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Announcement: tasting notes have permanently migrated elsewhere. This page and its sub-network will stand for a while, and will always be Google-accessible, but that's where the new action is and will be.

w h i t e

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)

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)

Kanu 2004 Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch) – Simple, off-dry melon and filtered stone fruit with the faintest suggestion of wax. Quaffing wine. (9/06)

Cluver 2005 Gewurztraminer (Elgin) – Some of the right varietal notes – peach, rose petal, some vague nods in the direction of spice – but half the orchestra’s missing, as this is thin and watery, with masking sugar and a completely void finish. (8/06)

Kanu 2005 Sauvignon Blanc (Stellenbosch) – Fruity, semi-zippy and light, with an intensely green-fruited character feathered by grass. It’s fairly monotone, but it’s a nice enough quaff. (8/06)

Kanu 2004 Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch) – Softly enticing, with hints of chalk dusting subdued pineapple, apricot and Meyer lemon flavors. A lovely, simple summer sipper. Just a bit off-dry, but it comes off as more of a softening element, rather than actual sweetness. (6/06)

Talana Hill 2003 Chardonnay Paradyskloof (Stellenbosch) – For a chardonnay, this isn’t bad at all: ripe red berries and Calimyrna fig. Pretty. (4/06)

r o s é

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

r e d

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Goats Do Roam 2003 “Goat-Roti” (Western Cape) – Big, obvious dried blackberry and synthetic leather with tarred wood and rosemary squeezings. It’s exceedingly heavy, but somehow manages to lack structure. There’s nothing overtly wrong with this wine, but it’s not very interesting either. (9/06)

s w e e t  ,  f o r t i f i e d  &  u n u s u a l

Darling Cellars “Onyx” 2002 “Noble Late Harvest” (Groenekloof) – Beautiful old honey and nut paste in a toasty-spicy cream. Extremely sweet, though buoyed by a fair sense of acidity, with rich sunset browns, oranges and golds lingering on the succulent finish. Gorgeous. (8/06)

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