Tight-lipped Thys @ Taj

Shared a bottle of Vondeling Sauvignon Blanc 2012 with Thys Louw (below) last night at the Taj Hotel. Thys is one of six Naughty Boys of SA Wine and his Pinotage 2012 is a shoo-in for our Super Six Selection of Pinotages from the annual Absa Top Twenty to be showcased at the Pendock Wine Gallery @ Taj in an exhibition which opens on Thursday 5th September at 6pm.

IMG 0736 300x168 Tight lipped Thys @ Taj

Thys must be an excellent poker player as he didn’t even hint that his Diemersdal wooded Sauvignon Blanc 2013 won the General Smuts trophy for best young wine of the SA Young Wine Show in a line-up of 110 Sauvignon Blanc and a host of lesser cultivars.

While trophies, medals and other bling baubles are great for the ego, a listing at Checkers – largest retailer in Africa – and sales, are the name of the game for producers these days. So when Thys heard of our Battle of die Berge – a taste-off between the Helderberg and Simonsberg in September sponsored by Checkers – he started making plans to buy 50 tons of Sauvignon Blanc for a WO Helderberg. A maritime Matys, perhaps?

The new competition – which has no entry fee for producers – will pit the two largest Stellenbosch wards against each other and focus on the terroir differences between the maritime Helderberg and the more mountainous Simonsberg.

While some producers may be worried that this is divisive for Stellenbosch as a whole, commercial competition is of its nature competitive and it’s really a question of horses for courses. For dishes like shellfish, a maritime Sauvignon Blanc is called for while a game fish like yellowtail can handle a mountain Sauvignon. So we’ll be selecting the best of both for a Stellenbosch showcase of six wines to be marketed in selected Checkers supermarkets. As for which Sauvignon Blanc to drink with the kingfish recommended in the Wine Spectator, I’m not sure what’s on the wine list at Pollsmoor Prison.

As for the best food match for Thys’s Diemersdal wooded Sauvignon Blanc, the answer is one of his free range chickens fed on Sauvignon Blanc doppe (skins). This is a locavore dream we’ll be revisiting at the Gallery next year along with his acorn-fed pork matched with Maastricht Pinot Noir made by his cousin, mooi Thys.