At the first RisCura White Hot wine awards held yesterday at Landtscap, the top three Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon wine blends in the country were announced. Out of the 41 wines submitted by 30 different producers, the top three are Celestina 2012, Steenberg Magna Carta 2011 and Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2011.

Celestina 2012 is produced in Cape Agulhas, retails for R95 and comprises of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon. This blend is fermented and matured for 11 months in a combination of 300-litre and 500-litre French oak barrels, none of which are new. Its tasting notes are subtle and complex offering lime and white peach flavours before a peppery bite on the finish. It has a good concentration and texture offset by bright acidity. It should be drunk from now until 2017.

Steenberg Magna Carta 2011 from Constantia is due for release in March 2014 and will retail for R495. This blend also comprises 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon. The Semillon is fermented and matured for two months in 500-litre and 600-litre French oak barrels, 45% of which are new. After blending, the wine goes back into barrel for a further seven months, 41% of which are new barrels. It has grabbing aromatics and tasting notes of citrus blossom, peach and tangerine plus a hint of vanilla on the nose. It is a powerful flavour with a dense core of fruit and a great line of acidity that is really persistent to the finish. It will be best for drinking to 2019.

Lastly, Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2011 from Stellenbosch retails at R185. It comprises 71% Sauvignon Blanc and 29% Semillon. It is fermented and matured for nine months, with Sauvignon Blanc in 400-litre barrels, and Semillon in 225-litre barrels, 26% of which are new barrels altogether. Its tasting notes include peach, blackcurrant and attractive oak spice on both the nose and palate. It is a sumptuous wine with great flavour intensity and tangy acidity. Drink it now until 2019.

The competition was open to all producers in the country, conditions of participation being that wines submitted had to be current release or soon to be released and were specifically labelled as blends (no wines labelled as “Sauvignon Blanc” but containing a fraction of Semillon were permitted).

The judging panel was chaired by well-known wine connoisseur Christian Eedes, Roland Peens of Wine Cellar (a Cape Town firm that brokers and cellars fine wines) and James Pietersen, beverage manager for local restaurants Balducci’s and Belthazar. Judging was done blind using the 20-point/Five Star system and PKF were the tasting auditors.

“Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blends are fairly new in South Africa and we were very pleased with the quantity and quality of submissions,” says Albrecht Gantz of RisCura. “While those in the know may already love these blends, arguably they have not attracted the popular following they deserve. The RisCura White Hot wine awards, which will be held annually, aims to remedy that.” 

More information?

Read Christian Eedes' full tasting report here.

Find out what Hennie and Maggie of Batonage thought of the awards here, and Angela Lloyd's mouthwatering review here. More rave reviews by Jan and Anel of Winetimes here. John and Lynne relay their experience of event here – from the flowers to the venue, right down to the menu details! Thank you all for attending and sharing your stories!

A few thanks

A big thank you to Franck Dangereux of the Foodbarn for the exquisite food pairings and innovative menu, and to Tracey and the Fullstop team for putting together such a memorable event.