In praise of older sauvignon

Happenstance, during the ‘cellar hunt’ for festive libation, delivered a six-case of somewhat forgotten smart sauvignon blancs from the fine 2009 vintage. What a treat it turned out to be.

Not really cellared at optimum condition (the ‘cellar’, in this case, was more of a dark corner in the garage), the six different wines were brilliant proof that decent sauvignon only comes into its own after a few years. Five of the bounty were under screw cap, which also makes a point.

The six wines showed differently – as would be expected from their different origins – but overall there was deep satisfaction in experiencing their ‘ripeness’. A kind of ‘adulthood’ to pleasures that, three years ago, were pretty things.

The four that truly shone – probably beyond their original high Platter star ratings – were Springfield Special CuvéeDiemersdal Estate, Shannon Sanctuary Peak and, the prince of them all, Waterkloof.

There is a good reason for Waterkloof sauvignon’s fame, and this 2009 vintage confirms everything about that. From the vibrant freshness, the rounded, dense intrigue on the palate, the wine is showing hardly any age. Just more complexity and greater depth.