After tasting the first 60 of some 160 entries in this year’s FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 competition yesterday morning, lunch at evergreen Mowbray restaurant Wild Fig. As if we hadn’t had enough aromatic white, another bottle of aromatic white but this time Riesling in the form of Jack & Knox Frostline 2007 (this label now discontinued). The product of pronounced ripeness, it was thick in texture and showed flavours of lime and just enough of a petrol note to lend interest, acidity soft but sufficient.
Grapes for this wine were sourced from a vineyard high on the Swartberg mountain in the Klein Karoo, frost a constant threat during the growing season and hence the name. Just as Sauvignon Blanc has benefited from vineyards being located in cooler sites to ensure optimal flavour development, the same theoretically applies to Riesling.
However, as long as Riesling lacks the same popular following as Sauvignon Blanc, it’s not going to deliver the same return on investment, and plantings will remain limited (currently making up 0.2% of the national vineyard compared to the 9.5% that Sauvignon Blanc constitutes).