Monday, September 04, 2017

Winemag Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend & Wooded Sauvignon Blanc Report 2017

Held at Nitida, this annual award deserves attention; and a sponsor. South African wine drinkers, you are missing a trick! Do we need to bang heads together to get you to pay attention? It is just not cool to ignore blends and only drink single varietals. Many of the famous, most lauded wines of the world are blends - Bordeaux's red and whites particularly. You do not know what you are missing. Yes, some of the bulk producers are filling tanks with bulk wine and selling it cheap as weekend wine, but at the top end of the scale, you find examples like these superb wines. Go on, get with the In Crowd and buy a bottle of one of the wines below and see how it changes your life. Only in South Africa do people ignore the best wines being made for them. The rest of the world snaps them up. To quote wine writer Jancis Robinson, "... Semillon alone is rarely responsible for great white Bordeaux. ... it is in conjunction with Sauvignon Blanc that it displays it's dazzling best”
Wooded Sauvignon Blanc is beginning to make a return from several farms. Do try it; the smoky wood lengthens its life and character. It is also known in French as Blanc Fumé (white smoked). We love it, but only if the wood is supporting, not overwhelming
34 producers submitted 38 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends this year and 15 producers sent in 18 wooded Sauvignons Blanc - a growing number. These wines were judged to be so outstanding that 23 blends and 11 of the wooded Sauvignon Blanc were rated 90 or higher on the 100-point quality scale. This shows such quality and finesse
The full list of wines is at the end of this story
We began with a glass of Nitida's The Matriarch MCC 2015
Jacqueline Lahoud of Winemag with the certificates which were about to be presented. Only those wines scoring 93 points or higher were given these
A small gathering, mainly of wine makers
Jean Daneel, Cape Point Vineyards' marketing manager Anetha Connan, Eagle's Nest winemaker Stuart Botha, Tokara GM Carl Lambour, Peter Allan Finlayson of Gabriëlskloof
Jos van Wyk, Marianne winemaker, Gosia Zielinska, sommelier at Pot Luck Club and Thierry  Haberer, French consultant winemaker at Marianne
Christian Eedes, Editor of Winemag.co.za
Certificates to Rikus Neethling, Bizoe Henrietta 2016
Peter Allan Finlayson of Gabriëlskloof
Highlands Road, winemaker Patricia Simkiss with Michael White
Natasha Williams of Nederburg
Cape Point Vineyards' marketing manager Anetha Connan
Jos van Wyk, Marianne
Nitida. As producer of the best wine overall, Nitida won a new 225-litre Sylvain Blanc barrel worth over R12 800, from Tonnellerie Sylvain, which was presented by Jean Daneel
Gabriëlskloof The Landscape Series Magdalena 2016. Old-vine Semillon from Franschhoek and Sauvignon Blanc from Gabriëlskloof. Very rich, with vanilla toasted oak wood. Needs time, but has it all
Highland Road Sine Cera 2015 from Elgin. Refined Semillon nose, nice and weighty Semillon, with some lovely layers of fruit, mutton fat and fruit acids to ensure long life
Nederburg Private Bin D252 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016 with a temporary label. We could not find any of the Bin numbered wines on the website, so can give no details. It is shy on the nose to begin with, then opens up; in the lighter style but with good acidity and minerality. The 2011 will be in this year's Nederburg Auction
Nitida Coronata Integration 2016 51% Sauvignon Blanc 49% Semillon. This was the top scoring wine. Rich with some good pyrazines on the nose and a little sea air. Perfumed on the palate, rich, full, layered, harmonious, lighting one up, lovely fruit, full of liveliness and such a good mouth feel from the Semillon. Yes, we really do like this wine
Bizoe Henrietta 2016 is made by negotiant Rikus Neethling in Somerset West, buying in the Semillon from Franschhoek and the Sauvignon Blanc from Journey’s End in the Helderberg
Then the two wooded Sauvignons Blanc
Cape Point wooded Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015. Green peas on the nose with a little elderflower. Clean on the palate with lean gooseberries and lime, the wood is nicely integrated and does not shout
Marianne 2016 Sauvignon Blanc has wood, cat’s pee and must on the nose, with lots of vanilla wood - they use batonage. Some oxidation, with light flavours which wake up with food
Lots of canapés were served, these were lovely fish cakes topped with a little tomato confit
Mozzarella, tomato jam and balsamic reduction on bread
A vegetarian platter especially for Jacqueline
Braised mushrooms on avocado
Smoked salmon with a garish pink mayonnaise
Michael White and winemaker Vanessa Simkiss with Highlands Road’s certificate
Duck spring rolls
fish on small bread rounds
Chicken Saté
A coot scoots across the pond
Spring is breaking through; after the recent rains, the grass is so lovely and green
And two ducks leave long wakes
A party beginning at the end of the awards ceremony. Some of the bottles needed finishing
Here is the full list of the wines and the points awarded:

The top Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Blends
93

Bizoe Henriëtta 2016
Gabrielskloof The Landscape Series Magdalena 2016
Highlands Road Sine Cera 2015
Nederburg Private Bin D252 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016
Nitida Coronata Integration 2016 (BEST OVERALL)

92

Benguela Cove Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh 2016
Constantia Uitsig Natura Vista 2015
Fairview Drie Papens Fontein Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound White 2015
Stellenzicht The Ratio 2015

91
David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner The Bowline 2015
90

Celestina Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016
Constantia Glen TWO 2016
Creation Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016
Delaire Graff White Reserve 2016
Glenwood Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016 
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve White 2015
Iona One Man Band 2016
Kevin King Bassey 2015
Nitida Coronata Integration 2015
Vergelegen GVB White 2014
Zorgvliet Simoné 2016


Wooded Sauvignon Blanc

93
Marianne 2016
Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015

92
Stark-Conde Round Mountain 2016
91
Klein Constantia Perdeblokke 2016
90

Authentique 2016
Glendirk 2016
Jordan The Outlier 2016
Klein Constantia Block 361 & 372 2015
Mulderbosch 1000 Miles 2015
Neil Ellis Amica 2016
Nitida Wild Child 2016

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