The Secrets of Sauvignon – Cathy White CWM

On Monday 27 April, I had the pleasure and privilege of attending a tasting, most aptly titled, “Secrets of Sauvignon Blanc”.  The tasting was presented by Dirk Human, owner and cellar master at Black Oystercatcher Wines near Elim, in Cape Agulhas and happened at Luca’s, one of my all-time favourites, in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.

Waiting for the tasting to begin, I quenched my thirst with a glass of Black Oystercatcher Sauvignon Blanc 2018.  I was truly loath to set aside this delightfully refreshing and delicious wine to start the serious business ahead.

The vineyard soils of Black Oystercatcher Wines are chiefly made up of three specifically different types.  There is no single vineyard with any one of them but rather a mixture of large patches of each specific soil in every vineyard. During the vintage of 2017, Dirk decided he wanted to know exactly what the different soils contributed to the blends of Sauvignon Blanc he produces and markets annually.

Grapes were handpicked separately from each of the three different soil types across the vineyards.  The juice was vinified using exactly the same methods and left to rest in separate barrels, then bottled separately.

Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2016 – This was tasted as a benchmark.  Fuller, smoother and more luscious than the standard Sauvignon, with layers of tropical fruit predominantly passion fruit and green melon, complex and so good.

Broken Shale Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – Presented with herbaceous minerality.  A touch of buchu aromatics combined with gunflint smokiness, reminiscent of the Sauvignons of Pouilly-sur- Loire in central France.

Iron Ferricrete Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – What a revelation!  A bang of blackcurrant with a long, lingering and pleasurable cassis tinged after taste.  I have long associated the similarities of some aspects of the flavour profiles of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon but this was proof in the glass of their relationship.  A crisply delicious and very different Sauvignon!

Quartzite Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – Tangy lime citrus on first sip, developing into fuller flavours with a sprinkling of saltiness and ghostly hints of sea fresh kelp.  Crisp, tangy, delicately salted and very refreshing!

Many thanks to Dirk for a fabulous and very interesting tasting, showing so perfectly, the important influences terroir has on every wine produced and highlighting the aspect of soil in the vineyard.  A tasting pack of the three different site-specific Sauvignon Blanc wines is available in a beautifully presented wooden box at a price well worth the experience of this insightful tasting.