There’s green and there’s green. Few wine farms are more environmentally responsible than the handsome Waterkloof estate on the slopes of Stellenbosch’s Schapenberg looking out over False Bay. Ponderous percherons help with ploughing, sheep munch weeds, earthworms turn the soil, and biodynamic mysticism and lunar worship are harmless additives. It’s as green as green can be. But not this sauvignon blanc in Waterkloof’s Circumstance range. If you’re wary of sauvignon because of the prevalence of insistent greenpepper and grass flavours and enough acid to satisfy a car battery, revel safely and happily here. Ripe but subtle peachy fruit has an interesting citric twist, all wrapped up in freshness and real harmony. It’s easy to love this wine, but the refined elegance and balance demand respect too. Not generally a great sauvignon fan, I’m won over; as the maiden offering of new cellarmaster Nadia Barnard, this portends great things from Waterkloof. It’s not cheap – but most sauvignon is overpriced compared with chenin blanc, say, and many pricier than this don’t dazzle as convincingly. In brief, a wine offering great pleasure, and good value too.
My contribution to the Mail & Guardian national weekly newspaper is being reshaped. I hope to be offering a regular Wine of the Week (of which this is the first) as well as occasional longer pieces on wider wine subjects.