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Day: ‘No one wants Coca-Cola wines’

South Africa needs to be serious about making terroir specific Sauvignon Blanc rather than “Coca-Cola wines” according to one of the key winemakers in the country.

Matt Day of Klein Constantia
Matt Day of Klein Constantia

Speaking to the drinks business during a lunch in London to launch the 2009 vintage of Vin de Constance, Matt Day, chief winemaker at Klein Constantia, said:

“South Africa needs to make terroir specific Sauvignon – no one wants Coca-Cola wines anymore, they’re too obvious. I’m aiming to make our Sauvignon Blanc one of the best examples in the southern hemisphere.

“I want to prove that Klein Constantia is more than just a one-wine show and feel that we’ve got the terroir to do it.”

Day is so serious about Sauvignon, he made not one but six different styles last year from the estate’s six single vineyards, and intends to make a dozen next year, with plantings at the estate due to increase in 2015.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2009 has just launched
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2009 has just launched

“I recently started experimenting with making a zero sulphur Sauvignon called 385 after the vineyard block. Two years on an it’s still fresh. I managed to get it listed at my two favourite restaurants in South Africa and we only sell it there

“We’re not keen on making a crowd-pleasing, super aromatic Sauvignon Blanc, we want it to be big, bold and rich and pair well with food,” he told db.

“We’re trying to move away from the modern, New World way of making Sauvignon Blanc and instead strive for flintiness in the glass,” he added.

Regarding the estate’s flagship sweet wine, Vin de Constance, drunk by everyone from Napoleon to Jane Austen, Day is experimenting with new cultivars that are due to form part of the blend.

“We planted a small amount of Chenin Blanc last week with the view to adding it to the blend, along with Petit Manseng, which will bring acidity,” Day said.

“My dream is for Vin de Constance to be considered one of the best wines in the world. In order to do this we’re going to make less and refine our focus.

“We’re a natural sweet wine. We don’t want to be a botrytis wine because then you start competing with the likes of Yquem,” he added.

Keen to put his stamp on the estate, Day has pulled up the Merlot plantings as “it just doesn’t work” and at the same time has revived Chardonnay production as he believes in the potential of the grape in South African soils.

He’s also working on an app that will allow him to manage the temperature of the estate’s cellars form his iPhone.

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