Jessica Saurwein Stakes Her Claim to Best Riesling in South Africa – Tasting the Saurwein Chi Riesling 2022…

The maiden vintage of the Chi Riesling from Jessica Saurwein was the 2018 made from one Elgin vineyard at Casey’s Ridge on the Vrede en Lust Elgin property. From 2020, a second vineyard from the De Rust farm owned by Paul Cluver Wines, joined the blend to form 40% of the new Cuvee with approximately five tons of fruit.

From 2023 Jessica plans to up the production further taking additional tonnage from Casey’s Ridge. I recently caught up with Jessica in Cape Town to taste her new releases including the impressive 2022 Chi Riesling.

Saurwein Chi Riesling 2022, WO Elgin, 11.5% Abv.

11.5 g/l RS | 7.5 g/l TA | 3.04 pH

This is certainly a wine that has grown in stature year after year to now feature as probably South Africa’s most premium quality Riesling produced. You wouldn’t expect anything less considering Jessica’s German heritage. The aromatics are very Mosel in style with opulent layers of crystalline white peach, talc, yellow citrus rock candy, Granny Smith green apples and just the most delicate waxy mineral hint. In the mouth the wine really comes alive with explosive tart juicy mouth-watering fruits of white citrus, lime cordial, green apple pastille and white crunchy peach all assembled with impressive textural precision, focus and purity. The acidity is wonderfully bright and electric but expertly balanced by a perfect residual sugar component helping to create a very fine textural equilibrium with fabulous persistence and zippy length. Quite simply the best expression of Riesling produced in South Africa. Jessica’s hard work and extreme attention to detail should be celebrated. Drink now and over the next 10+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

The wines are available in the UK from Swig Wines at approximately £24.99pb.