Whether your fish is braaied, fried or pickled, its likely that traditionalists will feature sustainable fish on their Easter menus come Friday. Others may choose to indulge in seafood from shellfish to sushi for more sophisticated fare over the long weekend.
Enjoyment of any and all of these will be heightened with a glass of fine Cape sauvignon blanc to complement piscine flavours and textures. It would be hard to improve on either of these two elegant recent releases, which share several cool-climate characteristics.
Both La Motte’s sauvignon blanc from their Pierneef Collection and the Sanctuary Peak sauvignon blanc from Shannon vineyards are of the 2016 vintage, both have moderate 13% alcohol levels and both are enriched with 10% Semillon. La Motte sourced their sauvignon grapes from Elgin, Bot River and Napier, adding Bot River Semillon. Shannon Vineyards supplied all the grapes from their highland vineyards in Elgin Valley, where they are meticulously managed by James and Stuart Downes.
Both are patrician wines that deserve to be sampled slowly as layers of flavour unfold on the palate and winelovers should make a point of putting a case away for future enjoyment, as they should age beautifully.
And there are as many differences between the two: Let’s look at Sanctuary Peak from Shannon Vineyards more closely. The grapes are taken to Hemel-en-Aarde where Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson vinify the Downes family wines. Given their fine reputation, it’s unsurprising that they continue to produce outstanding examples of site-specific wines, from this single vineyard. I find that the Semillon component – here having spent three months in new French oak - adds so much in terms of richness, silkiness and of course, complexity. The fruit comes through as pear and citrus, a little herbiness followed by anticipated flint. It makes for a wonderful mouthfeel and offers distinctive companionship to fine fishy fare prepared with care. Selling for about R120.
Great care is evident in the final blend of Elgin and South Coast grapes in the La Motte wine, exhibiting artistic levels that characterise the limited premium products of the Pierneef range. The talent of that iconic South African artist is captured in the front label which feature one of a limited edition of his linocut prints, adding an indigenous feature to this complex wine. Beautifully balanced, initial friskiness is followed by layers of granadilla and citrus, plus a touch of herbaceousness before minerality becomes apparent in a long, elegant mouthfeel.
I would love to sample this in three years' time. – it should be magnificent.
This is a wine that could start off proceedings at sunset, and continue to enhance a succulent seafood supper with South-east Asian leanings.