Premium Stellenbosch wine estate Kleine Zalze secured one of only 26 gold medals to be won by South African producers in this year’s ground-breaking international Concours Mondial du Sauvignon competition for Sauvignon Blanc wines which was held outside Europe for the first time in the show’s 14-year history. This year the exclusive competition travelled to Franschhoek, South Africa with 50 international wine experts judging 1 210 wines from 20 countries, resulting in a gold medal for the Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2020.
RJ Botha, Kleine Zalze’s cellarmaster who is also chairperson of Sauvignon Blanc SA – the Cape wine industry’s collective body of Sauvignon Blanc producers responsible for bringing the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon to South Africa – says winning a gold medal at this year’s Concours was especially gratifying.
“By convincing the organisers of the Concours du Sauvignon to take this major international competition outside of Europe for the first time and seeing the show successfully held in the Cape already gave each and every Sauvignon Blanc producer in the Cape a winning feeling,” says Botha. “Then to learn that one of our Kleine Zalze wines secured a Concours du Sauvignon gold medal was truly the icing on the cake. As is the case each year, this year’s competition saw a formidable team of international and local wine experts scrutinising wines from major Sauvignon Blanc nations, including France, New Zealand and Austria. To win a gold medal in this company is a remarkable achievement for the whole Kleine Zalze team, one underscoring our relentless commitment to delivering excellence in each wine we put in the bottle.”
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2020 is a wine in the top tier of offerings in the Kleine Zalze brand and is made from vineyard sites identified by Botha and his team as having the ability to express superior Sauvignon Blanc character. Grapes were sourced from selected vineyards in Durbanville and Darling, two of the Cape’s coolest regions exposed to the cold Atlantic Ocean on the western part of the country’s winelands.
Arriving at the winery in the cool of morning, the harvested grapes were crushed and kept on skins for 12 hours to unleash further complexity and the diverse flavours lying in the skins. The juice was racked from the skins with gravity and settled for 24 hours. The clean juice was then racked into stainless steel tanks where fermentation commenced under a chilly 13°C. The wine spent seven months on primary lees before being bottled.
Botha says the fact that Kleine Zalze’s Concours du Sauvignon gold medal was awarded to a Sauvignon Blanc already three years’ old was especially gratifying. “With a few seasons in the bottle, the Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc takes-on a new, more sophisticated and complex personality, something producers of Sauvignon Blanc strive towards as we believe this variety can deliver some of the world’s greatest white wines,” he says. “It is especially pleasing to have this character recognised in the Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc on an international platform, an award which underscores Kleine Zalze’s commitment to optimal quality wines through terroir expression and astute winemaking, as well as commercial success.”