I was thrilled to be invited to a Strandveld vertical tasting that took us through the Pofadderbos wines dating back to 2010.
Yet again, I was left clueless as to why anyone doesn't like Sauv Blanc. What's not to love! Aged Sauvignon Blanc is a game changing revelation if you've never tried it before.
Especially when it's from Strandveld Vineyards, the official southernmost winery in Africa. It's remarkable that these grapes can grown in Cape Agulhas, a place that is harsh and isolated, braving the constant Atlantic storms and providing a unique terroir to the wines made in the beautiful Elim ward.
The lunch was hosted at Seabreeze on Bree Street, one of my favourite seafood venues where the food pairs perfectly with Sauvignon Blanc. The weather didn't quite follow the brief...but we cosied up inside, allowing the wine and cheery decor to provide all the summery vibes.
We were welcomed with a glass of Strandveld Skaamgesiggie Pinot Noir Brut MCC - you'll be surprised to hear that I really enjoyed it. It seems the answer to my bubbly fears is to present me with the rosés!
And then settled into the flight of wines, working our way from the current 2020 release, all the way back to the first 2010 vintage. We skipped over 2014, as the wine was sold out. A tribute to the vintage, quality and marketing efforts of that year.
My detailed notes are below, but a quick overview is that I asterisked (my quick reference to wines that stand out to me and the one thing that is perfectly legible amongst my scrawls) the 2019, 2017 and 2011 vintages. It may be that I gave up on the spittoon, but the 2011 received 2 asterisks!
2020 didn't feel quite ready to drink, and in comparison, I really enjoyed the slightly less tropical and less green 2019.
2017 was notable in that it highlighted the point where the age is noticeable on the wines, introducing notes of walnuts and almond skins to the much more mellow tropical ripe pineapple, mango and passion fruit.
2012 presented a deeper gold colour that, along with greatly decreased acidity, spoke to the cork issue that the winemaker, Conrad Vlok, discussed.
2011, with it's double asterisk, was also much deeper in colour but with acidity fully intact. It was by far my favourite. Unmistakeably Sauvignon Blanc undertones of green grass and green pepper, melding with light medicinal fresh fennel and salty dried apricots...and always the oyster shell characteristic that defines the Sauvignon Blancs from this region.
As much as I would have loved to keep comparing the 2011 to the almost nutty 2010, our glasses were being cleared for lunch.
I don't even know the last time I'd had oysters. Lockdown has been hard on fresh seafood indulgences. So what a treat to swallow a bowl of delicious umami saltiness that highlighted the oyster shell notes in the wine. This starter was paired with the entry level Strandveld First Sighting Sauv Blanc that is blended with 13% Semillon. The Semillon was noticeable, as a few people at our table started comparing the weight to the more premium, but too young, Pofadder 2020. Which just serves to prove the value for money that the First Sighting range offer.
Lunch for me was grilled rainbow trout, saffron and mussel velouté, served alongside minted peas and green beans. Paired with the Pofadderbos 2020.
I found myself scoffing lemon tart whilst engaging with the rest of my table...who were the last to leave!
I love Sauvignon Blanc. I've had some wonderfully old Sancerres. But being able to taste through a decade long history of this terroir driven, single vineyard wine made in one of the most exciting regions in South Africa, all whilst surrounded by knowledgeable and friendly company, was a real treat on a Tuesday!
My thanks to Caroline from CVS Communications for including me in this lunch. As well as to the team from Strandveld - Jackie, the Marketing Manager, and Conrad, the Winemaker. But the moment I'm most grateful for was reconnecting with the dynamic Bev, who I'd met previously, and now works for Strandveld. What a doll!