Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2017 (6/case) (R319/BOTTLE)
The 2016 Schaapenberg Sauvignon Blanc is extremely aromatic with ripe passion fruit and guava, grapefruit, a touch of lemongrass and good minerality. The aftertaste is long and clean. Serve with fresh oysters, sushi and lightly spicy Cape Malay cuisine.
The previous 2015 vintage was generally regarded as the earliest harvest for some decades. During the assessment of the vintage in December over dinner last year, Michel Rolland casually mentioned that the team at Vergelegen had to be wide awake as the 2016 harvest would be even earlier and he was so right! The Schaapenberg grapes were picked on 6 and 11 February 2016, the earliest ever on average by 23 days. The 2016 crop is the product of the worst drought since 1904 and this coupled with high summer temperatures led to a 50% lower crop. I was obviously very concerned about the effect of the heat/drought on the phenolic composition of the grapes and carefully and slowly pressed the grapes to a maximum juice yield of 550 litres per ton (versus the normal 678). The 2016 is a very fruit forward and juicy Sauvignon that will delight consumers that are familiar with classic Schaapenberg vintages such as 1998, 1999 , 2001, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015. Released: October 2016.
The grapes come from the famous Schaapenberg Vineyard on the Schaapenberg Hill. This hill functioned as Governor Van der Stels’ look out for ships rounding Cape Point. The 2.5 hectare single vineyard was planted in 1988 and is located 6,5 km from False Bay, directly south-facing at 320 meters above sea level.
The grapes were hand-picked and de-stemmed but not crushed. The de-stemmed grapes were cooled to 8°C and pumped into the Bucher Inertys Press, which uses inert gas – nitrogen - rather than normal air and ensures that the must/grape juice is protected against oxidation and flavour loss. The clean juice was fermented at 12-14°C for 16 days, followed by 7 months on the lees.
Schaapenberg Sauvignon Blanc 100%
RS 1.8 g/l
TA 6.5 g/l
Accessible now but will reward careful cellaring over the next six to eight years.