Just over a month after beginning its 2021 harvest, Diemersdal Estate from Durbanville has bottled its first Sauvignon Blanc, the estate’s signature grape variety. The Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc 2021 hit the market on 5 March, the first Sauvignon Blanc from this year’s Cape vintage to be found on the shelf.

According to Thys Louw, Diemersdal’s owner-winemaker, the early release is driven by the market. “We are in a fortunate position to, despite the crisis caused by Covid and the lockdown on wine sales, have customers clamouring for our Sauvignon Blanc from the new vintage,” he says. “This, as well as the quality of this year’s grapes being conducive to a quick ferment and a short stay to settle in tank, has allowed us to come out with the Cape’s first Sauvignon Blanc of the 2021 vintage.”

Jeandré Bruwer, Thys’s wing-man in the Diemersdal cellar, says the 2021 vintage will go down as one of the cooler and most temperate seasons in recent history. “We had a magnificent growing season due to the cool, mild conditions during the spring and early summer of 2020. And once harvest got underway in late January temperatures remained mild, hence this year’s harvest being two weeks later than the average.”

Diemersdal’s 2021 crop is showing even-ripening. “I think it has a lot to do with our vines being unirrigated, dryland plants that have adapted to the vagaries of climate and unfailingly give us even, well-ripened grapes,” says Jeandré. “And due to the wet winter of 2020, these dryland vines have excellent reserves and are well-nourished.”

Diemersdal’s Sauvignon Blanc harvesters hit the vineyards at the end of January, and the early grapes showed brisk acidity and assertive varietal character, with the balanced chemistry allowing for wine that was ready for bottling this past week. The first wines exude zest and freshness along with delectable tropical notes of gooseberry and passion-fruit.

“As a Sauvignon Blanc producer harvest-time puts you in a vice where you are pushed from both sides,” says Thys. “On the one hand, the grapes need picking, crushing and vinifying. On the other hand, our customers are crying out for 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa’s most popular white wine varietal. This is an extremely satisfying situation for a winemaker to be in, as at the end of the day it is the demand for your product that drives you to do what you do.”

The Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc 2021 is available at a recommended retail price of R75.