Browse Tag

south africa

Right or wrong

[label]Southern Right 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Walker Bay) – Vivid, powerful sauvignon that nudges up against the lower barrier of stridency. Lashings of green-white fruit whip and slash the palate, with the sort of acidity intense enough to dry like tannin. This is very, very good, but it’s definitely an attention hog. (9/07)

The fontein of youth

[label]Diemersfontein 2003 Pinotage (Wellington) – Dense and ultra-ripe pinotage, with little of the varnish and bitterness but lots of the strident, concentrated berry fruit (mostly blueberries and dark cherries, though there are crushed blackberry seeds in there as well), given a thick and oppressive layer of chocolate and new wood. I understand the desire to do this to bad pinotage, but it seems like there was a pretty nice wine here, and the overt internationalization seems a waste of good raw materials. It’s a very good wine for those who like this style. I don’t. (7/07)

More than a Hamilton

[bottle]Hamilton Russell 2005 Pinot Noir (Walker Bay) – Very, very large-scaled. It’s not that the fruit is overripe or the alcohol is prominent, and certainly this is recognizable as pinot, it’s just that the wine is massive. Also, there’s a thick, intrusive layer of oak doing its best to bury the fruit at the moment. There’s plenty of structure, and given the brilliance of their chardonnay I’m inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt, but it will unquestionably need plenty of age to make any sense of itself. (7/07)

TN: Burr & Bill

[bottle]Hamilton Russell 2005 Chardonnay (Walker Bay) – Confident, pristine and one of the most Burgundian chardonnays I’ve ever tasted from the New(ish) World. Icy stone fruit, fine acidity and a light brush-sweep of balanced wood complete an intense, but not overbearing, wine with a strongly glacial undercurrent. Really, really impressive. (7/07)

TN: Matisse

[label]Diemersdal “Matys” 2004 “Dry” Red (Durbanville) – Good, approachable red and black fruit, with a darker-toned juice component and some cedary aromatics. Supple, but not overly so, and it’s by no means unexpansive.. A fine value wine. (3/07)

TN: Aye, Matys

[bottle]Diemersdal 2004 “Matys” (Durbanville) – 28% merlot, 26% pinotage, 26% cabernet sauvignon, 20% shiraz. Every grape appears to contribute to this blend, which is a rarity, especially among New World-style wines. There’s a mélange of lightly-spiced red fruit under a summer sun, rivulets of more concentrated blueberry, a leathery texture that reveals some thyme, ripe-raspberry acidity, and a lithe structure carrying a stick of cinnamon/nutmeg oak incense. I don’t mean to oversell this wine, because it’s not really more than a pleasant afternoon sipper; a wine for drinking while the steaks are on the grill, rather than while they’re in the dining room. But there’s something to be said for a bottle that embraces its aspirations, and I think this is one. (2/07)

TN: South Africa (BWE notes)

[vineyard]Tasting notes from the Boston Wine Expo. These were difficult tasting conditions, where speed and distraction were the norm rather than the exception. Thus, notes are brief at best, somewhat superficial, and cannot in truth be otherwise.

Louisvale 2006 “Unwooded” Chardonnay (Western Cape) – Clean apple, clementine and tangerine. Decent. (2/07)

Avondale 2006 Chenin Blanc (Paarl) – Concentrated red cherry, blood orange with slightly noticeable residual sugar. Quite intense, with good acidity. Flavorful New World-style chenin. (2/07)

Springfontein 2006 Chenin Blanc (Walker Bay) – Green peach and white linen. Simple and soft. (2/07)

BWC 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Stellenbosch) – Gooseberry and thyme with a grassy undertone. Simple, fair. (2/07)

Avondale 2006 Rosé (Coastal) – Clean strawberry & raspberry leaves. Simple & fun. (2/07)

Amira 2004 Syrah (Coastal) – Bitter blueberry, dirt, and stems. No good. (2/07)

Vriesenhof 2003 “Enthopio” (Stellenbosch) – Rich, roasted frut and burnt soil with spice and crispness. Mostly pinotage. Both good and interesting. (2/07)

Morgenster 2001 (Stellenbosch) – Chocolate, cappuccino, black cherry, blackberry, and soft greenness. Low-tier potential at best, but it’s probably at its best now. It’s unquestionably better after a few hours of air. (2/07)

[view]Muratie 2003 Shiraz (Stellenbosch) – Cassis, black cherry and strawberry. A big-fruited, simple-minded wine. (2/07)

Springfontein 2005 Pinotage (Walker Bay) – Red cherry and raspberry with pine tar and a great acidic tingle. Ripe and quite good. (2/07)

Springfontein 2005 “Estate Reserve” (Walker Bay) – Herbs (mostly thyme), underripe but boisterous fruit, light tannin, and a soupy texture. Bleah. (2/07)

Springfontein 2005 “Ulumbaza” Shiraz (Walker Bay) – Big blueberry fruit, light spice, mild tannin and good acid. Everything’s front-loaded here, but it’s good in that idiom. (2/07)

Avondale 2006 Cabernet Franc (Paarl) – Rosemary, rough black earth, blueberry and pointy acidity. Eh. (2/07)

Avondale 2006 Pinotage (Paarl) – Soft, with big strawberry, apple, and medium-ripe plum with some tannin on the finish. Moderately OK. (2/07)

TN: Incoming!

Avondale 2006 “Jonty S Ducks” (South Africa) – If it’s supposed to be “Jonty’s Ducks,” the apostrophe is MIA and the “S” is capitalized. Anyway, this is a not-yet-released super-secret bottling, sort of, unless I heard the story wrong (which is possible). It’s big and woody, with broad-shouldered fruit in the dark berry realm, a leathery tannin texture, and fair balance all around. With enough air, the wood recedes a bit, and I expect both extended aeration and aging will help this wine. For those who love the New World style, all the elements are in place. (2/07)

TN: Star dishwasher

[vineyard]Morgenster 2001 (Stellenbosch) – I didn’t forget to type an identifier here…the wine just doesn’t actually have a “name” by the usual standards. It’s a Bordeaux-style blend, showing spiced mushrooms, nuts, and juicy/spicy blackberry froth. Good, though 2nd and 3rd-day tastes show rapid decline (and to be fair, the wine had been open for many hours before the first taste). A solid effort, but I don’t know that I’d risk aging it. The signs of New World obviousness abound, and those are the sorts of wines that last rather than age. (2/07)

TN: Roasted kid

[bottle]Goats do Roam 2003 “Goat-Roti” (Western Cape) – Big, hard black-green fruit with charred earth and sweet vanilla. Toasted and spoofed, this is a clumsy escalation of the much better “regular” Goats do Roam, full of furious oak and extraction, yet signifying nothing. (2/07)