WORDS: RICHARD HOLMES IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK
With a limited supply of fresh water, the threat of late winter storms, and constant howling winds, there are perhaps few corners of the Western Cape winelands as tricky to grow vineyards as the Agulhas Plain.
But the uphill struggle reaps rich rewards come harvest time, and Strandveld Vineyards has garnered more than its fair share of awards for its remarkable Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc. Named for the single vineyard in which the vines are planted, the Pofadderbos is a perfect reﬂection of the harsh coastal terroir of the vineyard just a short drive from Africa’s southern tip.
“This wine stands out with its saltiness and fresh green acidity, combined with ripeness from a longer, slower ripening,” says Conrad Vlok, winemaker at Strandveld Vineyards. With oyster-shell minerality balanced by a creamy, rich palate layered with citrus and fynbos notes “the terroir is really strong in this wine… the combination of gravel soil combined with constant cool sea breezes gives this wine a distinctive mineral tone.”
Extreme viticulture is also the hallmark of Fryer’s Cove, whose vines grow just a few hundred metres from the Atlantic Ocean at Doringbaai, 300km north of Cape Town.
“Forged by the earth, tempered by the sea” is their motto, and the Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent example of this balance. Planted on soils of sand, seashell and limestone, the vines are coated in a thin dusting of wind-blown sea salt which helps to ward off disease. Cooling sea breezes lower the summer temperatures, ensuring long, slow ripening. The result is a remarkable sauvignon blanc blending a bright herbaceous nose with a lingering palate of citrus and stone fruit. It’s impressive now, but will keep improving through to 2025.
The minerality of coastal sauvignon blanc is also given its due in the Seasalter from family-owned Groote Post.
The 2018 vintage of their ﬂagship white wine is a blend of sauvignon blanc (90%) and semillon (10%). Half of the sauvignon blanc was fermented and aged in barrel for eight months, giving the wine roundness on the palate that’s balanced by bright acidity and typical Darling minerality.
Neptune would be pleased.