A Good Year For Delaire Graff Estate

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“‘Wine is sunlight… held together by water.’ The poetic wisdom of the Italian physicist, philosopher and stargazer… Galileo Galilei. It all begins with the soil… the vine, the grape. The smell of the vineyard. Like inhaling birth. It awakens some… ancestral… some… primordial – Anyway, some deeply imprinted… and probably subconscious place… in my soul.” – Bottle Shock

Everything I feel about wine is coloured by the 2008 film, Bottle Shock, featuring the late Alan Rickman. Through the languid scenes of golden vines and reds slipping down, whites swirling round sparkling wine glasses in the Californian light, a tale emerges. A tale about not only wine, but perseverance, about letting go the pre-conceived and making space for the new. It is a story so beautifully told that I can’t help but hear lines from the film flicker across my mind whenever I find myself viewing my own languid scenes of golden vines…

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Well, Sam, this is where wine is made, the vineyard. And the vineyard’s best fertilizer is the owner’s footsteps. It’s alluvial, sedimentary, volcanic soil.
– Dry.
– Right.
You want to limit the irrigation ’cause it makes the vines struggle… intensifies the flavor. A comfortable grape, a well-watered, well-fertilized grape… grows into a lazy ingredient of a lousy wine. So, from hardship comes enlightenment. For a grape.

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This line –  So, from hardship comes enlightenment. For a grape. – is one in particular that comes to mind when South Africa’s Delaire Graff Estate describes its latest harvest as “an interesting and challenging vintage”. The last bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sorted, the hard work and long hours complete, the meticulous care at the hands of the cellar and vineyard teams is destined to create a superb result. It is, to quote another wine lover’s film favourite, A Good Year for Delaire Graff Estate.

At this year’s international Concours Mondial du Sauvignon awards, held on 4 – 5 March 2016 in one of Spain’s most prominent white wine producer regions, Rueda, Delaire Graff Estate‘s Coastal Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2015 took home the Gold, making it one of only three local wines to achieve this status this year. The estate is also behind the only South African Sauvignon Blanc to ever have a third generation Gold at the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon.


Twice a winner of an Old Mutual Trophy, this gold medal further underpins the wine’s fast growing status as one of the varietal icons of South Africa. The Concours Mondial du Sauvignon celebrates Sauvignon Blanc as a varietal capable of reflecting vintage and terroir in its truest form. First produced in 2010, the Delaire Graff Coastal Cuvée once again successfully embodied the character of South African Sauvignon Blanc for the panel of international judges. A multi-regional blend of Sauvignon Blanc from Stellenbosch, Durbanville, Darling and Franschhoek, the Coastal Cuvée showcases the fresh, crisp and fruity characteristics which define the Sauvignon Blancs of the Coastal Region.

In total, over 900 entries from 23 wine growing nations were scored by a panel of 74 judges including Christian Eedes, the only South African on the judging panel. Wines were tasted blind in flights grouped based on characteristic and thereby categorised by vintage and origin. A total of 272 medals were awarded of which 95 were Gold. The Coastal Cuvée 2015 was one of just three South African wines to receive a Gold Medal.

Panel Judge Christian Eedes said, “The value of the CM du Sauvignon is that you have some 70 wine professionals drawn from all over the world focusing exclusively on Sauvignon Blanc for two mornings of judging – the result is that what gets rewarded are wines of high fundamental quality, rather than those that sit at a stylistic extreme.

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Congratulations to winemaker Morné Vrey, viticulturists Kallie Fernhout and Kevin Watt, and the Delaire Graff Estate cellar team on this tremendous achievement, from your fellow wine-lovers at Relais & Chateaux.

To view all the results, visit Concours Mondial du Sauvignon and Wine.co.za.

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“You people. You think you can just buy your way into this. Take a few lessons. Grow some grapes. Make some good wine. You cannot do it that way. … You have to have it in your blood. You have to grow up with the soil underneath your nails, and the smell of the grape in the air that you breathe. The cultivation of the vine is an art form. The refinement of its juice is a religion that requires pain and desire and sacrifice.” – Gustavo, Bottle Shock