Delicious 2017 Du Toitskloof Sauvignon Blanc Underscores Superb Vintage
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Du Toitskloof Wines from Rawsonville has built a reputation as one of South Africa’s most popular Sauvignon Blanc producers, and the just-released 2017 version shows why.

“It was a great vintage for a Sauvignon Blanc winemaker,” says Du Toitskloof Wines cellarmaster Shawn Thomson, “and the resulting wine says it all: fresh, a zippy line of fruit with typical clean Sauvignon Blanc drinkability. Appealing, well-priced….my question simply is: what’s there not to like in this Du Toitskloof signature wine.”

Despite the drought of the past two years, Du Toitskloof’s grape farmers experienced slightly cooler conditions than usual during this year’s harvest, with some farms feeling a smidgeon of rain in January. These conditions allowed Thomson and his team to go for more fruit expression in the harvesting of the earlier grape varieties, of which Sauvignon is one.

“Despite the dry winter and hot weather during spring and early summer, things cooled in the Breedekloof towards the last half of January,” says Thomson. “This slowed ripening - we traditionally begin the harvest with Sauvignon Blanc, and this year’s conditions allowed the variety to gain some extra hang-time in the vineyards. The first grapes hit the harvest bins on 31 January – a full ten days later than last year.”

Thomson says he looked for Sauvignon Blanc grapes a bit riper than usual, at around 20° balling, to round-out the fruit expression in this wine, which has become one of the pillars of the popular Du Toitskloof brand.

“The grapes’ chemistry was ideal for making a great Sauvignon Blanc of complexity, freshness and optimal expression of the Breedekloof terroir which has shown to provide a style of wine consumers cannot seem to get enough of,” he says. “The drinkability is of the rewarding kind, clean freshness with underlying hints of tropical fruit. Coupled with our accessible price points it is no wonder this wine has grown to being one of South Africa’s best-loved Sauvignon Blancs.”

“We invested in new cellar equipment three years back, and it definitely paid off when we need to harvest the substantial volumes. The harvest cellar is not only ideally suited for making Sauvignon Blanc, but can handle up to 700 tons of grapes per day if necessary,” says Thomson

This served them well when farmers brought in up to 280 tons of Sauvignon Blanc grapes per day during the harvest.

Breedekloof’s natural landscape also ensured a successful harvest, says Shawn. “The Du Toitskloof Mountains shaded our grapes during the worst of the summer heat. The grapes were harvested from selected farms, predominantly from the cool mountain slopes. The vines were all between five and ten years old, growing in sandy, slightly rocky soil. Canopies were also actively managed to ensure bunches were kept in the shade and away from direct sunlight.

“The grapes were harvested at night to ensure the lowest possible crushing temperature,” he added. “All loads were transported with layers of dry ice to reduce contact with oxygen. The first grapes had a high acidity with flavours of grass and green pepper, followed by the ensuing harvest’s aromas of gooseberry and tropical fruit.”

“After crushing, the mash was pumped to an enclosed press where it was kept on the skins for 24 hours to allow for optimal flavour extraction,” Shawn explained. “The juice was cooled and kept at a temperature of -4°C for two to three weeks. All the excess water in the juice was frozen, thereby increasing flavour concentration and sugar levels before fermentation started.”

This careful process resulted in a well-balanced, fresh and fruity wine.

“The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc holds an intense, complex range of flavours. The balance is spot-on,” says Thomson. “We pride ourselves on the consistency and freshness of our wines. Our consumers can enjoy some of the best quality Sauvignon Blanc on the market, at under R40 a bottle. The 2016 has been sold out for some time now, so we are happy to announce the release of the new vintage, which consumers will agree will have been worth waiting for.”

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P.O. Box 55, Rawsonville, 6845, South Africa