Rietvallei Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Oozes Refreshment after Long, Dry Harvest

The harvest was hot and dry, as well as two weeks early.

But the first release under Rietvallei Estate’s own label, its Sauvignon Blanc 2015, has produced a cool, elegantly fresh wine, the kind of wine which have provided the perfect refreshment during the long, hot harvest starting on 20 January this year.

“As one of the pioneers of Sauvignon Blanc in the Robertson Wine Valley, each year’s expression of this variety is greeted with interest and expectation,” says Kobus Burger, proprietor and cellar master at this well-known Robertson Estate. “This year’s wine is beautifully balanced between that cut-grass, flinty edge with a hint of capsicum and a waft of enticing green fig and passion fruit.”

The balance, says Kobus, is the result of picking in two batches, with all harvesting commencing during the coolest part of the day, namely at 02:00 and continuing through to 10:00 to avoid noon heat.

“Sauvignon Blanc is picked in various stages of ripeness to capture the full spectrum of flavour profiles,” says Kobus. “The first part is picked ‘green’ at 18ᵒ Balling (Brix), which enhances the grassy character of the wine and also brings a good natural acidity to the final blend.

“The second batch is picked at optimum ripeness which varies from 21 to 23ᵒ Balling. This riper batch brings complexity and opulence to the blend, enhancing the greener characters.”

In the cellar, skin contact is given for six hours after which only free-run juice is drawn and allowed to settle for three days. The clean juice is then racked and taken to the fermentation tanks where different special cultivated wine yeasts are inoculated and the fermentation temperature controlled between 13-15ᵒ C. After fermentation, which takes about three weeks, the wine is left on the primary fermentation lees for at least three months before bottling.

“The alcohol is a friendly 12,5%, allowing the Sauvignon Blanc lover to enjoy this wine in an accessible and fresh state, oozing the flavours that has made this South Africa’s number one variety,” says Kobus. “Although the wine sells as soon as it hits the shelves, those consumers with a bit of patience will see this wine develop gorgeously in the bottle for another year or two.”

Recommended retail price for Rietvallei Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is R70.