Chamonix Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Shows Unique Delights of Franschhoek Terroir

The latest wine release from Chamonix Wine Estate, its Sauvignon Blanc 2020, combines the variety’s characteristic brisk, green freshness with a summery tropical length and complex mouthfeel. In his first vintage as head-winemaker at this premier Franschhoek wine estate, Neil Bruwer says the aim with the Chamonix Sauvignon Blanc was to maximise the varietal expression in terms of depth of flavour. “We don’t have a lot of Sauvignon Blanc grapes to work with, only four hectares presenting low yields, so my objective is to make every bunch of fruit harvested count by bringing its full potential to the fore,” says Bruwer.

Chamonix’s Sauvignon Blanc is planted on the estate’s mountain vineyards, the site comprising of sandstone, clay and sandy soils situated at between 350m and 450m, some of the highest vines in Franschhoek and which are farmed without irrigation. Yields vary between four and six tons per hectare, meagre when compared to the rest of the Cape’s Sauvignon Blanc vineyard.

“Temperature-wise, conditions were relatively mild in the 2020 vintage, which allowed us to give the fruit a bit of hang-time, ripening to 23°balling without the threat of heat-damage to the grape’s fragile complexities,” says Bruwer. “The harvested grapes were in superb condition, and with this quality of Sauvignon Blanc you just know that to grasp the complete freshness and purity of the fruit, tampering with it in the cellar has to kept to the absolute minimum.”

After crushing and fermenting, the wine was kept in tank for four months, the lees stirred weekly to draw optimum fruit expression and to broaden mouthfeel.

“I think this Franschhoek Sauvignon Blanc adds an exciting dimension to the Cape’s Sauvignon Blanc narrative,” says Bruwer. “There is a definite sunniness to the wine with a pronounced tropical fruit core that asserts its presence due to the delicate, lasting mouthfeel. The wine does, however, have enough of the bracing zippy freshness to appeal to lovers of this variety, which is now perennially South Africa’s leading white varietal in terms of sales and popularity among consumers.”

Chamonix Sauvignon Blanc 2020 is the second wine from this year’s vintage to be released, following on the Unoaked Chardonnay.