Better known for the production of fruit – particularly apples and pears – the Elgin Valley is just 70km from Cape Town and is rapidly gaining a reputation for premium quality wines. Elgin Vintners is a partnership of 6 independent wine growers in the Elgin Valley who take advantage of the cool climate to produce wines from an unrivalled spectrum of terroir, soils, aspects, altitudes and meso-climates. Plantings include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viogner and Rhine Riesling with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Pinot Noir and Shiraz representing the red varieties. Vinification is outsourced to several winemakers well known for their style and expression in a particular wine with this particular one being made at Villiera.
The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is Elgin Vintner’s fourth vintage of the varietal with the first “edition” as its called being the 2005 vintage. This is very much the stable star of the label and its reputation allowed the winemakers to diversify into different varietals without taking too much of a commercial risk. The grapes for the 2008 vintage were sourced from four different vineyards and were crushed and destalked following harvesting before being exposed to the skins for 8 hours under carbon dioxide protection to preserve as many of the natural aromas as possible. Thereafter the juice was inoculated with yeast and fermented at 12 degrees celsius in stainless steel tanks with no oak or lees contact so as to avoid clouding the true sauvignon blanc smell and taste.
To the eye the wine is a pale lemon-lime colour with a lot of clarity. On the nose it is unmistakably sauvignon blanc as cut grass and gooseberry aromas abound with a bit of lime thrown in. The taste is multi-layered with citrus fruit, green pepper and asparagus up front followed by gooseberry and green fig underlined by a backbone of freshly cut grass which lingers in the mouth. The wine is good to drink now but can also withstand a few years of cellaring under the right conditions which will tone down the acidity and give it additional smoothness.
Food pairings include shellfish, white fish, and pastas in a creamy sauce. It is also very good with salmon and scrambled egg.
Available at time of publication from Majestic for £ 9.99 a bottle.
Marks out of 100 – 90.