Dead Dogs and Sauvignon Blanc


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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4 thoughts on “Dead Dogs and Sauvignon Blanc

  1. The resident Mini Wire Haired at De Grendel is called Freddy. He was the inspiration for me getting one and for the whole of this year Daisy has enchanted us. Fortunately we have no driveway!

  2. Of course it is about wine but Dachshund lovers might just hijack this post. We have 2 dishy dachshies. The second we bought from a small ad. Gorgeous little critter, but as he grew so his legs grew more than is decent for a dachshie. Opinion varies but it seems he is a coss dachshie and Jack Russell. What a brilliant mix, he has inherited the best characteristics of both breeds. I have no idea why I am posting this except to give Rupert some air time 😉

    BTW, the De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc and their Merlot feature on our wine list, very popular and rightly so.

  3. I often see a confusion – miniture, miniture wire head, wirehead, long hair smooth, etc. etc of these crawlers at dog shows. In vinous terms – they are the dog world’s equivalent of a wine supermarket shelf.

    May I suggest trying an English Bulldog? They burp, fart, and snore. In short, they are the vinous equivalent of a famous Prof Perold discription of a particular wine – dit ruik soos ‘n nat poep.

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