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Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2018

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Alwyn van der Merwe

Director of Investments

The rise in popularity of sauvignon blanc among South African wine consumers has led to an abundance of sub-par – even undrinkable – wines as producers started to plant grapes in areas wholly unsuited to this varietal. An exception is the Durbanville region. I recently put one of the excellent wines from this area to the test: the Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2018.

I’ve often written how ‘fashion’ can dictate human behaviour to the point that it’s hard to justify on a rational basis. This is not only true for investments, but also in the world of wine – in both cases, the fashionable trend often ends in tears.

After consumers got tired of over-oaked and over-ripe local chardonnays, ‘racy’ sauvignon blancs took centre stage – which led to the production of a myriad of inferior, and quite frankly, almost undrinkable sauvignon blancs as winemakers planted grapes in areas unsuited to the varietal and struggled to handle the grapes properly in the cellar.

The Durbanville region, however, has demonstrated the ability over the years to produce the fruit that can be transformed into award-winning wines in the cellar. One of these estates, Diemersdal, has specialised in the production of sauvignon blanc, proving it can make wines that not only reflect the true character of the grape but also capture the essence of the so-called ‘terroir’.

The Reserve 2018 is a prime example of this success story. The wine introduces itself as full-flavoured, covering an extremely wide flavour spectrum. The initial awareness is of floral and tropical flavors, particularly passion fruit. These flavours are backed up by citrus or lime, a hint of nettle and – true to the area – a dustiness that rounds off the complex experience. The natural, but not overpowering, acidity provides the backbone to this wine that fills the mid-palate and ensures a lingering after-taste.

Many wine lovers like to drink this style of wine early, but personally, I prefer to drink sauvignon blanc after a year or two in the bottle. This allows the primary flavours to mellow and integrate, providing an elegant and complex drinking experience

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