May 4 is Sauvignon Blanc Day 2018. How much do you know about the versatile, refreshing varietal?Read More
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”- Nelson Mandela
Mandela Day is celebrated internationally every year on July 18. The day celebrates Madiba’s (Nelson Mandela’s clan name) life and legacy by promoting acts of service and positive community change. Nelson Mandela fought for social justice for 67 years, so Mandela Day asks for individuals to start with 67 minutes.
South African winery MAN Family Vitners, located in Stellenbosch, knows the importance of giving back to the community.
Like the saying goes, “charity starts at home,” so last year, MAN decided to devote their #67 minutes to one specific charity in the immediate community. Just down the road from MAN offices in Jonkershoek is Akkerland pre-school.
Akkerland pre-school, or crèche, cares for two age groups: babies and toddlers up to three years old, and ages 3-6.
July is South Africa’s coldest month, so much of MAN’s work for Mandela Day was centered on ensuring the preschool was prepared for the cold weather. Everyone from the farm workers at MAN to the office staff came together to serve the preschool in a variety of ways—from buying carpets to cover the floors to donating educational toys and books to buying warm blankets and clothing.
While volunteering at the preschool, one of MAN’s employees, Maia Bezuidenhout, noticed two young brothers, Imbo (2 years old) and Sohiso (5 years old). These two brothers, raised by a sickly single mother, were especially unprepared for the cold weather. So Maia went to the mall to buy them a few pairs of warm clothing and shoes. A few months after Mandela Day, Maia ran into Imbo, Sohiso, and their mother. The boys’ mother had not forgotten and was so grateful for the help.
This year MAN visited Akkerland in June to prepare for and see how they could best serve on Mandela Day. There, they learned Imbo and Sohiso’s mother had passed away and they were being raised by an aunt far away. While not every story has a happy ending, and while often an act of service might feel like only a drop in the bucket, the smallest devotion of time and the smallest act of service can truly make a difference and have a ripple effect.
This Mandela Day, MAN again spent time at Akkerland, fixing cots, preparing the school for winter, and making sure they had supplies, from nappies to blankets. But MAN’s relationship with the preschool doesn’t stop after 67 minutes or even after a day. The team plans to make monthly visits to the preschool to spend time with the children, to take them to lunch, and perhaps to focus on specific families in need (inspired by Imbo and Sohiso).
MAN sees the importance of giving back to the community, keenly aware of the overwhelming needs of the underprivileged and underserved in the community.
MAN believes in promoting change and constant progress.
MAN is #WineforGood.
- The grape can trace its history in French winemaking to the 9th century. In its early days in France, the grape was mainly used to make sweet sparkling and dessert wines.
- Now the grape is best-known for Southern African wines. Its history on that continent goes back to 1655, when it was first planted by the father of the South African nation—Jan Van Riebeeck.
- Like in France, the grape was originally used to make a different beverage than what it is now known for. Chenin Blanc grapes were used in South Africa’s booming brandy production.
- When the South African wine industry truly began to grow and gain acclaim, the country was looking for a signature varietal. Enter Chenin Blanc.
- With some experimentation, South African winemakers were able to create a wine very different from sweet dessert wines or brandy. The Chenin Blanc you most often drink is a result of this South African experimentation. Similar to Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc is zesty, crisp, and dry.
Looking to try a South African Chenin Blanc? We have recommendations for you.
MAN Family Wines Chenin Blanc- a crisp, expressive, medium-bodied wine with vibrant aromas of quince and tropical fruit. ON the palate, fresh stone fruit and apple flavors are backed by refreshing acidity and mineralogy. Pairs well with poultry, shellfish, and vegetable dishes.
ESSAY Chenin Blanc- a medium-bodied white blend with fruit salad, guava, and melon aromas and a refreshing mineral-acidity. Pairs well with a wide range of foods, especially sushi, oysters, Asian curries, sweet-and-sour dishes, and summer salads.
Reyneke Chenin Blanc - a bright straw hue with a lovely bouquet of fresh limes and citrus peel followed through by fruit sorbet floral undertones.
Tormentoso Chenin Blanc- intense aromas of apricots and canned white peaches with touches of coconut milk and vanilla from the oak. The palate is packed with ripe yellow fruit, apple core and quince flavors, with blanched refreshing acidity and tangy finish.
We also have two great French Chenin Blanc recommendations for you.
Pichot Le Peu de la Moriette Vouvray- well-balanced and crisp with distinct notes of pear, lemon, pineapple and honey (Restaurant Wine). Creamed pear, ginger and quince flavors...refreshing and focused (Wine Spectator).
Pichot Coteau de la Biche Vouvray Sec- dry and racy with a fresh quinine streak, but there's a succulent edge too, as fig and pear fruit fill out through the finish, where a lovely green almond note hangs on (Wine Spectator).
- Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s 8th most planted wine grape.
- No surprise, the grape hails from France. There the wine often takes its name from the region, not the varietal. Sancerre—not Sauvignon Blanc. So when you’re drinking a Sancerre, know it is from the same grape as a Sauvignon Blanc.
- Originally the grape was used in other blends, usually to make sweeter desert wines. In the 20th century Sancerre found popularity in Parisian bars and bistros and the success spread around the globe.
- New Zealand is now one of the most well-known and well-loved producers of Sauvignon Blanc. 90% of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are from Marlborough, the wine region on the northernmost end of the island.
- If you read our blog on Malbec World Day, you’ll remember a nasty little bug called phylloxera that destroyed most of the French Malbec vines. The Sauvignon Blanc vines in New Zealand are all planted phylloxera-resistant rootstock. So take heart, your favorite Sauv Blanc most likely won’t suffer the fate of French Malbecs of old.
- France and New Zealand aren’t the only two countries providing the world with the easy-drinking wine. Italy, Chile, and South Africa are also major producers. (L to R: MAN, South Africa; Reyneke, South Africa; Gradis'ciutta, Italy; Cono Sur Chile)
- French Sancerre (also known as Pouilly Fumé and occasionally Sauvignon Blanc) are typically full of mineral and citrus flavors. ⬇️
- South African Sauvignon Blancs have balanced flavors with a light-medium body and acidity, in between mineral and herbaceous. ⬇️
- Chilean Sauvignon Blancs are marked by their citrus and green flavors and juicy high acidity. ⬇️
- New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs have intense tropical green flavors, a nice mix of fruity and herbaceous. ⬇️
- Italian Sauvignon Blancs, also “Old World” like French Sancerres, have a medium body with stone fruit, floral fragrances. ⬇️
- Whatever your preference, you can find just the Sauvignon Blanc for your taste. This is a wine easily enjoyed with or without food.