No fancy stuff this time. After winning four Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 awards in a row with its revolutionary Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc, Diemersdal Estate in Durbanville this year nabbed its fifth consecutive Top 10 Award with the Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2021.
From 2017 to 2020, Diemersdal’s Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 awards went to the Winter Ferment, a unique wine made from Sauvignon Blanc juice frozen at harvest and fermented six months later, a process leading to a distinctive tropical fruit profile. At this year’s Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 competition, it was the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2021 that took the laurels, a wine made to minimum intervention principles with the sole aim of expressing the terroir of Diemersdal’s Durbanville location.
Thys Louw, the sixth generation Louw family-member to own and make the wine on Diemersdal, says this year’s Top 10 Award shows that Sauvignon Blanc made to a manner in which the winemaker is only but the carer of the grapes, allowing the factors of terroir and vintage to control the end-result, will always come-up with the goods.
“The Sauvignon Blanc Reserve is made from two vineyards on Diemersdal growing on different altitudes,” he says. “One vineyard is 400m above sea-level – the highest on the farm – while the other is at 150m. Both are on decomposed gravel soils with a substantial clay component, providing the ideal degrees of drainage and water-retention. The influence of the nearby Atlantic Ocean, together with the soils and vineyards’ aspects, continuously provides superb Sauvignon Blanc fruit from these two sites from which the Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve is made.”
Louw says that Diemersdal’s commitment to dryland viticulture plays a major role in the consistent quality of the estate’s wines. “No irrigation on the farm – except for lawns and flowers,” he says. “Vines live better and are more in-tune with their natural environment when they only have rainfall to rely on for water. For us it is all about the vineyard, and it is the vineyard that makes the Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve.”
The ideal conditions of the 2020 and 2021 growing season played a factor in the quality of this year’s Sauvignon Blanc on Diemersdal. “Cold, wet winter in 2020, and perfect growing season with the stages of bud-break, berry-set, veraison and ripening occurring evenly,” says Louw. “The vineyard gave us the wine, and the Top 10 competition gave us the Trophy!”
Louw says the Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 Awards, which attracted 157 entries this year, does a sterling job in promoting South Africa’s best-selling wine variety. “What is important here is that the Top 10 competition proves that wines that are popular with consumers can also be wines of exceptional quality,” he says. “It is with no doubt that I say that the Top 10 competition has played a major role in elevating the profile of South Africa’s quality of Sauvignon Blanc wines among the wine drinker. And for us winemakers, the competition allows a platform on which we can judge ourselves next to our peers as well as getting together to ensure South African Sauvignon Blanc reaches even higher levels in terms of quality.”