Vrede en Lust, the majestic wine estate situated at the foot of the Simonsberg between Paarl and Franschhoek, has added to its impressive awards tally in 2017. This after the producer’s Artisan Blanc Fumé received a coveted FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 trophy at the recent awards ceremony of this annual competition dedicated to South Africans’ favourite white wine variety.
This year the competition judges had the unenviable task to crown the Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc wines in South Africa from a whopping 190 entries received. The Top 10 judging panel consisted of convenor and seasoned winemaker Neil Ellis, joined by leading wine writers and judges Christian Eedes and Samarie Smith, winemakers Kobus Gerber and Wilhelm Pienaar, as well as Morgan Steyn, Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé.
The winning Artisan Blanc Fumé is a delicately wooded Sauvignon Blanc from Vrede en Lust’s popular Artisan Range, a collection of terroir-driven wines handcrafted in small quantities for the estate’s wine club. In fact, only 2 800 bottles of the Artisan Blanc Fumé 2016 were produced. Matured in older 500-litre French oak barrels for 10 months, it has a delicious ripe pear flavour and hints of litchi with an undertone of balanced oak. Seamless from start to finish with a coated acidity and rounded palate, this is a wine with outstanding longevity as previous vintages have shown.
The grapes used to produce the Artisan Blanc Fumé are cultivated on Vrede en Lust’s Elgin farm, Casey’s Ridge, which specializes in the production of cool climate white varieties. Vrede en Lust owners the Buys family acquired this picturesque 90 ha former apple farm, located in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, in 2004. In the early years the yields were quite small due to the cool climate and the vigour of the soils, and the resultant small batches of grapes sparked the inspiration for the artisanal Artisan range.
Newly-appointed head winemaker Karlin Nel accepted the Top 10 trophy on Vrede en Lust’s behalf, and expressed delight that less commercial wooded styles of Sauvignon Blanc are now, in addition to critical acclaim, increasingly capturing the attention of consumers. “As a winemaking team we really are given creative free rein with the Artisan Range, which, coupled with the interesting Elgin fruit allow us to create wines with a lot of detail and dimension. Without a doubt this has contributed to the soaring demand for the range and its success at wine competitions.”
The Artisan Blanc Blanc Fumé 2016 is available at Vrede en Lust’s tasting room, online wine shop and selected fine wine retailers while stocks last.