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KWV Cathedral Cellar Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Big on the granadilla.

The time has come for commentators to celebrate a broader spread of Sauvingon Blanc styles. A heavily pyrazine-driven way of doing it has held sway for about the last 10 years and it’s not difficult to work out why – prior to that local Sauvignon tended to be pretty wishy-washy so when these dramatically green wines came along, they really stood out and their intensity of flavour quite rightly reaped plenty of reward.

There’s an element of fashion when it comes to wine, however, and just as the drinking public became so fatigued with heavily wooded Chardonnay that the ABC (“Anything But Chardonnay”) movement sprung up, there is a danger that “green” Sauvignon Blanc will fall out of favour.

The winemaking team at KWV are a thoughtful bunch and the Cathedral Cellar Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is clearly an attempt to be ahead of the curve. The aroma of granadilla billows out of the glass and it’s again present on the palate along with some pineapple, too. It’s fairly bursting with ripe fruit and it’s tempting to think of it as the perfect incarnation of new-wave Sauvignon Blanc but there’s one small but significant shortcoming in that it lacks real acidic zip. You’re left with the impression that its originators were trying too hard to get away from “lean and mean”. Score: 15.5/20. Cellar price: R80 a bottle.


  1. Hi Christain

    Does this not validate what Debra Meiburg was saying at OMTWS 2011….I quote: I think there’s a danger when regions chase that lively green methoxypyrazine flavours. That was quite trendy about ten years ago, but much of the wine world that was producing those styles are moving away from that. 

    I would imagine she is talking from an international taste prospective, thus effecting wines we export, as opposed to what the local market wants and drinks.


  2. Hi Dionysus, What makes OMTWS such a worthwhile undertaking is the input from international judges such as Meiburg. I’ve had the privilege of chairing the Sauvignon Blanc panel at this competition for the last couple of years and have certainly been influenced by what the international judges have had to say. Alex Hunt’s view in 2010 was that many of the wines appeared manipulated”, Meiburg’s view last year was that they were too green, as you correctly point out. I’ don’t think anyone should be swayed too drastically by an MW who pops in for a couple of days but we should at least keep an open mind. Ultimately, however, we need to have more self-confidence: Strandveld Sauvignon Blanc 2010 is just about as good as any dry white could possibly be, and I defy anybody to find serious fault with it.

  3. Totally agree with you on the Strandveld Sauvignon, it’s almost pure green Nirvana, bar one thing, that slightly hefty 14% abv – roughly 2.5% less than a decent Muscat. However, its deftly balanced, will age a charm and so what if knocking back a bottle gets you little buzzed.


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