If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out what works for you. You might not figure out how to put across your own tasting notes, or use the verbose vocabulary that is synonymous with ‘wine speak’, but you will be able to confidently look at a wine list and order something that is to your desire when in a restaurant. You can also pick a bottle from a Retailer’s shelves, where the wine on offer is a large overwhelming choice. Introducing, the Thelema Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Vintage.
I bought a bottle at Pick n Pay last week and it cost me R79-00. I felt that the first blog post be a wine that is reachable, in both price and retail outlets, as an introduction to our journey of wine. While I knocked classification in my blog last week, what I will do when I remember the price, is create a category by price range. Price is not a predictor of the quality of the wine, but if we play in three clearly defined categories, it will make your experience all that more interesting.
- Category C will be wines between R60-00 and R100-00
- Category B will be wines between R100-00 and R200-00
- Category A will be wines above R200-00
I want you to be the judge, as you taste the difference between a ‘Category C’ and ‘Category B’ wine. Then look at the difference between a ‘Category B’ wine and ‘Category A’ wine. Rands and cents obviously make up part of the difference , but for me, ‘Category B’ to ‘Category A’ has a less incremental growth in experience versus the jump in Rand spend, while ‘Category C’ to ‘Category B’ has very noticeable increases in marginal return more often than not. Don’t under estimate the power and cost of marketing, so be aware on the price point. Our weakness, as human beings, is to believe that just because something is more expensive, it is better.
The Thelema Sauvignon Blanc is therefore a ‘Category C’ wine on the above basis. Thelema is a wine farm I’ve yet to visit. I have been for lunch on a neighbouring wine farm on the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch, Delaire Graff. The Thelema Estate is by no means a ‘Category C’ wine farm! I had the pleasure of drinking Thelema Estate Wines, as well as their sister estate Sutherland at The Chef’s Table with Franck Dangereux. The Sauvignon Blanc was not part of the pairing on the day, and I remember the winemaker, Rudi Schultz, making a particular point to highlight how he was ‘offended’ by the wine not cracking the nod for the grand stage of food and wine pairing.
It was a hot summer’s day in Joburg when I cracked this bottle open. The colour of the wine surprised me as it was not the typical pale Sauvignon Blanc. It had a decent tint of yellow in the colour (Or hue if you really want to start learning for your wine vocabulary). I guess it had the benefit of aging, as white wine colour becomes more intense as it ages, while red wine colour loses its intensity as it ages.
On sipping the wine, I detected a bit of sourness, and it was quite zesty. I thought lemons, even though there were fruity undertones when I had put the wine in the glass to my nose before sipping. Sauvignon Blanc can either be very grassy in taste, which to me is an acidity I don’t appreciate, or tropical fruit which I prefer. This Thelema Sauvignon Blanc was fresh and crisp, sensations I enjoyed in my mouth, and I enjoyed the citrus notes in my mouth. Most Sauvignon Blancs you will find on store shelves today will be a 2016 vintage, so this 2015 was quite a find at that price. As I am writing I am wondering if I should not be going back to Pick n Pay to get some more of that vintage.
Every region produces a different type of Sauvignon Blanc, and South Africa is fourth after France, New Zealand and Chile in terms of acres of this wine in production. The Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is fermented in steel tanks, and has not been in wood in any part of the process of getting it into a bottle. At 13% alcohol, it is medium in alcohol content for a wine, if you work on a scale of below 10% being low in alcohol and above 15% being high. A lovely, light bodied dry wine, it is an ideal starting point if you don’t like a heavy white wine.It’s definitely one you can quaff, after a hard day’s work, as an ‘every day wine’.
Try it out, if you haven’t, and I would love for you to share your views. Next week we will go with a Chardonnay, but I will warn you in advance that I do have a bias towards this grape…
Thank you Jordan for all the photography, and thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.