Old Sauvignon Blanc Favourite Diemersdal Pockets Young Wine Show Trophy

Thursday, 31 August, 2017
Diemersdal Estate
Diemersdal Estate’s commitment to Sauvignon Blanc once again paid-off by its winning the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at this year’s South African National Young Wine Show. This follows on what Diemersdal winemaker Thys Louw has termed an “absolutely brilliant year” for Sauvignon Blanc, with some of the best quality wines he has ever seen emerging from of his sixth generation owned family estate.

The dry, warm winter was followed by a hot Spring, and conditions were not looking all that favourable for quality Sauvignon Blanc, especially seeing as Diemersdal’s signature is making wines from dryland vineyards exclusively,” says Louw. “A healthy dollop of rain in December cooled things down and got water down to the soils. Having a large clay component, cool and damp soils were ensured for the rest of the 2017 vintage. Add the mild conditions we had during harvest, and quality of Sauvignon Blanc was one of the best I have ever seen in my time on the farm.”

According to Louw, the South African Young Wine Show is of profound importance as this is where the entire industry comes together so as the quality of the 2017 wine harvest can be assessed and producers can compare themselves with their peers.

“With close on 2 000 wines entered from all the country’s wine regions, this is the most competitive wine show in South Africa,” says Louw. “Winning a trophy means you have shone out above hundreds of other wines, all judged by a panel of experts. Obviously the main achievement is winning the General Smuts Trophy presented at the show to the best producer, something we achieved in 2013, also with Sauvignon Blanc.”

Winning the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy is of particular importance due to the fact that this represents the most popular consumer wine in South African today, and therefore the most competitive white wine category.

“The reason the consumer likes the variety, is because it is easy to understand,” says Thys. “When buying a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, whether it costs R60 or R600, there is going to be an element in that wine to which the wine drinker can relate, something in the flavour profile he or she can understand… freshness, balance between fruit and acidity, a pleasure to drink.

“As in all wines, there are differences in flavour and structure due to the origin of the grapes and the respective terroir of the vineyards, wine making style, and so forth. In South Africa we see Sauvignon Blancs from Elgin having their own characteristics, as is the case with wines from Durbanville, Darling, Robertson. They all have their own fingerprints – some are more tropical, others greener. But at the end of the day, there is a Sauvignon Blanc sweet-spot the consumer can relate to, and that makes for the success of the variety. People like difference, yes, but familiarity reassures them. This is why Sauvignon Blanc outsells any other South African white grape variety by three to one, and why it achieve the highest average price for white wine grapes.

“Winning the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at the SA National Young wine show is a tremendous honour in light of the many excellent wines made from this grape in South Africa.”

Diemersdal winemaker Thys Louw
Diemersdal winemaker Thys Louw

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