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Savage White Blend 2014

Bordeaux White Blends from South Africa
  • WS93
  • RP90
14% ABV
  • WS92
  • W&S90
  • RP93
  • WS90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A fairly pale, lucid yellow color, the nose of the 2014 is packed with dried straw, lemon grass, baked yellow capsicum, and rich lemon curd notes. But there is another very complex, herbaceous dimension to the aromatics of this wine. A pithy minerality of crushed gravel underpins notes of dried herbs, tarragon, dried bay leaves and buttered white toast. The palate shows a rich, full, bold, fleshy entry with mouth coating dry extract concentration of lemon verbena, white citrus, passion fruit souffle and peach stone fruit. This wine has gravitas and weight of fruit, classical styling but withimmediate accessibility and allure. The finish is long and focusedrevealing the Savage white hallmarks of lemon and pineapple pastille fruits, textural richness, a vibrant acidity, seamless integration and above all, balance.

73% Sauvignon Blanc,27% Semillon

Critical Acclaim

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WS 93
Wine Spectator
Gorgeous talc, green almond, honeysuckle and verbena notes lead the way, followed by flavors of white peach, salted butter and blanched almond. The long, pure, chiseled finish should expand steadily with some cellaring. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Drink now through 2020.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Savag's 2014 Proprietory White has a lot less Semillon than previous vintages, just 27%. Duncan feels this is about precision and the razor's edge. Matured in old barrels, that higher percentage of Sauvignon Blanc makes an imprint on the nose with fresh gooseberry and nettle aromas. The palate is indeed is crisp and precise, tensile and poised with touches of bruised apple, pear and goosberry with a taut finish. If I am being honest, I miss the contribution that the Semillon makes, though note that from 2015 it will become a multi-varietal blend. Duncan mentioned that he thinks the Semillon will become more expressive with time - it will be intriguing to find out.
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Savage, South Africa
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Cape Point Vineyards' winemaker Duncan Savage introduced his own label in 2011. Savage’s goal is to produce rock-solid classic and elegant wines. Through his time at Cape Point, Duncan has grown to understand maritime vineyards a little better. This knowledge led him to source grapes for Savage from maritime and high altitude sites. Duncan is also inspired by many great older reds from South Africa and abroad that have stood the test of time with moderate alcohol and gentle extraction.

South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance is in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

Bordeaux White Blends

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Sometimes light and crisp, other times rich and creamy, Bordeaux white blends typically consist of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Often, a small amount of Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris is included for added intrigue. This blend was popularized in the Bordeaux region of France (where it also comprises outstanding sweet wines like Sauternes and Barsac), but is often mimicked throughout the New World, particularly in California, Washington and Australia.

In the Glass

Sémillon provides the background to this blend, with a relatively full body and an oily texture. Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and lots of bright fruit flavor, particularly white grapefruit, lime and freshly cut grass. Used in smaller proportions, Muscadelle can contribute fresh floral notes, while Sauvignon Gris is less aromatic but offers ripe, juicy fruit on the palate. These wines run the gamut from unoaked, refreshing, and easy to drink to serious, complex and barrel-aged. The latter style, usually with a higher percentage of Sémillon, can develop aromas of ginger, chamomile and dried orange peel. The dessert wines produced by these blends, often with the help of "noble rot" called botrytis, can have lush stone fruit and honey characteristics.

Perfect Pairings

Crisp, dry Bordeaux white blends are the perfect accompaniment for raw or lightly cooked seafood, especially shellfish. A more structured, Sémillon-based bottling can stand up to richer fish, chicken, or pork dishes in white sauces. These blends also work well with a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs, like asparagus, peas, basil and tarragon. Sweet dessert wines are traditionally enjoyed with strong blue cheeses, foie gras or fruit-based desserts.

Sommelier Secret

Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but astute sommeliers know that they can be served at any time—before, during or after the meal. Try these sweet wines as an aperitif with jamón ibérico, oysters with a spicy mignonette or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage, poached lobster in beurre blanc sauce or even fried chicken.

EPC35412_2014 Item# 213390