Reviewing One of the Most Exciting New Sauvignon Blancs from South Africa – Tasting the Terre Paisible Les Dames de 1987 ‘Old Vine’ Sauvignon Blanc 2022…

Terre Paisible – meaning Peaceful Land in French – is a new winery in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley. With impressive views of the Simonsberg mountains, the broader winery branding is in keeping with the new owner’s philosophy of “where the land is a source of energy and revitalisation – a place to recharge and re-set, where a sense of abundance and peace envelops you.” All mantras firmly in keeping with the peaceful beauty and luxury of the famed Franschhoek Valley of course. On the estate, old vine plantings are accompanied by productive olive groves as well as several export certified fruit orchards, all of which are said to be farmed sustainably.

The current release range is made up of two tiers covering the Vigne d’Or Red Blend 2018, Chardonnay 2021 and a vibrantly fresh Franschhoek Sauvignon Blanc 2022. Their more premium tier currently only consists of two wines, the Terre Paisible Les Dames de 1987 ‘Old Vine’ Sauvignon Blanc 2022 and the Isabelle Rosé 2022, though this range will surely grow as the winery finds its feet properly. Within the current range, famed winemaker Adam Mason is currently acting as consultant and in this capacity, he blended and bottled the 2018 red and 2021 Chardonnay but fully vinified and bottled the 2022 whites and Rosé releases. I tasted tank samples of the two 2022 Sauvignon Blancs with Adam Mason at Cape Wine in October 2022 and was suitably impressed. On my last visit to the Cape in March 2023, I made a point of tracking down a bottle of the old vine Sauvignon Blanc 2022 to see how this finished wine was developing. Oh boy, I am glad I did!

Harvested from 35-year-old vines, the 2022 Les Dames de 1987 Sauvignon Blanc expresses the more tropical and exotic fruit spectrum of the variety showcasing deliciously complex pineapple and nectarine aromas. After whole bunch pressing and minimal settling the wine was fermented in stainless steel before racking to a 4000 litre foudre for maturation. Ripe but incredibly sophisticated, there is also great precision and textural delicacy in evidence. Nine months maturation on its fine lees in a 4000L foudre provided the wine with a classical French Bordeaux meets Loire Valley character and the wine is undoubtedly made in a style that will reward further ageing in the cellar.

Terre Paisible Les Dames de 1987 ‘Old Vines’ Sauvignon Blanc 2022, WO Franschhoek, 13% Abv.

1.3g/l RS | 5.4g/l TA | 3.29pH

A superb expression of Sauvignon harvested from 35-year-old vines that spent 9 months on its lees in a 4000 litre foudre yielding a classy old world style expression with complex aromatics of leesy white citrus, yellow grapefruit, pineapple, quince and a deliciously fresh, savoury undertone. The palate texture is creamy and silky soft with a supple tangy acidity that highlights the tangerine peel and green apple pastille intensity. Such harmony and balance with vibrant energetic crystalline freshness and purity that draws you back again and again for another sip. This is more Pouilly Fume meets white Bordeaux than barrel aged Kiwi-style Sauvignon Blanc, where minerality and acidity lead and the textural precision and intensity of the old vine fruit dominates the long, persistent finish. This is grown up, top shelf Sauvignon Blanc like only a masterful winemaker like Adam Mason can deliver! Simply one of the most impressive and sophisticated Sauvignon Blancs I have tasted from South Africa in a very long time. Drink on release or cellar for extra complexity for another 5 to 8+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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