Browse Tag

south africa

What is morgen on?

de Morgenzon 2006 Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch) – Heavy, leaden, dead from gravity and then necromanced with wood. While it will never be my favorite thing to do to chenin blenc, this cellar treatment can work in producing a fruity-but-internationalized wine. But it didn’t work here. Everything decent and appealing in the wine has been beaten to death, then reanimated and beaten a second time. (6/10)

Wesley Krusher

Kanonkop 2008 “Kadette” (Stellenbosch) – I find Kanonkop’s wines quite impressive, especially their pinotage and Paul Sauer blend, but this is the outlier. It’s OK, but really no more than that. Big, big, big fruit, with that strappy, paint/varnish pinotage character – missing from their varietal bottling – on full display, and obliterating any appeal that might otherwise be lent by the other grapes in the blend. It’s not awful or anything, but I don’t really see the point to it, other than a way to slough off lesser product to preserve the quality of the upper-tier bottlings. (5/10)

A real groener

Neil Ellis 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Groenekloof) – Driven and slightly pushed sauvignon, which ramps up the mineral and green components alike. There’s nothing underripe about this wine, which tends more toward apple than herb, and so it can handle the escalation of volume. A very solid wine. (5/10)

John Colt

Beaumont 2008 Chenin Blanc (Walker Bay) – Heavy, slurpy, and ham-handed. Yellow fruit and overdriven yellow tomato, thick and unstructured, with a whack of alcohol on the finish. This is the absolute opposite of how I thought Walker Bay would express chenin. Huh. (5/10)

Digital Mystikz

de Morgenzon “DMZ” 2008 Chardonnay (South Africa) – Sticky vinyl, soupy imitation butterscotch, bleary-eyed booziness. Awful. (4/10)

North & South

de Morgenzon “DMZ” 2008 Shiraz (South Africa) – Big, goopy, dull-witted, and not even reaching simplicity as the opposite of complexity. This is very poor. (4/10)


Klein Constantia 2007 Riesling (Constantia) – Intense but not delivering on all its promises. Chalky minerals and sun-heated whitewash, very dry “fruit” remnants, a fair bit of weight, and good structure. But it doesn’t go much of anywhere. (4/10)

Saam like it hot

[landscape]Saam Mountain 2008 Chenin Blanc Middelburg (Paarl) – Full of the bright, round, yellow fruit that I’ve found is (happily) almost unavoidable in bargain chenins from South Africa. It’s clean, with a bit of spice and barely-fair acidity, though more of the latter would be welcome. Drinkable enough. (10/09)

Forrester research

[bottle]Ken Forrester 2006 Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch) – South Africa is full of sunny, inexpensive chenin that expresses a round, fat-faced fruit that’s absolutely irresistible, and also of overly-ambitious oaked versions that manage to be more interesting than most similarly-constructed New World chardonnays, but perhaps aren’t the best use of chenin blanc. Very, very few wines straddle a middle ground, but here’s one, and it’s a beauty. Richer than it would be from the Loire, and youthfully simple, but with familiar honey, chalk, wax, and quinine at a nudged-up volume, yet balanced and pure. I’ve had this with a little age (albeit from younger vines), and the expected characteristics of aging chenin were indeed on display, to the wine’s benefit. I have high hopes for this wine. (1/10)