For the launch of the 2020 vintage of Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch Visio was invited to a unique vertical tasting. By Magriet Kruger
It’s a cool and grey December morning when we gather at Sea Breeze in Cape Town’s Bree Street. But inside the seafood restaurant the atmosphere is pure summer. The interior is decorated in ocean colours, with witty posters on the walls. In a secret courtyard, comfy outdoor chairs sit companionably.
It all evokes the memories of a summer’s day: leisurely hours spent by the seaside, the taste of ocean-fresh fish and shellfish, the tang of saltwater in the air. But we haven’t come here to focus on a single season; we’ve come together to celebrate a full 10 seasons.
The occasion is the launch of the Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc 2020. This single vineyard-block wine first claimed five stars in Platter’s in 2010, repeating the feat in 2019. We are to taste both those wines – as well as the vintages in between, which themselves boast several accolades.
Cool by the sea
Situated near the southernmost tip of Africa, Strandveld Vineyards bears the hallmarks of the Elim ward’s cool maritime climate. An almost constant breeze off the Atlantic Ocean keeps the summer heat in check, giving the grapes more time to ripen and concentrating the yield. The conditions are ideally suited to Sauvignon Blanc, which can quickly become over-ripe and dull in extreme heat.
Pofadderbos is a single 3-ha vineyard where winemaker Conrad Vlok first bottled wine in 2007. The name comes from an encounter that Conrad’s schnauzer had there with a puffadder. (The dog lived to fight another day.) Surrounded by fynbos, this vineyard is known for snake sightings and when the time came to name the wine, the site’s nickname stuck.
Since then, the Strandveld Pofadderbos has earned a reputation for itself. Tasting the same wine from a single vineyard over the period of a decade really allows the terroir to come through. It also shows just how big an influence climate is, with weather conditions varying considerably from one year to the next and testing the winemaker to the full.
Time to savour
Given the cool climate, the Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc typically has herbal and mineral notes with an undertone of tropical fruit. Tasting notes for the 2020 vintage describe passion fruit and blackcurrant on the nose with citrus and fynbos on the palate. The acidity is well integrated and the wine has a long finish.
On the older vintages the pale colour of the wine becomes more lemony due to the bottle aging. But the more venerable wines don’t stand back for the younger ones. The Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc 2011 delivers bountiful aromas of green pepper, asparagus and flint.
Sauvignon blanc is the most popular white variety in South Africa. It accounts for a full 43% of all white wine sold in the country. However, much of that seems to be consumed immediately, with fewer wines being cellared. The Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc vertical tasting shows that this grape can produce complex wines that stand the test of time.
Good to know: Strandveld Vineyards also received five stars in the 2021 Platter’s South African Wine Guide for its Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc 2019.
Visit Strandveld Vineyards this summer for a taste of the singular Pofadderbos.