Friday, 22 July 2011

Bryn's top six count down continues: Number 5...

Our roaming wine advisor Bryn continues his countdown of his top six favourite wines from his two years with Averys. And it’s another South African at number five!

Vondeling Sauvignon Blanc 2009 - £8.99

‘Granite! Granite! Glorious granite! Nothing quite like it for old Savvy Blanc!’ exclaims brilliant young winemaker Matthew Copeland. It is precisely this knowledge, passion and skill that tempted me to send off my CV to apply for harvest internship with Matthew in February 2012.

Vondeling is situated on a rocky granite outcrop on the slopes of the Paarderberg where the farm benefits from unique microclimates and very complex soil profiles. These microclimates give the Vondeling vines a longer ripening season than most of the other appellations in South Africa, so the grapes are able to reach the peak of maturity before being picked. Matthew has been the winemaker here since 2007 having worked in a number of challenging places around the world, and he has been garnering an enviable reputation for making wines of elegance, purity and finesse, almost European in style.

Having said that there are still problems with excessive heat in South Africa, but as his earlier exclamation says, it’s this granite outcrop that makes this particular Sauvignon Blanc so brilliant! It adds a minerality to the naturally flavourful warm climate Sauvignon fruit that balances the wine perfectly! Yields are kept ultra low through dedicated vineyard management to increase concentration and complexity in the flavours. The free-run juice and pressed juice are managed separately and blended to create perfect balance. Cold fermentation is used to lock in the zing and the wine is aged on its lees for around 7 months to add weight and a creamy mouth feel.

Brilliant pale elderflower colour in the glass with just a slight tinge of green. The nose is restrained for new world sav, showing tropical fruits like guava and passion fruit, hints of blackcurrant leaf. It opens out to reveal hints of grapefruit and freshly sliced green pepper, and a wonderful herbaciousness that I love about South African Sauvignon. The palate is pure, minerally and beautifully poised. It washes the whole palate with a deep and rich flavour and zippy acidic zing on the very long tropical and flinty finish. Drink this as an aperitif, or with fish. Another suggestion is to try this with simple steamed asparagus. I personally will be drinking this with some Kingklip (local SA fish) as my first meal out in South Africa!

Vondeling wines have been wowing critics and restauranteurs for a long time now, with people like Albert and Michel Roux of La Gavroche (Britain’s first Michelin starred restaurant) stocking several of the estate’s wines. If you ever find yourself out in South Africa, the winery is well worth a visit but you may need to call ahead. There is even a luxury farmhouse available for hire should you want to stay in the winelands for a week!

I feel slightly harsh singling out this wine for such praise as all of the Vondeling wines are extremely well made and excellent value. Check out their Erica Shiraz, the Baldrick Shiraz, the Petit Rouge and Blanc, and when we have it the Babiana! They are all superb!

Should you want to know more about this wine or any of the Vondeling range, please don’t hesitate to give one of the wine advisors a call on 01275 812230 or visit


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