10-Year-Old Sauv-Sem blends under review
By Christian Eedes, 25 March 2021
Following the recent 10-Year-Old Wine Report, yesterday saw another look at wines from the 2011 vintage, this time the line-up consisting exclusively of Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blends, five from South Africa and two from Bordeaux. The tasting was organized by colleague Angela Lloyd with me and James Pietersen of Wine Cellar in attendance – we tasted blind and then ranked them (no ties allowed).
The overall grading was as follows:
1. Chateau De Fieuzal 2011
2. Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2011
3. Vergelegen G.V.B 2011
4. Domaine de Chevalier 2011
5. Chamonix Reserve 2011
6. Tokara Director’s Reserve 2011
7. Steenberg Magna Carta 2011
My grading (with scores according to the 100-point quality system alongside) as follows:
1. Vergelegen G.V.B 2011 – 94
2. Domaine de Chevalier 2011 – 93
3. Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2011 – 93
4. Chateau De Fieuzal 2011 – 92
5. Chamonix Reserve 2011 – 92
6. Tokara Director’s Reserve 2011 – 92
7. Steenberg Magna Carta 2011 – 91
Some general observations: Taken as a whole, this was an extraordinarily good line-up. If the definition of age-worthiness is that wines should become more pleasurable and more interesting to drink with time in the bottle, then these certainly qualify.
Regarding the perennial question as to whether or not South Africa can match the best in the world, a most emphatic “yes”. There was little between Vergelegen and Domaine de Chevalier for me, these wines both managing to strike a balance between firmness and elegance. The Fieuzal, on the other hand, showed more outright power. Isliedh from Cape Point Vineyards is an intriguing wine with a subtle oxidative character, for which read “baked apple”. As for the Tokara, best white wine overall in the 10-Year-Old Report, it showed as particularly full and exotic in the context of this line-up (also the only wine to be closed under screwcap).
Lastly, what this exercise reminded me is that it is possible to score different wines the same based on inherent quality but to rank one above another in terms of your own stylistic preferences. Wine appreciation is a funny old business.
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