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Matt Day looks at a laden sauv blanc vine like Sir David Attenborough gazing on a rockhopper penguin brooding its chick.
And it is quite a portfolio: Klein Constantia has eight different sauvignon blanc labels, including one, Metis, that is made in partnership with the sancerre producer Pascal Jolivet. The obvious reference here is Marlborough, in New Zealand, which pioneered a boisterously aromatic style, often redolent of passion fruit, that has become a modern classic.
New Zealand and South Africa also make plenty of greener-smelling sauvignons that can feel like a nose-punch of lemon, green capsicum, elderflower and box hedge. But what about sauvignon blancs that taste a bit more serious? The fortified hilltop town is more of an upstart in the white wine department than you might think.
For centuries, most wine made there was red. The arrival of the vine pest phylloxera in the late 19th century proved a hinge: in the replanting that followed, vignerons began to favour sauvignon blanc over red grapes. The story is a prompt to look around the world for other fine sauvignon blanc territories. Situated just to the south of Cape Town, cooled by the ocean on both sides, Klein Constantia certainly looks as if it is one such.
If you were looking in New Zealand for producers who take sauvignon blanc seriously, then Dog Point and Greywacke would be top of your list. Jackson Estate Stich is also brilliant — a serious wine. I also find notes of nettle. Bordeaux whites have not traditionally been very widely available or appreciated in the UK. I fell in love with them after visiting Bordeaux. Despite being half-French her family is from the Loire Teremetz says she also began exploring Bordeaux sauvignon blanc after making a reconnaissance trip to Bordeaux to put in some groundwork, travelling around as a tourist for a week before starting her job as Bordeaux buyer for Waitrose.
I remember having some delicious whites there and thinking they were amazing. I really enjoyed one called Le Dada de Rouillac, and driving back from a tasting one day I stopped to get some petrol, googled the estate and it was close by, so I dropped in and bought some bottles to take home.
Teremetz has increased the range of white bordeaux on offer in Waitrose and says it sells well but feels one thing that holds it back is the bottle shape. I had never thought of this but think she is right. South Africa This is a joyful example, with hints of mango and nectarine.
From the Entre-Deux-Mers region, this is a clean sauvignon blanc with clear lemon flavours backed with a gentle swell of guava. Graves, Bordeaux, France Think lemon curd, star jasmine, oak spice and a rinse of refreshing grapefruity acidity. : 'If you drink wine and are not a member of this society, you're making a mistake'.
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Looking for seriously good sauvignon blanc? This is where to find it