Wine of Origin: Durbanville
Cellarmaster: Bernhard Veller
Winemaker: Daniel Keulder
Background: Winemag.co.za with sponsorship from global investment advisory company, RisCura, have an annual competition honouring top South African white wine blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Named Riscura White Hot Wine Awards 2016 the winning wines scoring over 90 points (judges use the 100 point scoring system) were announced recently. 2016 saw 35 entries from 31 producers and 15 wines scored 90 and above with the highest scoring wine at 94.
I was particularly pleased to see a favourite of mine, The Nitida Coronata Integration 2015 as one of the winners with 90 points. The Coronata Intergration has been the culmination of many years of research. It began when Bernhard Vellor, owner and cellar master of Nitida, was invited several years to join the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild and was faced with the challenge of producing a unique wine for inclusion in the annual auction. As Nitida is a respected producer of both Sauvignon blanc and Semillon it was a logical decision for Bernhard to make a wine from these two cultivars.
With this as inspiration, he embarked on the journey of creating far more than just a safe Sauvignon blanc variable. He wanted to define white blends in South Africa and make a white wine with serious complexity without sacrificing the freshness that one looks for when drinking white wine in the warm South African climate.
“Sauvignon blanc and Semillon meld as jasmine warms to honeysuckle,” says Bernhard who describes this white blend as the perfect integration between freshness and mouth feel, fruit and wood. “As the wine ages, the tight Sauvignon blanc acids will remain firm but grow gentler while that dash of greenpepper freshness will always speak of its Nitida origins. The Semillon character deepens into a warm honey and becomes more dominant on the palate,” Bernhard adds.
With every vintage, he uses his technical knowledge, varying the proportions of Sauvignon blanc and Semillon (the 2015 is 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc). “The wine has been intentionally designed to evolve to ultimately show the best of both cultivars. Along the way it behaves a bit like a child – showing different aspects of its personality at different times – it remains forever interesting,” explains Bernhard.
Over the years they have learnt that for these two cultivars to merge fully, they like to be blended early on in their development. Nitida’s cautious approach to wood use has worked well with the Coronata from the beginning, using only 300 litre seasoned barrels and varying the time in wood depending on the vintage.
The name Coronata celebrates the crowning achievement of the wine! In true Nitida tradition, it is derived from the regal, golden coloured Protea Coronata. The colour of the flower reflects the rich honey tones of the blend after spending 8 months in barrel. Integration, because the blend between the two cultivars which have a combined balance of both freshness and complexity.
Result: Nitida Coronata Integration 2015 has a bright straw green tinge with fresh aromas of green apples and hints of honey. The palate is rich with succulent honey-lemon flavour with green pepper captivated on the well-rounded finish.
When to drink: now till 2020
Drink with what: Enjoy the wine with Pork belly or rich chicken dishes.
Expect to pay: R188.00