Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are long established grape varieties in the Loire with profiles to match. In South Africa, Sauvignon is a very “johnny come lately variety”, while Chenin Blanc’s history in the Cape dates back to the 16th century. So how did the Cape wines fair against a couple of Loire examples?
Jacques Rouzé Les Grandes Vignes de Villalin Quincy 2009 – a real savoury, leesy almost earthy quality to the nose with underlying grapefruit which notes follow through on the palate. It shows good body and texture in the mouth, with mouthwatering gooseberry and steely grapefruit,that savoury leesy tang and a gun flint minerality; good acidity makes for a long, flavoursome finish. Very good. £125.30/12 bottles at Haynes Hanson & Clark (see here for my comments on their summer Loire offer)
Flagstone Free Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Elim) – a lifted, smoky, methoxpyrazene (green/herbaceous) nose and palate – very Elim (see my report of a visit here) and, as with the Rouzé, it makes for a more interesting wine. The fruit is a little sweeter and there’s a sweet talc/hashish edge, lemon as well as grapefruit. Some leesy texture too. Not as powerful as the Rouzé, but impressive. £9.99 at Tesco (or £7.50 with their current 25% off deal) and £9.99 at South African Wines Online.
Alexandre Monmousseau Ammonite Vouvray Sec 2009 – pure nose with an incipient honey hint to its quince and apple fruit. The honey is more pronounced in the mouth, giving a sweet edge to the quince and tangy coxes orange pippens palate. A leesy finish is textured with well integrated, persistent grapefruity acidity. Well done. Would be a nice match for a favourite Rick Stein recipe – dover sole with cider and apple sauce. £106.30/12 bottles at Haynes Hanson & Clark
Groote Post Chenin Blanc 2009 (Coastal Region) – hmm some smoky, dust and tinned peas/vegetal notes on the nose, more Sauvignon than Chenin. In the mouth it’s got the waxier texture of Chenin, but the flavour spectrum, smoke/vegetal is more Sauvignon-like. Doesn’t work for me – I like to see the fruit in Cape Chenin – check out my recent report of some crackers here. £9.49 at South African Wines Online, £8.99 at Hennings Wine.
One nil to the Loire for the Chenin, but score draw for the Sauvignons – both very good and the Flagstone looking like sharp summer drinking at £7.50 on deal at Tesco!