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2006 Black Pearl Vineyards Oro

Opaque purple in the glass, with a nose of chocolate, smoked bacon, and nutmeg. (Chocolate and bacon is a great combination, in fact.) Opens up tantalizingly but with great promise on the palate, with long, expressive flavors of black currant and nuts, perhaps pistachios. The Shiraz and Cabernet are in fine balance, ending in a languorous finish. A really splendid wine. Try it with really good, true, smoky BBQ brisket (which may be as difficult to find, or more so, than the wine if you are outside of Texas.)
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2009 Graham Beck Chenin Blanc

Somewhere between the richest and oakiest Chardonnay-like South African Chenin Blancs and the lighter, more fruit-driven styles lies this hearty yet refreshing white. The nose is reminiscent of orange-compote bread pudding: toasty and rather rich but with a pure citrus tang and notes of honeysuckle and tangerine, suggesting a full-bodied but clean and refreshing palate. The mouthfeel is creamy but not overbearing with bright acidity to balance a warming alcohol (14%), leading to a long, resolving finish. A great match for rustic fall meals such as acorn squash stuffed with sausage, apples and breadcrumbs.
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2009 Dark Lady of the Labyrinth Pinotage

“Rubber” has become synonymous with Pinotage, at least partly due to the power of suggestion. But you won’t find a hint of it here, even if you try. Aging in heavily toasted oak gives the wine an aromatic nose of mocha, coffee, and chocolate along with the more typical Pinotage nose of smoked bacon. On the palate, cherry, plum and almonds mingle with the continuing mocha and bacon notes ending with a velvety smooth finish. Does not come across as your normal Pinotage! While chocolate or mocha desserts are a more obvious match, it would be fantastic with a more traditional Mexican dish covered in that chili-chocolate hybrid known as molé sauce.
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2009 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay

Creamy apples and pears slathered in toasty wood. The oak treatment is clear, even blatant. This is not a wine for those who prefer their Chards in stainless steel. For those who like rich, woody wines, though, this offers up toast, caramel, and Tres Leches. Drink with something that is already too rich, lobster with drawn butter, or even better, if in season, stone crabs.
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2007 Café Culture Pinotage

An odd, almost clashing nose of smoky bacon and blackberries, but not a lot of fruit there. At first comes across light on the palate with flabby tannins. It almost yells at you, “not home, come back later.” And you will be rewarded if you do. The flavors open up, with more expressive dark berry and nutmeg flavors. Still a bit short on the finish, but all in all, a pretty fair wine for the price. Went well with a BLT (which was admittedly the only thing I had around the house at the moment).
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2007 Southern Right Pinotage

The palate has plum, smoke, a surprising taste of apricot, but it is all wrapped in burnt rubber. The burnt rubber taste was overwhelming when it was opened, but moved more to the background after a couple of hours. Some mint started to peek through. Dusty tannins show up on the finish. Drink with well-sauced ribs and some coleslaw.
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2009 Indaba Shiraz

The nose is very jammy, but I wonder if there is some Pinotage in the mix. There is a hint of burnt rubber typical for South African Pinotage. The flavors on the palate are candied cherrry, loam, and burnt rubber. Palate feel is relatively smooth, but a lingering aftertaste of artificial cherry candy means this wine cannot be recommended.