Home > Handpicked > Downes Family Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2013

My Personal Wine Recommendation For You
Under Twenty Sauvignon Blanc Does Not Get Better

SAVE 27%

Unquestionably, this is a favorite Sauvignon Blanc of renowned wine critic, Stephen Tanzer: “A lot of sauvignon blanc for the price--and one to seek out."

The Downes Family Vineyards winery is situated in the Elgin Valley of beautiful and spacious South Africa. This particular valley, which has long been regarded as an apple and pear growing center, now has some of the country's most highly regarded winemakers establishing vineyards in that same area – a testament to its obvious wine making potential. And so is located the Downes Family’s 7 blocks of Sauvignon Blanc (and a half hectare of Semillon) for the Sanctuary Peak production. Interestingly, the winery’s name pays homage to its Irish ancestry, the Shannon and Downes families of County Cork, Ireland, who were wine merchants and former owners of the White Horse Pub (1882) in Parsons Green, the City Arms (in the City of London), the Rising Sun (Battersea) and the Marlborough (Chelsea). Today they make one of the finest examples of Sauvignon I have tasted in quite some time. All the zip and flavor one finds in New Zealand but with added elegance and minerality you find in Great Sancerre from the Loire, France. Bottom line you get it all. What’s great about this wine is that combines aspects of the different 7 blocks of Sauvignon. Sandstone soils add mineral and citrus. Clay and shale soils provide the Sauvignon Blanc with flavors on the riper side of the fruit spectrum and with more structure for a broader palate. A small percentage of Semillon (matured on the lees) provides a fuller mouth feel adding complexity to the wine. (Lees refers to deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate, or are carried by the action of "fining", to the bottom of a vat of wine after fermentation and aging.) This wine was vinified in a style to enhance its aging potential to match those elegant Sauvignon Blancs of the great Loire Valley of France. Blow your mind good!

Downes Family Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Elgin; South Africa Was $25.99 Now $18.99

92pts Tanzer SAVE 27%

Winemaker’s notes: The grapes were chilled to 3ºC. The bunches were sorted on a conveyor, de-stemmed and crushed. All transfers of grape must and juice in these early stages are attained using gravity. After a gentle pressing, the juice was left to settle for a period of 72 hours at 2ºC. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks continues at 12ºC until the wine is dry. The (11%) blended Semillon is fermented on natural yeasts and matured for 3 months in 100% new French oak and bâtonnage (a term for lees stirring) practiced fortnightly.

Tasting Notes: Bright pale yellow. Aromas of gooseberry, lime leaf and citrus peel are almost New Zealand-like in their penetrating pungency. Then juicy, spicy and very dry but with excellent texture and intensity to the uncompromising flavors of citrus peel, white pepper and flinty minerals. Excellent sauvignon blanc with real depth and spicy length, and a dusty peppery quality that leaves the mouth refreshed. A lot of sauvignon blanc for the price — and one to seek out. – Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar.

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