As the name implies- this is a very coffee-driven wine. Pinotage takes to heavily toasted oak barrels like a fish to water- this is where the winemaker can add the definitive coffee notes if they so choose. This particular bottle is a pale-to-medium ruby with a blue tinge (lower acid). On the nose I got pronounced aromas of coffee, some dark chocolate, tar, blackberry compote, forest floor and mulberry. My notes include a ‘fish?’ notation, might have been a passing moment. On the palate the wine has medium (-) acidity (remember the blue tinge?), medium (+) body and medium tannins. I noted it was quite earthy but the structural components made for a great mouthfeel and it ended with a decent length finish. For $13, this 89 point wine earns a respectable 4 stars from me and could pair nicely with Venison, BBQ, Pulled Pork or any other highly flavored dish. See my notes on the 2016 Barista. Drink till 2026. Salut….
I’m on a sweet wine roll, two in one day. This South African blend of Riesling/Viognier is a stunning deep gold color. The nose is right up my alley- rich aromas of dried apricot, honey, blood orange marmalade, candied pineapple, peach and a touch of lychee. Amazing, complex and very enticing. The palate is very sweet, unctuous and full bodied. Medium (+) acidity keeps this wine very balanced and I love the pronounced flavors. The honey component is taking center stage but I also get lively fresh fruit even though the Botrytis driven flavors are very present. At 163g/l of residual sugar, this is considered a luscious wine- and it is just that! At $20 for 375ml, it is a great dessert wine to have a few bottles of. 93 points from me for this 5 star wine to serve with a warm tart and ice cream. Salut….
A classic Bordeaux blend of 33% Cab Sav, 30% Petit Verdot, 11% Cab Franc, 10% Malbec and 6% Carménère from the Western Cape of South Africa. Deep ruby in color the wine has thin legs in the glass. On the nose I get lush, ripe aromas of blackberry, black currant and plum. Oak influence is evident with notes of cedar box and coconut, it is slightly herbaceous with some bell pepper but not overly so. The palate is dry with medium tannins and juicy acidity. The wine is medium bodied and not as jammy as the nose. Nice flavors of blackcurrant, plum, coconut, cedar and not so much pepper. The finish is medium length and certainly tart from the lingering acidity. The whole package is pretty balanced and drinks nicely now with another 4-5 years of cellaring possible. I would say the palate is a bit of a letdown from the nose- I was hoping for full throttle, getting only 75%. Overall it’s a decent drop that gets 90 points from me and for $20 it’s a no-brainer to stock up on. 5 stars, similar to the 2017 KWV Mentors I drank recently. Salut….
Inky and opaque is this Bordeaux blend. On the nose I am treated to a melange of cassis, plums, blackberry and delicious oak. The palate is exactly what I was hoping for- rich, warm and layered with all those black fruits, very integrated tannins and a mound of acidity. This wine is very powerful and thick with fruit flavors, balancing doses of tannin and acidity and just the right amount of wood to make it very pleasing. The mid palate gets quite a bit more focused on the structure of the wine- the acidity really playing hell with my jaw and the tannins really starting to grip. If you’re looking for an unabashed wine that will pair well with game, grilled Ribeyes or a heavy pasta dish- this is it. The finish reminds me of young Claret, the fruit being masked by the power of the structural components. It will cellar nicely till 2030. 92 points from me for this $22 stunner that gets 5 stars. Salut….
We were over at our South African friend’s house for dinner and the hostess pulled this unfortified dessert gem out. I was not in much of a state to make notes, but I did scratch these down: Nose is unique- lanolin, beeswax, lemon curd, and turmeric. Orange marmalade and apricot jam are the key components on the palate. The finish is mid length, more orange notes yet the curry component still lingers. It is truly bizarre yet somewhat intriguing. I enjoyed it and appreciated the nuances of variety, the terroir differences and the subtle changes in style. 89 points from me and without any pricing info it’s hard to give it points. This Chenin Blanc is tasty and will pair beautifully with some Blue Cheese, Creme Brûlée or even some chocolate eclairs! Salut….
I’m always on the lookout for new stuff. I love Pinotage, finding it rather unique and somewhat inconsistent in flavor profiles between producers. That is not necessarily bad, it just adds to the different variations I can try of a unique to SA grape, grown in a rather limited geographical area.
This one is medium depth purple in the glass. The nose is delicious. Just what I was hoping for when I purchased this $17 bottle. Tar, violets, plum and that rubber smell that squarely denotes Pinotage. The palate is very rich, warm and full bodied. It gives off mocha, chocolate dust, star anise, blackberry, creosote and plum on the palate. Tannins are very refined, subdued and well integrated. The acidity is on pointe, not overbearing. The finish is medium in length and consists of mainly plum and that tar component I seek in this varietal. Good stuff! I am drinking this by itself but would pair it with roast chicken, wild game, steak and moussaka. I am going with 89 points and 4 stars. I have to disagree with the 86 point rating it got from one trade magazine, this wine belongs in my cellar for the short to medium term, drinking till 2022. Salut….
A gift from friends, I was not expecting anything- but was pleasantly surprised. This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Viognier that lives up to its name. Very chocolatey on the nose and palate. The mocha just kept coming. A rather steep 14.5% alcohol did not bother me as the wine is balanced with excellent fine grained tannins that has a nice long finish. Very dark in the glass, there is a full-bodied feel to this wine, my style. An interesting blend of grapes from the Western Cape, this winery made 765 barrels. I would say 5 stars, just because it is well made, is interesting and has cellaring potential. I’m not sure what flavors will emerge eventually, but it’s sure to be good. 91 points.