Languedoc flavours in South Africa
A recent tasting of wines from South Africa focussed on wines from independent wine merchants. Each merchant chose the wines that they particularly wanted to show, which included several wines based on southern French grape varieties. So this is what I tasted, with some familiar and some new, to me, names.
Cape Wine and Food:
2018 Muratie Melck’s Blended Red, Stellenbosch - £15.50 14.5°
An intriguing blend of Bordeaux and the south with 36% Shiraz, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 11% Mourvèdre
The colour was quite evolved, and on the nose, there were dry leathery notes, with more flesh on the palate, with rounded leathery fruit.
2012 Barton Vineyards Shiraz Cabernet, Walker Bay - £12.99 14°
70% Shiraz, with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Good colour, with some development. Quite a dense leathery nose, with some oaky notes. And a nicely evolved palate, rounded and supple, with peppery cassis fruit and satisfying length. Good value for a wine that is 10 years old.
2019 Villion Syrah, Western Cape 14.2°- £17.99
In fact, a blend of 85% Shiraz, 7% Viognier, 6% Grenache, 2% Mourvèdre
Medium colour. Quite a rounded cassis nose. And on the palate some ripe perfumed black fruit, with a supple streak of tannin. Nicely balanced.
I have not come across this merchant before but they are sSuth African specialists, with 75% of their list coming from the Cape.
2020 Noble Hill Winery Estate, Coastal Region 13°- £15.95
A blend of 35% Grenache Blanc, 30% Chenin Blanc, 30% Marsanne, 5% Viognier
Medium colour. Quite a rich, leafy herbal honeyed nose, with lots of nuances. And the same on the palate. Nicely rounded. An original blend which works well.
Cellar Door Wines, St Albans
2021 Waterkloof Cape Coral Mourvèdre Rosé, Stellenbosch, 13°- £13.95
Pure Mourvèdre. Light colour. Quite fresh fruit on nose and palate. A rounded palate with a crisp streak of freshness. Did this remind me of Bandol rosé?
2019 Reyneke Syrah, Stellenbosch 13°- £17.50
Medium colour. Quite a firm nose. Medium weight palate with some leathery note. A bit sweet and sour, and less harmonious than some.
Frontier Fine Wines
2021 Rustenberg Muscat, Calitzdorp – 16.5°- £11.50
Light colour. Perfumed nose and palate, with a touch of satisfying bitterness on the finish. It could certainly give Muscat de Rivesaltes a run for its money!
Great Grog, Edinburgh
2020 Percheron Old Vine Cinsault, Western Cape 14.5° £7.89
Light colour. Delicate fragrant red fruit on the nose and palate. Lightly perfumed with a dry finish. A lovely example of the grape variety. and great value for money.
Harrogate Fine Wine
Miles Mossop chapter One Cinsault, Swartland 12.5°- £19.99
Quite alight colour. Quite rounded perfumed fruit on the nose and palate. Lightweight palate, with fruit and elegance and a slightly sweet finish.
2018 Bouchard Finlayson Hannibal, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 14°- £25.99
A wonderful concoction of 42% Sangiovese, 17% Nebbiolo, 15% Pinot Noir, 12% shiraz, 7% Mourvèdre and 7% Barbera. Not much Midi influence here, but I could not resist including it, for such an intriguing blend.
Medium colour. Quite firm sour cherries on the nose and palate, reminiscent of Sangiovese from Tuscany. Some rounded supple tannins and a streak of Italian astringency. Wonderfully original.
Blackwater Omerta, Swartland 13.5°- £35.50
Pure Carignan, the only one at the tasting. Medium colour. Quite a firm nose. Quite solid oak on the palate. I found that the oak masked the Carignan fruit and freshness, and the tannins were quite solid. Sorry, not for me.
2017 Hartenberg Shiraz, Stellenbosch 14.5°- £19.99
Pure Shiraz. Medium colour. Quite rounded spice on nose and palate. Ripe with supple tannins. Medium weight and beginning to evolve nicely.
2019 Boekenhoutskloof Syrah, Swartland 13.95°- £41.99
Young colour. Quite a dense nose. Sweet and ripe. Some peppery notes. Supple tannins. Lower alcohol than some.
Mumbles Fine Wine
2018 De Morgenzon Maestro white, Stellenbosch, 14°- £20.20
An eclectic blend of 38% Roussanne, 26% Chenin blanc, 22% Grenache Blanc, 8% Viognier and 6% Marsanne
Light colour. Rounded nose with a hint of peachiness. Quite a ripe palate with soft acidity; supple and mouth filling, a hint of honey and the peachy notes of Viognier. Perfumed fruit with lots of nuances.
2018 Ernie Els Big Easy Blend, Stellenbosch 14.5°- £18.95
60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% each of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Viognier
Medium colour. Some red fruit on the nose, with some pepper and cassis on the palate, with some balancing tannin. Quite fresh and definitely an easy drinking red. Very appealing.
2020 Stark-Conde Field Blend, Jonkershoek, 13° £22.99
A blend of 54% Roussanne, 28% Chenin blanc, 9% Verdelho and 9% viognier
A little colour. Quite peachy on the palate – a small amount of Viognier does make quite an impact. Quite fresh and pithy on the palate, with nuances of honey and acidity. Very intriguing.
Perold Wine Cellar www.peroldwinecellar.co.
2017 KWV Mentors Perold, Coastal Region 14.5°- £69.95
A blend of 34% Pinotage, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Shiraz, 8% Malbec, 2% Petite Sirah
Abraham Izak Perold was known as the father of Pinotage, a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, and his great grandson, Gerhard runs this business that concentrates on the wines of South Africa.
A very intriguing blend. Deep colour. Ripe nose, with leathery notes and red fruit. Lots of nuances on the palate. Some balancing tannin, with supple flavours and cedary notes. A wine you need to linger over rather than taste in a crowd.
2019 Idun Confessions Grenache, Elgin Valley, 13°- £23.50
Quite a light colour, as you would expect from a pure Grenache noir. Quite cherry nose and palate, with a little weight on the palate. Quite sturdy fruit, rounded with some dry tannins. Not as fragrant as some Grenache, but the only pure Grenache in the tasting.
2018 Kloovenburg Shiraz, Swartland, 14°- £17.00
Good colour. Quite a rounded solid nose and palate. Some leathery notes, and some cassis to balance. Quite a ripe finish.
Stone, Vine & Son
2021 Piekenierskloof Grenache Blanc, Piekenierskloof, 12.5°- £12.50
Light colour. Quite a rounded nose. A textured palate, quite lightweight with herbal notes and some delicate nuances of flavour. An elegant finish. Good varietal character, without packing a punch. The same producer also makes a very convincing Tannat, the grape variety of Madiran.
2019 Koelfontein Shiraz, Ceres, 14.5°- £17.95
Pure Shiraz. Deep colour. Quite firm and leathery on both nose and palate. Some dry leathery fruit. Medium weight.
Theatre of Wine
2019 Natte Valleij Darling Cinsault Darling, 13° - £18.50
Light red. Very perfumed red fruit on the nose and rounded supple fruit on the palate. Ripe and fresh. Would be delicious served slightly chilled.
2017 Waterkloof Circumstance Mourvèdre, Stellenbosch, 13.5°- £17.50
Medium colour. Quite a firm nose. Quite solid rounded red fruit, with a streak of tannin. Beginning to evolve nicely.
2020 Thorne & Daughters ‘Wanderer’s Heart Cape Red Bland, Western Cape, 13.5°- £23.99
A GSM blend, 41% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 29% Mourvèdre. Medium colour. Quite solid red fruit on the nose. And on the palate rounded and ripe with some tannin and a little oak. Would benefit from some bottle age.
Southern flavours at Justerini & Brooks
A postscript to the wines above. J & B hosted a tasting recently of wines from South Africa as well as Spain and Portugal, so as is my wont, I concentrated on the grape varieties of the south. And again, made some good discoveries.
Lucas van Loggerenberg
2020 Geronimo Cinsault - £24.08
Quite a light colour. Very perfumed nose. Cherry fruit on both nose and palate, with some acidity but then a slightly jammy note on the finish.
2020 Graft Syrah - £32.68
Good colour. Quite a firm nose. Quite peppery, with some fresh acidity as well as tannin. Youthful with potential.
Wolf & Woman
2020 Grenache Blanc Voor-Paardeberg - £19.68
Light colour. Quite rounded nose and palate. Quite honeyed. Nicely leesy with ripe fruit, Balanced with good depth. Good varietal character.
2021 Grenache Rose, Swartland - £12.68
Pale colour. Quite a fragrant nose. A fresh dry palate with some raspberry fruit and acidity. Medium weight.
2021 Syrah, Swartland - £25.68
Bright young colour. Quite rounded and perfumed and peppery. Ripe fruit with a streak of tannin on the finish. Only just bottled with plenty of potential.
David & Nadia
2019 Grenache, Swartland - £26.68
Light colour. Quite fresh red fruit. Lightly fleshy; quite elegant with a tannic streak. Very appealing.
Grenache Blanc - £21.68
Light colour. Rich leafy leesy nose and palate. Lemony, leafy herbal notes. Very satisfying texture. Good mouthfeel and weight. I liked this a lot.
2020 Cinsault - £21.68
Light red, perfumed red fruit, cherries on nose and palate. Elegant fragrant with a dry finish.
2021 Syrah - £21.68
Whole bunch pressing. Aged in concrete tanks. Quite firm peppery fruit on nose and palate. Youthful and fresh with a tannic streak. Great potential.
2020 Syrah, Ava - £52.68
Quite a deep colour. Quite firm nose with tight knit fruit and on the palate quite sturdy youthful fruit, quite tannic and tight knit, with plenty of potential. There were so many people at the tasting that it was impossible to obtain more information as to the differences between the two wines.