(2022) From selected cooler sites in the Western Cape, this was delibrately exposed to oxygen at specific times during vinification, which is far from the usual recipe for Sauvignon Blanc. What that has supressed in pungent and fiery aromatics it has gained in a more complex, layered set of aromas with a little breadiness and bruised apple character. In the mouth there is plentiful sweet fruit, very much more orthodox SB in a way, with punchy nectarine ripeness and limey acidity coming together for a ripe but balanced style.
(2021) Sauvignon from the Western Cape, immediately suggesting quite ripe tropical fruit, just a hint of herbaceous gooseberry and elderflower. In the mouth this is basically dry, just a little residual sugar to fatten the mid-palate, quite fresh and clean flavours with a hint of something smoky in there, and enough acidity to stop it feeling cloying. This will regularly appear on promotion I'd guess, and is down to just £5.75 in Asda until December 12th 2021.
(2021) Porcupine Ridge is a second label of the excellent Boekenhoutskloof estate, the wines made in big volumes in conjunction with the local cooperative cellar. Note too that there is a straight Sauvignon Blanc in the range on sale in Sainsbury's at less than £7, but untasted by me. This blends some Semillon, though it is the capsicum and gooseberry-touched fruity blast of Sauvignon that comes through most strongly. In the mouth there's a flattering touch of sweetness to offset juicy lime acidity. The fresh flavours across the mid-palate show a bit of fat, lemony character which the Semillon and just a touch of oak influence will be boosting. No aggressive side to this, in an easy-drinking style. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) A big blend of 55% Chenin with proportions of Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc and Viognier from Wellington, with Semillon, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Roussanne from Hemel-en-Aarde. Main components matured in French oak. Feels like plenty of nutty, Cox’s pippin English apple fruit, creamy and nutty oak too. After the fireworks of the Optenhorst Chenin it is more muted, or rather, less vivid, but the sweetness of the fruit, married with the nutty creaminess of the oak is appealing. Quite widely available.
(2019) From the Western Cape, this at first looks like another cutely commercial SB to please the masses, its label festooned with jokey cartoon sheep. And while the wine is indeed a crowd-pleaser, it's also cleverly made with partial skin contact and around 30% fermented in 500-litre French oak casks, to give a little more weight, texture and ultimate interest than many at this price point. An undertow of toast and nutty aromatics to the bright citrus fruit, the palate with a bit of real concentration and salty character adding to the sense of freshness and length. The name and those sheep? Apparently a herd of wandering sheep did some early-morning leaf thinning as they munched their way through the vineyards.
(2018) There's a small but growing fashion for Southern Hemisphere winemakers to blend together aromatic white grape varieties that wouldn't normally sit together in classic European regions. This is a delightful example featuring mostly Sauvignon Blanc, along with Viognier and Semillon, blended to lovely effect as the grassiness of the Sauvignon, peach of the Viognier and buttery lemon of the Semillon combine. Zingy and vibrant, it's a silky charmer with lovely balance. On offer at £8.99 at time of writing.
(2017) KWV is one of the great old names of South African wines and spirits, but today is a very modern winery with a youthful winemaking team, access to great fruit, and some excellent wines. They are also part owned by a Black Empowerment business, so represent the modern South Africa too. This is exuberant, explosive stuff with fruity and bright aromas of stone fruits and red apple, before a palate overflowing with fruit - more of that nectarine juiciness - and a good bedrock of acidity to offset the ripe sweetness of the fruit. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2016) From the second-tier Zalze range, and down to £5.99 in Waitrose until 27th July 2016, this green-apple Chenin has loads of punch and just a rounding note of custard, before a crisp but sweet-fruited palate that stays focused, lively and bright to the finish.
(2011) 13%. There's a touch of honey and honeysuckle floral character here, as well as a hint of vanilla (from some barrel ageing), but the crunchy apple fruit is the driving force. On the palate quite a full texture and plenty of apple again, a hint of residual sweetness and sour lemon acidity pushing through.