outh African Sauvignon Blanc has just received glowing recognition from a prestigious international wine report. Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc pioneer Diemersdal Estate achieved two 95pt scores in the highly anticipated 2017 wine report annually published by Tim Atkin, MW. These were for the Eight Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2017 as well as the skin-fermented Wild Horseshoe Sauvignon Blanc 2016. Diemersdal’s MM Louw Sauvignon Blanc 2016 was hot on the heels of these two wines with a score of 94pt, with the Diemersdal Reserve 2017 achieving 93pts.
Thys Louw, cellarmaster and co-proprietor of Diemersdal says the scores achieved in this report from an international wine expert underscores South Africa’s ability to produce Sauvignon Blanc wines capable of competing with the best in the world.
“In the picture of South African wine, the critical focus tends to be away from Sauvignon Blanc,” he says. “Possibly because it is such a popular wine, leading the way in terms of sales and its general popularity among the consumer. However the scores Diemersdal was fortunate enough to achieve in the Tim Atkin report reaffirms the belief we have in Sauvignon Blanc as one of South Africa’s leading quality varieties and a variety that can benefit the image of the country’s wine industry as a whole.”
The Tim Atkin report showed that despite the focus on Sauvignon Blanc, the farm is no one-trick pony, receiving 90 and plus ratings for the following wines: MM Louw Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (93pts), Private Collection Bordeaux Blend 2015 (92pts), Grüner Veltliner 2017 (90pts) and Reserve Pinotage 2016 (90pts).
“For the past decade Diemersdal has placed major emphasis on Sauvignon Blanc as I believe the Durbanville terroir is some of the best in the world for this variety,” says Louw. “With six generations of wine-farming history, it is great to see the red wines on which the farm’s reputation was built receive such recognition. As well as Grüner Veltliner, our youngest grape variety that underscores that we will always be looking to push the boundaries – be it with Sauvignon Blanc, new styles and new varieties.”
Even now that the Western Cape is experiencing a water crisis, Louw is a firm believer in unirrigated, dryland farming for bringing out the best characters in his grapes.
“I believe that dryland farming, such as what Diemersdal and many other farms in Durbanville do, contributes to the quality of the fruit,” he says. “Diemersdal wants to ensure that we consistently improve quality in our range of wines. With that, we also want to introduce the public to the further possibilities of this variety, including skin-fermented wines, those aged in wood and the pleasure found in Sauvignon Blancs that have had a few years to mature in the bottle.
“We may know and love Sauvignon Blanc, but there is a whole new world out there, and it is up to us Sauvignon Blanc producers to further open the doors.”
He also believes that South African Sauvignon Blanc has the potential to become one of the premium calling card of the local wine industry.
“Compared to the rest of the world, we can definitely hold our own in terms of quality,” says Louw. “Our wines are becoming recognised overseas for their ability to express freshness and varietal character, whilst also exuding nuanced complexities.”