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south africa


Blaauwklippen 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Coastal Region) – Sweet and lightly tropical, but far too bland and easy. Characterless.

Predator, prey

[lion’s head]He sits directly in my path, staring. There’s no way to get around him, and going through him is beyond consideration, considering the multiple sharp, hooked weapons he’s carrying…including the one pointed directly at me. His head rotates…left, right, left again…and then he re-fixes his gaze on me as he lets out a low ululation. A warning, perhaps. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Eventually, his lids droop, and he seems to fall into a wary semi-slumber. Or is he just faking it? Maybe I can step over him, if I move quickly…

…continued here.

Meet Cluver

[label]Paul Cluver 2007 Weisser Riesling “Noble Late Harvest” (Elgin) – This wine is so regularly impressive that I wonder if I’ll be able to hold any long enough to explore its maturity curve. All the elements for aging seem to be there: tight, focused granite-like minerality in columnar form, sharp fruit, vibrant acidity, and a long, glowing finish. Even in this ultra-primary form, the wine is a powerful expression of botrytized riesling. (5/09)

Moen & Groen

[vineyard]Neil Ellis 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Groenekloof) – Vibrant metallic green of a more pine-like hue. There’s grass, capsicum, and nerve, but there’s also a cold, rocky minerality. Not quite as precise as the previous vintage, but still clearly delineated. (5/09)

It’s an unfair kop

Kanonkop 1993 Pinotage (Stellenbosch) – Corked. Oddly, this is something no one (including me) realizes the night the wine’s first opened, though it’s apparent on day two, and completely obvious by day three. A shame. (4/09)

Paul Weiss(er)

[label]Paul Cluver 2007 Weisser Riesling “Noble Late Harvest” (Elgin) – 375 ml. Dense. Spiced honey and thyme. Powerfully sweet, but with the balance and underlying precision to support it. Really impressive, perhaps even surprisingly so. I’m eager to see what’s in this wine’s future. (4/09)