IONA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 (R100)
Iconic wines don’t happen by accident. This one has the coolest of climates (Iona is situated on a mountain plateau 450 m above the Atlantic Ocean) and comprises eight diff erent Sauvignon Blanc clones, with each block vinifi ed separately. It’s the skilful blending of these components and the addition of four percent Semillon that lifts the wine to greatness.
An intense concentration of lime, green pepper and kiwi fruit on the nose complements a racy palate. It’s delicious now but will also age superbly.
Why you love it: “An ultra-cool climate makes for slow ripening. The result? A wine of elegance and concentration.” – Michele Lagesse
Pair it with: Goat's cheese phyllo stack with crushed olives
Bargain basement stand-in: Iona Sophie Terblanche Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R57) – the younger sister of Iona’s iconic wine has racked up a loyal following for its fuller, slightly sweeter structure.
Pongrácz epitomises the elegant Hungarian nobleman and refugee, Desiderius Pongrácz, who revitalised Cape viticulture and gave this bubbly its name.
It gets its clean flintiness from 40 percent Pinot Noir, and its body and flavour from 60 percent Chardonnay. There is light yeastiness, toastiness and black fruit tones on the nose and the palate has an invigorating mousse.
Why you love it: “It spreads the name and fame of Méthode Cap Classique.” – Daleen ter Wolbeek
Pair it with: gooseberry and coriander-dressed scallops and oysters
Bargain basement stand-in: JC le Roux Méthode Cap Classique Non-Vintage (R81) – fresh and youthful, it's composed mainly of Pinot Noir with a small component of Chardonnay and shows flavours of berry fruit aplenty.
JORDAN NINE YARDS CHARDONNAY 2009 (R220)
When Gary and Kathy Jordan say they went “the whole nine yards” with this wine they mean it … and it shows. First made in 2002, it is a barrel selection from their best single vineyard. After fermentation in French oak barrels, the wine matures on its lees for 12 months.
Gary describes the nose as “butterscotch, spicy cloves, lemonlime and orange peel with complex mineral citrus flavours”. The palate is rich and full-bodied with vanilla and toasty oak on the finish. It will grow in complexity in five to seven years.
Why you love it: “A stand-out Chardonnay from the Chardonnay champions.” – Laenese Smith
Pair it with: Exotic mushroom risotto.
Bargain basement stand-in: Jordan Chardonnay 2009 (R107) – a superb Chardonnay in its own right, though stylistically different to Nine Yards.
KLEIN CONSTANTIA VIN DE CONSTANCE 2006 (R370 FOR 500 ML)
In the 18th and 19th centuries, sweet Constantia wine fi lled the glasses of statesmen and kings and was eulogised by writers and poets. The Jooste family of Klein Constantia and their winemaker Ross Gower studied records of the legendary wine and released their Vin de Constance in1986, an unfortified dessert wine made from the same grape, Muscat de Frontignan, and in the same style as the original.
Grapes are allowed to become so ripe on the vine that they “raisin”, or shrivel. The best are then selected, macerated, pressed and fermented. Nearly four years later they are bottled and released. Deep amber in colour, the first nose is of dried pineapples with hints of vanilla and roasted almonds. The palate balances lushness with concentrated acidity.
Why you love it: “The wine of kings and poets.” – Carolina Millin
Pair it with: A rich Rooibos creme caramel and toffee apple
Bargain basement stand-in: Woolworths Noble Late Harvest 2009 (Ken Forrester Wines, R70) – made from selected Chenin Blanc grapes that have undergone “noble rot”, which shrivels the grapes and increases their richness and flavour.
SPRINGFIELD LIFE FROM STONE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011 (R73)
Robertson’s Springfield Estate has a variety of soils, each making a different style of wine. The Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc is from the farm’s rockiest soil. The minute yields ensure wines of intense concentration.
From the brilliant green tinges in the colour to the flinty steeliness and blasts of passion fruit on the nose and full minerality on the palate, it is a wine of distinction and conjures up thoughts of icy mountain water splashing onto hot river stones.
Why you love it: “Beauty from the stony ground.” – Lizel Cadman
Pair it with? Oom Frik's West Coast bouillabaisse
Bargain basement stand-in: Diemersdal Matys Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (R42) – Sauvignon Blanc specialist, Thys Louw, overdelivers with this green pepper-packed mouthful.