While South Africa is home to more than 600 wineries in over 90 appellations, a small group of maverick winemakers are stealing the nation's spotlight, working with chenin blanc and Rhône varieties, off the beaten path in the Western Cape's Swartland appellation.
It is easy to get the impression that, apart from conventional practices, there are only two options available in viticulture: organic and biodynamic. However, there are other methods being developed.
A rather fascinating red blend from South Africa. A wine that is fat but racy enough that it doesn’t have to go on a diet. A big nose of smoke, bacon fat, and blackberries. Follows through with vanilla and cumin notes and nice tannic structure on the intrigued taste buds. Like all good shows, ends with a big finish. If there ever was a wine to go with BBQ spareribs, this is it, to my (admittedly subjective) way of thinking.
Toastiness from wood is clear on the nose. On the palate, the overwhelming flavor is artificial apple candy with a very light spritz of lemon. The finish has a lingering chemical taste. This wine scored two out of five points at the Palate Press Grand Tasting. Imported by Cape Classics.
Tasting this Chablis-style (unwooded) Chardonnay ignited an instant craving for oysters, scallops, and any other sea creature that comes from a shell. The searing acidity, crisp citrus fruit, green apple and peach are balanced with a round full mouth feel from time on the lees and a striking flinty minerality. Consume this wine no cooler than 60 degrees. It is the perfect wine for your ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) friends to remind them why this wonderful grape, unencumbered by butter, vanilla, and spice, is a treasure to savor.
The first thing you notice about this wine is the intense dark, almost inky color. It is a hint of the richness and opulence to come. The single lot of four classic Portuguese cultivars, all planted in 1965, are “field blended,” as they are hand harvested at the same time. The result is a smooth, rich, round, well integrated wine of berries and spice. Perfect with dark chocolate, stinky cheeses, or just a good book by a warm fire.
Clear, bright, medium straw yellow. Fine bubbles cascade up the glass. The nose is clean with medium intensity aromas of lemon, chalk, biscuit, cooked yellow apple, and yellow cherries. This is a dry wine with a full mousse, and large fleeting bubbles on the palate. It has medium-high acidity, medium body, medium alcohol (11.5%) and flavors of bright citrus, grapefruit, lemon, and green apple. The finish is long and creamy, and leaves a taste of salted caramel in the mouth. A good wine, especially for the suggested retail price. Pair with a salad with fresh fruit, grilled white peaches, roasted sole, or white chocolate truffles with black sea salt.