Yesterday a vertical of Vergelegen White from the maiden 2001 to 2011 convened by colleague Angela Lloyd and hotsted by the property’s managing director Don Tooth and winemaker André van Rensburg. In short, this is unquestionably one of the great Soiuth African wines of the modern era.
Van Rensburg identifies two eras, the first being from 2001 to 2007 where the wine tended to be Semillon dominated and more new oak at play and the second from 2008 onwards, the vines now older and the yields smaller. The divide was marked for me, corresponding to a shift in flavour profile from greener to riper.
Scores and tasting notes as follows:
78% Sauvignon Blanc, 22% Semillon. Old fashioned in that it has a pronounced green bean quality. Some aged-induced honey. Very much intact.
33% Sauvignon Blanc, 67% Semillon. Includes some botrytised fruit. Rich and full with pronounced honey character. Some pyrazine bite on the finish. A-typical but expressive and rewarding.
22% Sauvignon Blanc, 78% Semillon. Great delicacy and poise. Lime fruit, zingy acidity, long finish.
CWG Auction wine and hence a barrel selection of the normal bottling. 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 80% Semillon. Slight nutty character. Rich and full but relatively tired.
33% Sauvignon Blanc, 67% Semillon. Slight green bean quality on nose and palate plus pyrazine bite on the finish. Less stately than other vintages.
21% Sauvignon Blanc, 79% Semillon. Range of flavour from herbal through tangerine but not quite the same concentration of other vintages. Moderate acidity.
25% Sauvignon Blanc, 75% Semillon. Arresting with notes of green bean, herbaceousness and some vanilla. Still quite primary for its age.
52% Sauvignon Blanc, 48% Semillon. Very sexy – white peach, granadilla and pineapple flavours. Juicy and full with moderate acidity. Delicious sweet ‘n sour sensation.
65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon. Slight gunpowder note plus lime fruit on the nose. Great fruit expression – pure and focussed. Coated acidity and amazing length.
41% Sauvignon Blanc and 59% Semillon. Extravagant wine which appears far from resolved yet. Ripe fruit and vanilla flavour, gentle acidity.
50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Semillon. Very primary with some gravel road dustiness as well as some white flower perfume. Lime fruit, zesy acidity. Clean and pure. Utterly enticing now but will only gain in complexity.