Graham Beck Sauvignon Blancs Success

21 October 2009
Graham Beck Sauvignon Blancs a Runaway Success
There can be no doubt that the Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc has demonstrated all the hallmarks of a truly exceptional wine – right from the get-go. A string of accolades and awards bears testimony to its undisputed consistency and enduring appeal. This year has been no exception with the results from the country’s top wine competitions once again cementing Graham Beck’s status as one of South Africa’s foremost Sauvignon Blanc producers.
Most recently the Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run 2009 claimed its place in the Top 10 and clinched five stars at the WINE magazine 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 Awards. This year’s competition attracted 226 entries, up from 186 entries last year, a clear indication of this versatile variety’s ever increasing popularity amongst wine lovers. Not to be outdone the Pheasant’s Run 2008 also made the prestigious Top 10 line-up with no less than four and a half stars. This extraordinary wine is also the only Sauvignon Blanc to repeatedly be chosen for the Top 10 since the inception of this competition.
This hat trick followed closely on the heels of a series of outstanding achievements. At the 2009 Veritas Awards, announced in October this year, the Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008 walked off with a Double Gold Medal, while the 2009 vintage of this wine scored a Gold Medal. Both the Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008 and the Graham Beck Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (the estate’s immensely popular varietal Sauvignon) bagged Double Gold Medals at the 2009 Michelangelo Wine Awards. At the same time the Pheasants’ Run 2009 scooped a Gold Medal.
Earlier in the year the Pheasants’ Run ’08 shone as one of the Top 10 wines at the Bartho Eksteen Sauvignon Blanc Celebration. At the South African National Young Wine Show the Pheasants’ Run has also demonstrated its true colours, having earned the title of SA Champion Sauvignon Blanc three times in four years – proof that even as a fledgling wine it appeared destined for the limelight.
But what makes this such a phenomenal wine? “Pheasants’ Run reflects the very best of what a real Sauvignon Blanc is required to be – purity of fruit, lively acidity and freshness,
but with a great mouth feel and elegance to boot,” comments Graham Beck’s Franschhoek winemaker Erika Obermeyer. The Pheasants’ Run is undeniably Erika’s “baby” and this self-confessed “Sauvignon Blanc fanatic” has “nursed” this over-achiever every step of the way on its path to success.
“I love the challenge that this varietal offers. There is absolutely no room for error at any stage of making a great Sauvignon Blanc,” she explains. “In the vineyard we get the basics right from day one and make sure that the optimal viticultural practices are in place. The most vital factor, however, remains the terroir,” says Erika. Sauvignon Blanc is a very site specific varietal. “The fruit for the Pheasants’ Run ’08 and ’09 as well as the Graham Beck varietal Sauvignon Blanc was all harvested from our finest cool climate vineyards in the Coastal Region,” she remarks. All these sites are meticulously selected for the natural cooling effect that is gained from their close proximity to the ocean as well as the geological diversity of their soils.
“I just can’t help it, but every sip of a great example of Sauvignon Blanc results in a ‘goose bumps’ moment! That feeling is exactly what I experience when tasting the Pheasants’ Run grapes in the vineyards on the final day before harvesting,” comments Erika. Harvesting takes place in the cool early morning hours at a stage when the Sauvignon Blanc shows its fullest flavour intensity, in order to capture the essence of the fruit components of the vineyard in the final wine. Reductive treatment in the cellar is followed by a period of skin contact with two days of settling and cold fermentation. The wine spends extended time on the lees prior to the final blending and bottling.
“I honestly believe that the consumer wants to drink a Sauvignon Blanc that has the following winning combination: elegance, a rich ripe style, true purity of fruit, great mouth-feel, fresh and lively acidity as well as a sumptuous palate. A tall order, but one which the Pheasants’ Run more than generously fulfills,” says a chuffed Erika. This palate pleasing profile makes it the ideal partner to fresh fish, grilled over the coals or a ravishing risotto with asparagus and prawns.
The Pheasants’ Run is named after the farm Fisantekraal (gathering of the pheasants) in Durbanville where the fruit for the maiden vintage was sourced from. The reference is also a playful nod to Erika’s other ‘baby’ – her canine companion called Rocky, a three-year-old German Shorthair Pointer and an avid wild bird hunter. “So, yes, the Pheasants’ Run combines the two loves of my life!” says an understandably elated Erika.
The Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc and the Graham Beck Sauvignon Blanc are both available from the cellar door at Franschhoek or from selected retail outlets.
For more information contact the estate on +27 21 874 1258 or visit


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