The quality that South African Riesling typically lacks most often is a certain clarity of fruit compared to the best examples made in the Northern Hemisphere but the 2021 vintage of Saurwein Chi has precisely this and more. The growing season was cool and therefore extended, the resulting wine a little higher in both residual sugar and acidity but lower in alcohol than 2020 (60% of the grapes from Vrede en Lust’s Casey’s Ridge property and 40% from Paul Cluver, winemaking involving spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel tank. RS 11.5g/l; TA 7.4g/l; Alc 11.5g/l). Aromatics are subtle and complex – gun smoke, floral perfume, herb, pear, peach, lime and green apple as well as ginger and a little white pepper while the palate shows pure fruit and a cracking line of acidity before a super-dry finish. It’s already an extremely attractive wine but should only gain extra dimension over time. 93/100 Winemag.co.za
Producer Information: Saurwein
Jessica Saurwein’s family name is steeped in the history of 17th-century winemaking, her forefathers made “sour” wine for the Emperor of Austria. It became her vocation to redeem her family’s reputation in wine and so after a gap year working locally and internationally in vineyards, she completed a BSc Oenology and Viticulture degree at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Opportunities then led her into the world of Sales and Marketing at first, while she worked in the cellar each year during harvest-time. She found her way back to making wine by starting her own production part-time in 2015. When she had a baby in October 2017 she resigned from her job to become a mother and full-time winemaker for her own brand.
Today she focusses on handcrafting her two favourite cultivars, Pinot noir and Riesling, and makes three wines under the Saurwein brand name, two Pinot noirs and one Riesling. She has a hands-off winemaking approach and creates wines of real substance and elegance. She is guided by the natural balance of the grapes for the three unique sites.