A tasting of nine examples of Sauvignon Blanc from the 2010 vintage, none of which were included in the last Wine magazine Top 10 competition.
I reviewed the wines with James Pietersen, regular taster for Platter’s and beverage manager for Belthatzar and Balducci’s restaurants at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Using Riedel Restaurant Series stemware, we tasted blind with scoring done according to the 20-point system and here’s how the wines ranked (individual taster’s score below each wine):
1. Rietvallei Special Select 2010
Gravel-road dustiness, fynbos and white pepper on the nose. On the palate, there’s great flavour intensity with paprika-like piquancy before a long, dry finish. Towards the greener end of the flavour spectrum but by no means unripe, this is signature South African Sauvignon Blanc.
CE 18 JP 18
2. Constantia Glen 2010
Complex and alluring nose of pear, gunpowder and fynbos. The palate has remarkable purity and a great line of acidity; there’s a burst of fruit on entry into the mouth before an extremely long finish. Shows great finesse.
CE 18 JP17
3. Hermanuspietersfontein Nr 5 2010
The nose shows green melon, while the palate shows juicy ripe fruit and gentle acidity. Broad flavour spectrum from the more herbal through to granadilla and again melon. Made in an extravagant style.
CE 17 JP 17.5
4. Zorgvliet 535 2010
This is made in an ambitious style and shows richness and texture. Good palate weight and length. An apparent sweetness and overt oak on nose and palate are ever so slightly discordant.
CE 16.5 JP 17.5
5.= Shannon Sanctuary Peak 2010
A shy nose before a full and juicy palate showing flavours of green melon and a hint of paprika. Oak extremely well handled adding heft but not distracting in terms of fruit expression. All of a piece.
CE 17 JP 15
5.=Springfield Special Cuvée 2010
A shy nose before a palate showing intense green pepper flavour. A good line of acidty makes for a saline finish. Very well made but not particularly nuanced.
CE 16 JP 16
5.=Vergelegen Reserve Schapenberg Vineyard 2010
Sweaty mercaptan character on the nose and palate. Ripe juicy fruit and tangy acidity.
CE 16 JP 16
8. Springfield Life from Stone 2010
Cut-grass and fynbos on the nose. Extremely green on the palate with bracing acidity and a saline finish. Arresting rather than subtle or sophisticated.
CE 15 JP 16
9. Oak Valley 2010
Shy nose. Very lean on the palate with lime fruit and seering acidity.
CE 15 JP 15.5