Best Value Sauvignons in SA


In spite of contradictory messages from Veritas and the controversial FNB Top Ten tasting of the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group last year, the grassy greenie remains the most popular single varietal in SA. Shrek rules. So who should consumers turn to for advice? The Best Value Guide from Ultraliquors fills that niche at the minute for four reasons:

1)   With 80,000 copies printed, it is more than double the circulation of Platter;

2)   Wines are tasted blind, unlike Platter;

3)   Price is a feature, unlike Platter;

4)   It is not controlled by a wine brand or distributor.

But is the BVG the answer? The main problem with the BVG guide is that it is dead-tree media with all that entails: unfashionable; immediately out of date; left book in the loo; we all die from climate change when the last tree is finally chopped down.

gvg1 Best Value Sauvignons in SA

The first of our weekly Good Value Guru Soirée tastings will take place on Monday 24th February at the Taj Hotel and will feature Sauvignon Blanc. So to whet my whistle, I had a closer look at the BVG results from last year.

GVG logo1 Best Value Sauvignons in SA

Last years Best Value Guide saw 57 Sauvignon Blancs entered in the price range R26.32 – R80 which was the cut-off for the guide. We’ve smashed the glass price ceiling for our own GVG tastings, as best value does not necessarily mean cheapest.

A panel of three BVG judges plus an associate evaluated entries blind and scored them between 14.3 and 16 out of 20. Stars were awarded based on average scores.

There is a pleasing positive correlation of 0.2 between price and score which means, at least for the wines entered for BVG, the more you pay, the better you drink, on average. But as were living in the Kingdom of Mammon and there are so many stars in our southern skies, it can get confusing. So we decided to convert average scores to quality prices by assuming the lower the score, the lower the price in an ideal world where lizards live in the garden and not in the tasting room or on the supermarket shelf.

bvg1 615x461 Best Value Sauvignons in SA

So while every farmer thinks his child is the prettiest kêrel in the crèche – in spite of the bakore and haasbek – 33 wines trade at a discount to quality while 24 are over-priced. Which means that as a category, BVG Sauvignons offer rare value on SA wine shelves. The value graph looks like this:

bvg2 615x461 Best Value Sauvignons in SA

The top value 18 are listed below, for your shopping convenience:

  1. Imbuko Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  2. Boland Cellar Flutterby Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  3. Rooiberg Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  4. Cape Atlantic Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  5. Palesa Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  6. Slanghoek Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  7. Lyngrove Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  8. Stellar Organics Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  9. Klein Roosboom Bandana Blanc 2012
  10. Backsberg Tread Lightly Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  11. Hoopenburg Bush Vine Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  12. Bon Courage Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  13. Laborie Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  14. Goudini Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  15. Music by DAria Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  16. Elgin Vintners Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  17. Runner Duck White 2012
  18. Backsberg Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Why 18? Because the quality price distribution falls naturally into two classes as is clear from the plot below. Remove the R80 ceiling and there would hopefully be a third class of “first growth” Sauvignons. Although I for one would not be surprised to see Imbuko, Boland and Rooiberg promoted, like Château Mouton, to first growth status.

bvg3 615x461 Best Value Sauvignons in SA

Soirées take place every Monday and the public can pop along and taste from 5-7 pm on payment of R100 to keep out the bergies and pay for delicious snacks to match the wines by Shyam Longani and his team. Soirées kick off Monday 24th February and will be chaired by Dr. Winnie Bowman, the most experienced palate in town and include a sommelier, a retailer… it sounds like the start of a humorous anecdote, which these tastings are not.