommend. It’s light, with a soft, sweet tropical palate, and finishes with a tarty gooseberry note. Excellent for a welcome drink, it would go well with some strawberries on the side.

Next, Diemersdal’s Sauvignon Blanc is similar in character, but with more zest. The wine’s beautiful lime colour prepares you for the mineral crispness that finishes with a light acidity. Now you’re feeling perked up and ready for a day of fun in the sun. Pair this one with line fish or scallops for a classic light summer lunch.

Moving on to the rounder palates, I would recommend tasting the Phizante Kraal Sauvignon Blanc next. Still light and tropical, but with a much fuller mouth-feel and soft grapefruit notes on the palate. This one can be left to rest and develop a bit more in your wine cooler, ready for those late summer, early autumn lazy afternoons. I would recommend pairing this one with a pear and goats cheese salad.

The De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc is next on my list, with the ever-popular guava note on the palate. This wine is a light, straw colour and is paired best with an ocean view, sunscreen, and a Thai green curry with prawns.  

Finally, I would end off my single cultivar tasting with Nitida’s Sauvignon Blanc. This one presents a litchi note on the palate with the fruit’s soft mouth-feel, followed by notes of pomegranate and a soft mineral aftertaste. Try pairing this one with a light desert such as cheese cake or even with a cheese platter.   

My take-home message from this experience is that if in doubt, order a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. It is certainly versatile, and in the words of Thys Louw, the winemaker at Diemersdal, “Sauvignon Blanc is the Toyota Hilux of South African wines.” You just can’t go wrong.

Summer is the season of Sauvignon Blanc and this festival is a firm family favourite year in and year out.

Freda Scheffler

The 2017 Season of Sauvignon took place at the Durbanville Wine Valley on 28 & 29 October. 

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