Jancis Robinson chooses Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc
By Tamlyn Currin
When Wines of South Africa chose the message of biodiversity to persuade the world to drink their wines, I was bemused. Without doubt, South Africa has some of the most staggering natural beauty in the world; and the Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the richest in the world, known most famously for its fynbos; but how this all translated into the quality of South African wine was rather less clear.
Recently, however, I have come across some South African winemakers who have begun to make the connection for me, including Eben Sadie with his almost evangelical reverence for, and knowledge of, his each and every Swartland vineyard, and Simon Back with his cool-headed long view of the intensely practical, economic value of sustainability and organics. Then, in Waterkloof’s Sauvignon Blanc 2010, I could taste the fynbos.
It’s a pale wine, with aromas that smell of wet rock and windswept beaches, wild flowers and pungent gorse, guava and sand, wild fennel and brine-soaked chalk. And then a honeyed note, soft, floating. The wine itself as brisk as the Atlantic, chiselled minerality, shimmering with tension and presence and persistence. Lemon crystals crackling in the mouth with skeins of tarragon, darts of aniseed. And somewhere in the tightly coiled core, the promise of nectarine-citrus sweetness. On the long finish, direct and unflinching, a purity.