The ground-breaking Diemersdal Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc has just achieved its second consecutive FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc accolade for Diemersdal Estate, the pioneering Sauvignon Blanc producer from Durbanville. This revolutionary wine-style from Diemersdal won its first FNB Top 10 last year with the maiden 2017 vintage. The Winter Ferment 2018 was selected as a FNB Top 10 winner at this year’s event, held in Stellenbosch.
Sponsored by FNB and presented in conjunction with the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group, the FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc Competition annually selects South Africa’s finest renditions of the country’s leading white wine variety.
Diemersdal Winter Ferment is made using a revolutionary wine-making process where the Sauvignon Blanc juice is frozen during the harvest in February and then thawed five months later, after which it is fermented to produce a wine with exceptional tropical flavours.
“The FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 remains a very special award for Diemersdal as it is the only one committed to exclusively honouring the finest Sauvignon Blancs in South Africa,” says Thys Louw, Diemersdal’s proprietor and cellarmaster.
“Close on 200 wines were judged this year, and to make it among the Top 10 is a highlight for any producer in this category which is the most popular white wine segment of the South African wine industry. The award is deserved recognition for the winery team’s spirit of innovation and commitment to quality, while underscoring our belief that Durbanville has the ideal climate and soil compositions to produce world-class Sauvignon Blanc.”
Louw added that 2018 has proved to be an excellent vintage for Sauvignon Blanc, despite the drought the Western Cape had experienced in the year leading up to the harvest.
“The warm winter was followed by a hot spring, and together with the dry conditions things were not looking all that favourable for quality Sauvignon Blanc – especially seeing as one of Diemersdal’s features is making wines from dryland vineyards,” says Louw. “Our clay soils, however, allowed the little moisture there was to sustain the vines’ roots, which was aided by the mild weather conditions experienced during the harvest.”
Louw says the FNB Top 10 continues to grow in importance due to the commercial success and value of Sauvignon Blanc in a wine industry where many producers are facing economic pressure.
“The reason the consumer likes the variety, is because it is easy to understand,” says Louw. “When buying a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, whether it costs R60 or R600, there is going to be an element in that wine to which the wine drinker can relate, something in the flavour profile he or she can understand… freshness, balance between fruit and acidity, a pleasure to drink.”
Louw says that that Sauvignon Blanc also has the potential to make major inroads for South African wine into export markets, especially the sought-after American market.
“The global demand for and awareness of Sauvignon Blanc is at an all-time high,” he says. “In South Africa Sauvignon Blanc outsells other white varieties three-to-one. Already South Africa exports over 20m litres of Sauvignon Blanc in packaged form, and with our recognition for world-class Sauvignon Blanc growing, we have the chance to increase this exponentially and make real global mark – not only for Sauvignon Blanc, but also for Brand South Africa.”