In South Africa recently to chair the fourth annual fourth annual Top 100 SA Wine competition, Tim Atkin MW declared himself “slightly underwhelmed” with the Sauvignon Blanc that he encountered. “It seems producers aren’t sure of what style to make. Sauvignon Blanc shouldn’t have the same texture as Chardonnay. I don’t mind a bit of green-ness but then I’m European.”
Richard Kershaw MW, proprietor of Richard Kershaw Wines in Elgin and and Top 100 SA Wine competition judge, says that in the case of the 2013 vintage, many wines appear a bit “flabby”, the result of producers leaving fruit hanging too long in an effort to capture tropical fruit flavours and avoid green-ness. “This drifts away from what Sauvignon is all about. In attempting to escape overt pyrazine, we’ve gone too far the other way. An “in-between” style – lemon-oil and some herbal character – is where it’s at.”
Last night, a bottle of Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve White 2011, wine of origin Elim and consisting of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon. It duly placed among the winning wines in last year’s Top 100 SA Wine competition and was rated 5 Stars in the current edition of Platter’s but was rated a modest 3 Stars in the tasting for RisCura White Hot Awards 2013.
So who’s right and who’s wrong? The tasting note in Platter’s speaks of “intensity of fruit, elegance of manner and promise of longevity. Naartjies, limes, fresh herbs, bees’ wax and lanolin combine to form layers of excitement and pleasure”. The tasting note which was generated for, White Hot Awards meanwhile, described the wine as “(o)ld-style pyrazine-dominated with notes of lime and green bean. Lean and rather angular but will have appeal in some quarters. Drink now”.
Having engaged properly with the wine, I would concede that it is very much true to Elim, impressive in its severity and if that’s how you like your wines, you will really love this.