Seven SA Sauvignon Stunners in the St. James

At a sparkling dinner at Le St. James Hotel and Restaurant on a hill above Bordeaux last night, seven SA Sauvignons won medals at the 3rd Concours Mondial du Sauvignon: Cederberg, Eikendal, Kleine Zalze, Lomond (two), Nederburg and Nitida.  The local sage of Sauvignon, Denis Dubourdieu, made a few pithy comments before the results were announced.  But we were all a bit disappointed that he came solo as we were looking out for his brother Hervé, who cuts his own hair into a “Norman Conquest basin style”, according to well-placed hairstyle sources in the Douro.

sj 300x225 Seven SA Sauvignon Stunners in the St. James

Gironde Caviar

Denis made a couple of points: Sauvignon is faceless in hot climes and residual sugar is the enemy.  A point somewhat sabotaged by the trophy winner for non-oaked Sauvignon above €10.  For the Kiwi contingent reckoned the Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 2011 was a show wine, made in tiny volumes with around 6g/l of r/s.  And it was my panel, jury #3, that chose it.  Oops!  France took two of the four trophies while New Zealand cleared the table of remaining trophies and had stacks of medals, including one for a wine made by a winery called New Z which the doyen of Kiwi wine writers, Dr Paul White, admitted he’d never heard of.

The competition moves to Blois in the Loire Valley next year, having been booted out of its comfy Bordeaux nest.  A step up, I would have thought, after tasting some stunning Sancerres and terrific Touraines over the past three days.  The best dish of the Michelin starred dinner at Le St. James was the Coeur de caviar de Gironde, beurre émulsionnè acide, shown above, although when it comes to fish eggs, Russia and Iran have nothing to worry about, yet.  Although there was something of a tizz and comments about the imminent death of French gastronomy, brought on by the arrangement of the dish.  My Aussie winemaking companion Cath Oates from Mud House Wines called it “piss poor pea placement.”  And she was not wrong.