The accomplished Neil Ellis of Neil Ellis Wines is on record as saying that it takes at least 10 years before a winemaker has any real understanding of his terroir so it is a great pity that Karl Lambour has left Constantia Glen for Holden Manz in Franschhoek after only five years and just when things were starting to get interesting.
The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc is a wine which really captures the imagination on account of how finely honed it is. It includes 13% Semillon and 6% of it was barrel fermented, two clever little tweaks which elevate the wine well above ordinary.
Drinking it last night, it shows great purity of fruit upfront before a very dry finish. Intense lime and green bean flavours and bright acidity. The wine is lean, chiselled if you will, and you can’t help but pay attention (abv: 13.5%, RS 1.4g/l, TA 6.4g/l and pH 3.3).
The only slight drawback is a note on the nose which some would describe as “flinty” and others reminiscent of gunpowder. Apologists will claim this translates to “minerality” whereas I think it’s mild reduction. Score: 17/20 (down from 18/20 when tasted blind in April last year).