It’s a good start when your just-launched 2018 sauvignon blanc attracts gold and the Best of Show South Africa White award at the reputable Mundus Vini spring tasting held in Neustadt, Germany last month.
Not that this new release from the prestigious Pierneef Collection differs that much from its previous vintages: for both the 2016 and 2017 share many characteristics with the current release, a feature that many legions of fans applaud and expect.
In the 2018 Pierneef sauvignon blanc the semillon component is upped to 12% from 8% last year, a move which I think mellows flinty sauvignon blancs with a touch of honeyed, waxy richness. It is also an all-Cape South Coast wine, its grapes having been sourced in Elim and Napier, with the semillon from Elim.
Staying true to previous vintages the nose offers hints of grapefruit and gooseberry, follows with these flavours on the palate, plus some green pepper, allied to crisp freshness and backed by mineral notes. In all this elegant complexity already offers much pleasure, and will surely go on developing in bottle for years to come as cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche has proven with previous vintages.
Alcohol levels are held to under 13% in this screwcapped bottle, adorned, as are its siblings,with a linocut of a South African scene from the Pierneef Collection.
Open a bottle of the 2016 vintage, which I did immediately after writing this, and the similarities were striking: the wine is as fresh and frisky as the latest vintage, with the semillon here sourced from Bot River. There is a waft of granadilla on the palate not noticeable in the other vintages.
In the 2017 vintage the semillon is reduced to just 8% and i think the difference is just discernible cf 2018, while the sauvignon grapes came from the same districts but the semillon originated in Elim.
Elegance is uppermost, and the Pierneef sauvignon blancs are stylish wines that present a complex blend of freshness, flavour and flint.
They make a fine aperitif ahead of a patrician menu, come into their own with most seafood creations such as La Motte Chef Eric Bulpitt’s Citrus and Fennel Franschhoek Trout and can enhance some dishes from the Far East – here advance experimentation is advisable...
The 2018 La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc sells for R135 online or at cellar door. For more information on the older pair visit www.la-motte.com/collections/pierneef-collection/products.