Hemel-en-Aarde Valley – Sauvignon Blanc 3 ways!

After my Loire Sauvignon trip, a Sauvignon tasting at Hermanus in the Cape the following month blew me away – wines from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley’s three sub-regions, each with their own soil type, showed different traits which made absolute “Sancerrian” sense! See my Wine & Spirit feature exploring this phenomenon and here are my tasting notes:

The Lower Hemel-en-Aarde (closest the sea; heavier sandstone and clay soils)

Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – quite yellow, flinty nose, hints of asparagus and passionfruit – dry, v lively and linear with a well-defined backbone of acidity, real citrus bite here and minerality on finish.

Bouchard Finlayson Sauvignon Blanc 08 – shows fennel and round pear with a touch of tropical fruit; nice balanced lemony acidity, lemony acidity.

La Vierge Sauvignon Blanc 2008
– a south-facing site with quartz produces a leaner mineral style – tight green, nettley and flinty with steely grapefruit. Good length.

The Upper Hemel-en-Aarde (just inland from the Lower H-en-V; granite, gravel and quartz soils)

Sumaridge Sauvignon Blanc 2007
– v lemony, crisp acidity, tight, a sweetness here too, crystallised citrus, touch nettley, subtle underlying grassiness – quite Sancerre like in its precision and focus.

Newton Johnson 2008
– 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon – barrel ferment – v flinty nose – [a tank sample] with juicy gooseberry fruit and herbal Semillon hints.

Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge (northernmost, so warmer; sandstone and clay)

Creation Sauvignon Blanc 2008
– quite a leesy nose, grenadilla, tropical, quite tight reductive on the finish with smoky, flinty notes; fennel and passionfruit come through as it opens up.

Sarah Ahmed
The Wine Detective
September 2008

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