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Sauvignon Blanc - Simplicity rules

Written by  Harry Haddon | March 14, 2014

What is it about Sauvignon Blanc that makes it such a popular wine? Wine geeks and critics sigh and moan about the millions of litres of Sauvignon sucked down the throats of gleeful pool-side sippers, while other grape varieties like Chenin and Riesling are left in the cellar.

 These so-called experts grumble about Sauvignon Blanc’s lack of complexity, its straightforwardness. But they’re mis-sing the point, that’s why Sauvignon Blanc is so damn easy to love: you know what you’re going to get.
    Sauvignon Blanc is like a good friend. It’s a good listener, it doesn’t make its problems yours, and most of all it is dependable. Good old dependable Sauvignon. It’s green, gooseberry, grassy and capsicum flavours, with nettles and that tell-tale zip of acid freshness are easily recognisable, and more importantly, easily repeatable. When we walk down a well-stocked wine isle in a supermarket or wine shop, do the dizzying differences between a couple of Chenins make Sauvignon seem less exciting, or the Chenin Blanc look a little schizo?
    More than being dependable, Sauvignon Blanc is refreshing. Good Sauvignon should slip down easily, that pleasing, lip-smacking tang of acidity that keeps you coming back for more.  It’s fresh, that purity of fruit, unmasked by oak, that we love in Sauvignon Blanc. The good ones are really grapes laid bare, pure scintillating green fruit flavours.
    And the final reason we love Sauvignon Blanc, at least in South Africa, is because of our glorious weather. Whether you are standing in the hot dusty bush, scanning the bushes for a glimpse of some wild beast, or feeling the sun beat down on your neck as the spray from the sea falls on your face, or even sweating it out under a banana tree in the tropics, what better wines to drink than an ice cold, crisp and fresh Sauvignon Blanc?
    We have an astounding amount of very good Sau-
vignon Blancs in South Africa. Nearly every region produces a quality version, each representing something different.
    Internationally, we sit somewhere in between the austere mineral, terroir driven French versions such as Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume, and the super-charged New Zealand examples like the classic Marlborough Sau-vignon Blancs. These New Zealand wines transformed Sauvignon Blanc, and kick-started the love affair the world has with this grape. But where New Zealand have their Sauvignons turned up to eleven, our best show more restraint and elegance.
    Sauvignon Blanc is known for preferring cooler climates, so one would think that rather toasty Robertson would be a bit too warm for Sauvignon Blanc. But the region has a little trick up its sleeve. Lots of shale and limestone soils as well as rather cool evenings allow for really tasty Sauvignon Blancs.
    One of the producers who are generally overlooked when it comes to quality because of their massive output, is Robertson Winery. They are one of the biggest brands by volume in South Africa, and are able to deliver incredible value for money wines.
    When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, Robertson Winery have two standard Sauvignon Blancs that comes in a bottle or box, and their vineyards selection Retreat Sauvignon Blanc.
    The standard version, that comes in at just over R30, is basically free if you think about all the work that goes into a bottle of wine.
    It’s a wine that does everything it says on the box. The 2013 has lots of green flavours like peppers, cut grass, and green apple with a good dollop of tropical fruit. It’s fresh and bright, and is a decent quaffer to have by the pool.
    The box version is pretty much the same. Actually it is the exact same wine. If anything, I found the acidity to be a little more obvious in the box version, but the mix of tropical and green flavours were the same. So, really even better for a poolside sipper, as you don’t have to get out to fetch the second bottle.
    Finally the Retreat Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is made from grapes sourced in the Riviersonderend mountain range at an altitude of 350 metres above sea level. This higher altitude allows for cooler conditions for growing the grapes. This all ends up producing a more intense, more flavourful Sauvignon Blanc, with flavours of flint, gooseberry granadilla and pineapple.
     It’s almost the end of summer, so don’t waste a single hot day without a refreshing glass of Sau-vignon Blanc somewhere near you.

Boks of die bottel wat verkies jy?

O, my boksie wyn! Hulle seg jy gee ’n hengse koppyn. Maar jy’s mos altyd reg om te drink, kom koue of sonskyn. Langs die braai-vleisvuur en met ’n piekniek saam, bly jy altyd vars uit die kraantjie, en maak vervelige geselskap sommer meer verdraagsaam.   

Ons het drie bekende wynliefhebbers en ook lesers van Plaastoe! gevra wat hul keuse is as dit kom by die ‘boks of die bottel’ - en ’n paar heel interessante, en insiggewende reaksies ontvang.

Strijdom van der Merwe – ’n internasionaal bekroonde kunstenaar van Stellenbosch, veral bekend is vir sy landskapkuns en magiese beeldhouwerke.
“Nee jinne, wyn moet mos in ʼn bottel kom, dit is volrond, sag op die pallet, en die natuur se eie nektar. Dit kan nie hoekerig, stekerig en vierkantig vashaak in jou mond nie. Boks-wyndrinkers is vir my soos kanniedood rokers, hulle doen dit uit gewoonte en proe nie meer die mooie. Dit alles seg ek spottenderwys.  Natuurlik het die boks sy plek, maar ek skaar my eerder by die wat die elegansie van die bottel se jare en maande se koester verstaan, en die volmaaktheid van veroudering kan waardeer. Dit kan jy tog nie wil 'boks' nie?”
Lees meer oor Strijdom se kuns by - www.strijdom.co.za

Katinka van Niekerk – van Somerset Wes is medeskrywer van The Food and Wine Pairing Guide wat jou wysmaak hoe om die regte wyn by jou kos te geniet.
“Ek het nog nooit gehoor van iemand wat sy wynkeuse op die verpakking van wyn grond nie.  Al die mense wat ek ken (en dit sluit myself in!), kyk eerder na hoe die wyn lyk, ruik en smaak. Omdat ek kos en wyn kombineer, kies ek altyd 'n wyn wat die heel beste by 'n sekere gereg gaan pas – ongeag of dit uit ’n bottel of uit ’n boks kom. Wyn is so ’n wonderlike produk dat dit verspot sou wees om jou neus op te trek vir die verpakking. As dit egter by die vraag kom van watter een gewoonlik die mees praktiese is om te gebruik, meen ek die bottel wen loshande.  Daar is dikwels nie plek op die etenstafel vir ’n boks nie, en as jy uit nood van ’n sytafeltjie af moet skink, is daar altyd ’n paar druppels wat op die mat beland – al mik jy ook hoe mooi. Sit jy hom langs jou op die vloer neer, lig die hond sy been daarteen, of die kat kom lek die kraantjie; en daar is altyd, altyd, iemand wat hom onderstebo skop!”  
Lees meer oor Katinka se kos- en wynkursus by - www.katinkafoodwine.co.za

Pieter Fourie – woon tans in Robertson, en is die bekroonde skrywer van onder meer Faan se Trein wat onlangs as ’n rolprent verfilm is met Willie Esterhuizen as Faan.
“Vir ʼn man wat van sy wyn hou, het die boks ʼn mistieke bekoring deurdat hy jou nie gesiens herinner aan hoeveel jy drink nie. Hy laat jou toe om ongesiens jou aandjie te geniet. Jou beursie bly dikvellig-volpens, en vermy anorexia. Hy laat Bacchus se water maar oor Bacchus se akker loop. ʼn Man wat natuurlik die kromhout koester in sy volronde diversiteit, besing die bottel sonder enige bitterbekkigheid oor sy bankstate.”
Lees gerus meer oor die nuwe rolprent Faan se Trein wat tans by filmteaters speel  - www.beeld.com/bylae/2013-05-24-faan-het-gevloei-uit-n-onrustige-gevoel