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 NEW WORLD: Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa

2017 Gold: 1 Silver: 3 Bronze: 4 Commended: 8
2016 Gold: 0 Silver: 3 Bronze: 8 Commended:

Sauvignon Blanc has been a slow-burner in the Cape, but there are signs that the growers are really starting to get the hang of it – and that the South African style is starting to resonate with sommeliers.

Whether or not it will resonate with the public, however, is a different matter. Most of our judges felt that these wines were destined to remain in the ‘cheap varietal’ basket, ordered by customers who don’t really care where the wine is from and just want Sauvignon at a good price.

While this might be a slightly depressing scenario, at least the wines delivered. There was plenty of good stuff here under £8 a bottle.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘This flight was better at the lower end of the price range, where there was lots of varietal character for a good price. There were different styles on offer, including barrel-fermented examples, and it’s good to be able to offer this choice to customers.’ Charles Pashby-Taylor, Dabbous

‘The fresh, fruity, good value for money wines were the best in this flight.’ Olivier Marie, team leader

‘At a low price point it’s very easy to sell South African Sauvignon Blanc.’ Neil Tabraham, Paris House

‘Personally I love South African wines. Some of these wines had a pepperiness, which I think is quite South African. And there was a very high quality of winemaking throughout.’ Olivier Gasselin, Hakkasan Group

‘I think when people ask for Sauvignon Blanc they don’t care about the country it comes from. They are fine if I tell them I have a South African Sauvignon Blanc by the glass.’ Robert Mason, Cheese at Leadenhall