Showing Sauvignon to the Poms

Piet talking Sauvie with a bald Pom.
Piet talking Sauvie with a bald Pom.

That hellish Emirates flight between Cape Town and London via Dubai eluded me this week. My gig as auctioneer at the Jan Kriel Wine Auction in Covent Garden was cancelled when His Lordship Ken Forrester stepped in to offer his services. The one bloke I did ask to cover for me was Pieter de Waal, secretary of the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group.For a Rhone Ranger, Pieter does seem to get around. Not only by punting Sauvignon Blanc, but now also dabbling in Pinot Noir. If it goes on like this, our Piet only has to wax Pinotage and Cabernet before he can takeover as Wosa CEO – although he does not seem to have enough hair for this job, actually speaks Afrikaans and is popular throughout the wine industry.
Some Chenin eyebrows maybe raised, but one has to agree with the SBIG that Sauvignon Blanc is SA’s signature white grape variety.
Grape prices exceed that of any other white variety in SA and it is the country’s largest white variety in terms of variety bottled sales.
Piet and company are at the London Wine Trade Fair this week promoting South African Sauvignon Blanc. If this were not laborious enough, he and his crew are following this gig with a roadshow around Britain promoting the joys of SA Sauvie.
Piet, JC Bekker from DGB and the rest of the Sauvie crew are an example of what this industry need more of: stop talking and organising. Take the bottle, hit the road. If you build it, they will come.

Press Release from Piet

In what can be seen as a further step in promoting Sauvignon Blanc as South Africa’s signature white grape variety, the South African Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group (SBIG), in association with Wines of South Africa (WOSA), again presents a collection of the finest examples of this grape variety at the London International Wine Fair 2009., The wines on show come from near and far and are a true reflection of the incredible variety of styles that can be achieved due to the diversity of South African terroir., Whether it be a vineyard at sea-level or one more than a thousand metres above, with cool breezes coming in from the West over the Atlantic Ocean or from the East over the Indian Ocean, planted in rock and flint or sand over layers of limestone, each of the wines on show gives a unique sense of place.

Dalene Steyn, WOSA’s Market Manager Europe, says:, “As a result of the immense investment in uprooting of vines and replanting of new areas which took place between 1996 and 2004, South Africa now produces wines that truly reflect the rich diversity of our abundant homeland, imparting distinct and highly individualistic flavours to the wines., Nowhere is this more predominant than in our Sauvignon Blancs, where one from Robertson tastes completely different to an Elgin, Durbanville or Cederberg bottling., This diversity is a great asset which we as an industry are committed to protecting through our Biodiversity & Wine Initiative.”,

According to Pieter de Waal, secretary of SBIG and the person who will be on hand at the show to pour and discuss the wines: “We started these international theme tastings four years ago and found that visitors appreciated the opportunity to taste a range of top-quality Sauvignon Blanc wines from South Africa and to discuss the different micro-climates that give each of these wines its distinctive and unique characteristics., I believe that Sauvignon Blanc is the grape variety that is most sensitive to its growing conditions and therefore the ideal variety to underpin WOSA’s ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëVariety is in our Nature’ campaign., More than half of the wines that we will be showing are made by producers who are members of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI).”

Twenty-three of South Africa’s finest Sauvignon Blancs have been selected based on track-record as well as regional diversity and, according to JC Bekker, chairperson of SBIG, “The wines that will be presented are of world-class quality and will serve to convince the international wine trade and media that South Africa is now a producer of seriously good examples of Sauvignon Blanc., We have hosted a number of international media and trade tastings over the past four years and the responses have all been that South African Sauvignon Blanc can now compete with the best to be found in other parts of the world., What they really like about our Sauvignons is the core of minerality supported by well-balanced fruit and acidity., Our Sauvignons are not overblown and one-dimensional but rather show layers of complex aromas and flavours.”
The benchmark Sauvignon Blancs that will be poured at the WOSA stand are;
Avondale, Black Oystercatcher, Boschendal, Cederberg, Constantia Glen, De Grendel, Diemersdal, Durbanville Hills, Fleur du Cap, Fryers Cove, Graham Beck, Groote Post, Hidden Valley, Iona, Jordan, Klein Constantia, Lands End, Martin Meinert, Nederburg, Nitida, Oak Valley, Sir Lambert and Springfield.Pieter de Waal will also be joining the team on “The Great South African Wine Trail” bus that will be travelling throughout the United Kingdom for two weeks after the LIWF and will be using the opportunity to further promote South African Sauvignon Blanc as the perfect wine for Spring and Summer.

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