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SA vs Rest of World Wooded Sauvignon Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon tasting

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Colomé Lote Especial 2017
Product of Argentina.

On Saturday, the fourth annual South Africa vs the Rest of the World tasting organized by Tim Atkin and Samantha O’Keefe of Lismore in Greyton took place, this time featuring Wooded Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon-Blanc-Semillon blends.

There were 41 wines in total, 27 from South Africa and 14 from the rest of the world. Those in attendance included: Tim Atkin MW, Nadia Barnard (Waterkloof), Jacques du Plessis (Constantia Uitsig), Christian Eedes, Bartho Eksteen (Bartho Eksteen/ Wynskool), Peter-Allan Finlayson (Crystallum/Gabriëlskloof), François Haasbroek (Bloemendal/Blackwater), Henry Kotze (Morgenster) Werner Muller (Iona), Gordan Newton Johnson (Newton Johnson), Nadia Newton Johnson (Newton Johnson), Samantha O’Keefe (Lismore) and Riandri Visser (Cape Point Vineyards). We tasted blind and scored using the 100-point system.

Flight One
1. Torres Fransola 2015, Penedès (SPAIN); 2. Reyneke Reserve White 2014; 3. Mulderbosch 1000 Miles 2015 ; 4. Alphonse Mellot Le Manoir, Sancerre 2016 (FRANCE); 5. Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc 2017; 6. Vergelegen GVB 2015; 7. One Man Band 2015; 8. Dog Point Section 94, Marlborough (NEW ZEALAND)

Flight Two
1. Newton Johnson Resonance 2015; 2. Saltimbanco Sauvignon Blanc, Uco Valley 2016 (ARGENTINA); 3. Gabriëlskloof Magdalena 2016; 4. David Nieuwoudt The Bowline 2016; 5. François Cotat Les Monts Damnés, Sancerre 2015 (FRANCE); 6. Bloemendal Suider Terras 2015; 7. Klein Constantia Metis 2016; 8. Viña Leyda Lot 4, Leyda Valley 2016 (CHILE)

Flight Three
1. Cape Point Reserve 2016; 2. David Nieuwoudt Wild Ferment 2016; 3. Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2016; 4. Diemersdal MM Louw 2016; 5. Dagueneau Blanc Fumé de Pouilly 2013 (FRANCE); 6. Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2015; 7. Cape Point Isliedh 2016; 8. Le Petit Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan 2015 (FRANCE);  

Flight Four
1. Bartho Eksteen Vloekskoot CWG 2013; 2. Constantia Glen Two 2016; 3. Greywacke Wild Sauvignon, Marlborough 2015 (NZ); 4. Shannon Capall Ban 2016; 5. Jordan The Outlier 2016; 6. Cullen Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Margaret River 2016 (AUSTRALIA); 7. Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2017; 8. Domaine de Chevalier 2011, Pessac-Léognan (FRANCE)

Flight Five
1. Tokara Directors Reserve 2015; 2. Constantia Uitsig Natura Vista 2015; 3. Château Reynon Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux 2016 (FRANCE); 4. Morgenster White Reserve 2015; 5. Sol de Sol, Malleco Valley 2016 (CHILE); 6. Bloemendal Kanonberg 2015; 7. Colomé Lote Especial 2017, Altura Máxima, Salta (ARGENTINA); 8. Steenberg Magna Carta 2016; 9. Diemersdal Wild Horse 2016;

Here’s how my top six turned out:
1.= Colomé Lote Especial 2017, Altura Máxima, Salta (ARGENTINA) – 95
1.= Saltimbanco Sauvignon Blanc, Uco Valley 2016 (ARGENTINA) – 95
3.= Iona One Man Band 2015 – 94
3.= Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2017 – 94
3.= Shannon Capall Ban 2016 – 94
3.= Sol de Sol, Malleco Valley 2016 (CHILE) – 94

The overall top 10 were as follows:
1. Bartho Eksteen Vloekskoot CWG 2013
2. Tokara Directors Reserve 2015
3. Newton Johnson Resonance 2015
4.= Iona One Man Band 2015
4.= Vergelegen GVB 2015
6. Constantia Uitsig Natura Vista 2015
7.= Sol de Sol, Malleco Valley 2016 (CHILE)
7.= David Nieuwoudt Wild Ferment 2016
9.= Bloemendal Kanonberg 2015
9.= Cape Point Reserve 2016

Some general observations: There were different tolerance levels among the tasters for levels of 1) reduction and 2) pyrazine character. I’m not particularly partial to wines showing overtly flinty or gun smoke aromatics nor those showing a “green” character but no doubt these wines are striking and they certainly had their fans among the assembled group. I tended to like the slightly more oxidative examples which others often viewed as too “funky”.

Another sub-set of wines were those with more floral aromatics and lighter in body – these tended to get overwhelmed by the richer examples. Also, wines with some age tended to outperform wines from more recent vintages.

Taken as a whole, this was a strong flight of wines with little to choose between the best and the rest – my overall average score was 90.7 (even allowing for Domaine de Chevalier 2011 compromised by oxidation to which I gave 78 points). Wooded Sauvignon Blanc and Sauv-Sem blends clearly make for wines of some excellence even if they do not yet have a very great following among consumers.

To read Tim Atkin’s report on the tasting, click here.

3 COMMENTS

    • Unfortunately, tasting arrangements were such that we weren’t able to examine the cork. It appears as though this was a case of “random bottle oxidation” as colleague Angela Lloyd reports via Twitter that a bottle from her own collection opened subsequent to the above incident, was sound.

  1. Hi Christian, our current vintage of Capall Bann (Irish for White Horse) is the 2015, released alongside the 2015 Mount Bullet. Drinking beautifully and would have been interesting to see how it compared to the other 2015 vintage wines in the tasting. We will only release the 2016 Capall Bann alongside the 2016 Mount Bullet in next year. So think of the 2016 Capall Bann tasted on Saturday as a very very early pre-release tasting. Must say that it’s a fascinating category with huge potential. Cheers James

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