The prospect of hearing a miniature wire-haired Dachshund being crushed beneath my car tyres is daunting. That’s why I always attempt to enter the hallowed grounds of De Grendel Wine Estate with attentive trepidation. A little furry creature tends to roam the expansive grounds and one should be careful not to run the thing down, as numerous signboards warn.
Should wirey connect with my rubber, I do carry an empty wine box in my trunk when visiting De Grendel. If I run over the dog I’ll just bung him in the box, make a u-turn and head for the hills.
Usually though, the box is filled with wine, a dead Dachshund not in sight. (Not yet, that is.) De Grendel is one of my coolest wine places to visit as the enjoyment is not limited to one aspect. I dig the views and I like the people. Carlos Hopkins, one of South Africa’s finest winemakers, is skilled in allowing his infectious likeability to spill-over into the appreciation of the stunning wines he churns out. His assistant, Elzette du Preez, is equally charming and warm, and I always leave De Grendel with the words of American columnist Ernie Pyle resonating in my head: “People, in general, are good.”
I haven’t been to De Grendel for some time, but Elzette dropped me a bottle of the Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2010 the other day. This is De Grendel’s top-end Sauvignon, made from the farm’s grapes, as well as some Darling fruit. The wine is also a result of Carlos’s attempts to suck more out of the grapes: longer skin and lees contact, but everything revolves around capturing the essence of the fruit.
Fresh it is, brimming with steely minerality and a bright keenness from the front-palate to the finish. No fruit salad here: bracing grassiness, quartz stone and sagebrush. Cool, fresh and lingering.
A passion fruit and gooseberry element is there, but only slightly and somewhat suppressed by the wine’s youth. The wine should be splendidly opulent in a few months’ time. Pity about the screw-cap, though. I would hate to see the wine spoilt by a yukkish reductiveness which is so often the case with Sauvignon Blancs that are bottle-matured under screw-cap.
My bet is to get going, grab this wine and enjoy until the end of summer 2011.
But watch out for the dog, please.
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