I’ve always been a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc’s. Starting off, their flavours were easily accessible and fruit driven. As I got more into them, they proved to be refreshingly diverse by significantly soaking up influence from the region (terroir) they are grown on. The extent of this influence is so profound that two adjacent blocks of vines could each produce expressively distinct flavours. My fascination could only grow. Unfortunately though, I learnt despite its versatility with regards to styles of wine that can be produced from it, market demand has the last say; and let’s face it, the market isn’t exactly creative (hey, that sort of sounds like I’m using my Economics…).
There are a few South African producers that do provide some respite, and I can only thank my lucky stars for their continued defiance. I find it incredibly exciting discovering and trying out new ones. This time around, my local dealer turned me onto my next fixation. Out of Jordan in Stellenbosch he offered me “The Outlier”. Despite my excitement, it took me a couple of months to finally open it. I was waiting for the right occasion,… more like someone who’d appreciate it as much as I would. It finally did come in the form of a visit from Kuti.
The wine is barrel fermented for 8 months in 60% new French and a touch of American oak on the lees. Right at the end they blend back into it 28% tank fermented SB. (A SB with some barrel contact is commonly called a Blanc Fumé.) What a wine they’ve produced! Further still, they held it back a couple of years, allowing for the characteristic Sauvignon Blanc acidity to mellow into something that is incredibly pleasant to drink. It’s a world apart from the very green, acidic and austere SBs or the flimsy tropical fruit flavoured ones.
We drunk their 2009 vintage that night. It had this dustiness to it, carried by stone fruit and pineapples, a pithy middle palate that gave it complexity, and had a long elegant finish. It still maintained its invigorating acidic backbone that was well-balanced with subtle hints of oak all the way through.
This night turned out not to be our usual wine binge as I had loads of work the following morning. I enjoyed it nonetheless, but couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d disappointed Kuti knowing she hadn’t “dozed off” on my floor this time…