Browse Tag

walker bay

Right cross

Southern Right 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Walker Bay) – A little bit aged, just to see what happens. More age might be helpful, but 3+ years (it’s a southern hemisphere wine, after all) are not indicated as peak maturity here, based on this bottle’s performance. It’s still sauvignon blanc, and in fact it’s a little more European in style than the bite and snarl of its more youthful past, but there’s no corollary development of tertiary aromas. I have more, so we’ll see what actual aging brings. I suspect, though, that as with most South African wines of either color, development-rich aging is not in the cards. (6/11)

Southern Right 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Walker Bay) – An experiment in aging, and I think I can pretty confidently identify the failure of the experiment. It tastes like too-old sauvignon blanc, quickly overwhelmed by pyrazines and acrid sweat, leaving grating acidity in the wake of its rapidly-retreating fruit. I thought there was a chance that some of the underlying verve would amount to something in a few years, but if there are sauvignon blancs worth aging in South Africa (and there might be), this isn’t one of them. (9/11)

From wrong

Southern Right 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Walker Bay) – Fading. I think that’s what’s happening, rather than closure, because along with the watered-down aromatics and thinner palate there’s also a diminution of body, which would usually be more persistent were the wine in a holding or development pattern. What’s left is some basic varietal character, pea-green and snappy, with fair acidity and some lingering minerality. But this has fallen quite a long way in one short year, and the future doesn’t seem promising. (4/11)


Southern Right 2006 Pinotage (Walker Bay) – After a little age, the shiny plastic edge to the tannin (sometimes identified as rubber, which I can also see) is a little more prominent, spine-ing from the structure like a really gruesome injury. The rest, though, is progressing into a darker, angrier fruit stage that’s kinda interesting. I don’t know if this is made for the long haul or not, but I’m determined to find out. I don’t think it will convince dedicated pinotage haters, but it’s no more disjointed than many perfectly acceptable nebbiolos, for example. (12/10)

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)

Galpin ghost

[barrels]Bouchard Finlayson 1998 Pinot Noir Galpin Peak (Walker Bay) – Soft fruit, grey minerality, drying structure, and a keening sweet-fruited character that is, for me, often found in New World pinots as they develop. It’s balanced, but showing indications of fading, and there’s no sign of the lovely autumnal complexity that makes aged pinot so compelling. Good, but just barely hanging on to that status. (11/08)


[cave]Bouchard Finlayson 2003 “Hannibal” (Walker Bay) – A very strange blend: 52% sangiovese, 24% pinot noir, 11% nebbiolo, 9% mourvèdre, and 4% barbera. Only in the New World, eh? I suppose all those grapes contribute something, and with enough study their contributions do become individually apparent, but the problem isn’t so much that the whole is less than the sum of its parts (though I think it is), but rather that the mathematics haven’t been left to their own devices, and instead have been forced into a high-volume attempt at showstopping that deafens rather than seduces. There’s a heavy, heated, porty character that characterizes the wine…overly-intense dark black, blue, and purple fruit with a thick-browed texture…and despite the varietal hodgepodge it tastes very much like some of California’s most extravagantly syrah-like pinots. That’s not a compliment, in my book, but those with contrasting tastes may want to take note. (11/08)

Right of way

Southern Right 2007 Pinotage (Walker Bay) – The usual black fruit explosion, but with a bit more varnish than usual; with “age” (he says, sarcastically) this wine’s varietal characteristics are coming to the fore. It’s still quite good, and better than most expressions of pinotage, but I guess there’s only so much lipstick one can apply. (10/08)

Don’t kill the whale

Southern Right 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Walker Bay) – Classic lemon-lime and grapefruit in a hue several shades darker than the norm, with a bit of sweat and toil lingering about the perimeter, and a lot of persistence on the finish. This clearly has designs on levels above its pay grade, but given that it’s sauvignon blanc I don’t know if it can meet them; it’s quite a drink now, though. (10/08)

Northern left

Southern Right 2006 Pinotage (Walker Bay) – This remains, by far, my favorite pinotage, with a burst of varnished dark berries given good structure and a spicy/floral jig of minor complexity. It should age, but it’s hard to avoid when it’s so eminently drinkable right now. Lovers of delicacy should look elsewhere, but then they probably shouldn’t be drinking pinotage in the first place.(5/08)

When you taste the Southern Right for the first time

Southern Right 2006 Pinotage (Walker Bay) – Big, explosive fruit that presses and shoves its way onto the palate. Dark berries and smokier chocolate notes are paired with the usual unfortunate furniture polish aromas, but here they’re more subversive than irritating, and seem to drift all the way into the background with food. I rather like this, though it’s no good as a cocktail. (2/08)

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