Our second Cab Franc at tasting #27 was this much more restrained version from S.A. Our first foray into the varietal was a powerhouse Chinon. This wine was more elegant and softer- beginning with the medium ruby color in the glass. On the nose the group found aromas of lavender, violets, blackberry leaf, blueberry, cherry (cola), black pepper, creamy coffee (froth), caramel and a medicinal note as well as a touch of cough syrup (?). The palate was dry and we debated the acidity- High was the consensus. Lush, nicely integrated tannins led to a medium bodied wine with lovely flavors of blackberry leaf, lavender, vanilla, violets, and that medicinal note. A medium (-) finish took off a point or two from me yet I love this wine. 91 points for a $45 wine makes it a 4 star effort to drink till 2026 with Steak au Poivre. 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….
We wound up the 26th Virtual Wine tasting event with this Cabernet blend from Afrique de Sud. Following the blockbuster Anwilka was no easy task but as soon as I smelled this deep ruby beaut I mentioned to the group that they were going to love it. I was not wrong.
At 7 years of age this wine is starting to show tertiary aromas of funk, barnyard, leather, cigar box and cassis alongside the primal blackberry, licorice, mint and Sarsaparilla. I thought it was a spectacular array of aromas- very complex. On the palate this wine was super smooth with very well integrated tannins, medium acidity, medium body and a medium length finish. The flavors were yummy- plum, blackberry, cassis, leather, milk chocolate, lavender and smoke. A beautifully melded package of wine components that is drinking at peak now and needs to be consumed by 2025. I awarded it 19/20 and will go with 93 points. $50 gets you a taste of this 5 star effort. I would pair it with braised leg of lamb or a Moroccan Tagine. Salut….
This blend, based on Syrah, was brooding in the glass. Deep ruby, opaque AF and sporting a 14% ABV. Our Virtual Wine Tasting group found it to be funky with pepper, smoked meat, blackcurrant jam, prune, black licorice, Sambucca and an earthy component. On the palate we agreed that this was a very tannic wine- still too young with aerating/decanting a must. Medium (-) acidity, medium (+) body and a medium length finish. Flavors of Maraschino and Luxardo cherries were evident, as was Espresso, Lapsang Souchong tea, pepper and blackcurrants. This was not a crowd favorite but I did mention to the group that it’s a very complex wine that needs more time to open up and allow the fruit to shine through the tannic veil. I will re-taste over the next few days. From me this is blockbuster gets 19/20 VWTC points and technically speaking- 92 pts. At $60 one might me hesitant to pop-n-pour but some extra cellaring will make this wine shine. 5 stars with a drinking window of 2024-2030. It needs a juicy Ribeye or Prime Rib with horseradish. 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….
My wine tasting group has not tried Pinotage yet, so I though it would be appropriate to introduce this unique South African varietal to them. Spier is well known and produces several different cuvees, ranging from the lighter everyday wines to blockbuster collectables. This one is middle of the road and offers a glimpse into the style of wine that can be enjoyed over time. Quite brooding and inky it has a funky nose with forest floor, tar, licorice, fresh cut wood, plantain, creamy coffee, Sel Gris and blackberry. On the palate it exhibited textbook flavors of coffee, blackberry, Rooibos tea, baked raspberry, blueberry, acetate and raisin. The word jammy was used. Tannins were medium as was the acidity. This cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault is much darker and intense than either of its parents, which surprised many in the group. Overall it was well received and got 91 points from me. We paid $36 per bottle making it a 5 star effort that can be drunk now or cellared till 2026. Salut….
Another of my mate Johnny’s wines, this was a stunner. Simply breathtaking. A Bordeaux Blend with depth, richness and staying power. Deep purple in the glass with a rich and layered nose of gorgeous cassis, mint, stewed blackcurrants, cooked blueberry, coffee, smoke and cloves. Stunning. On the palate it is full bodied with well melded tannins, good acidity and complexity with flavors of blackberry, mint, tar, oak by way of smoke, clove and a medicinal note. There’s a touch of bitterness on the back end to remind me that the tannins are still young. This wine is well developed but has years ahead with potential for tertiary development. I’m excited to have tried it and wish I could get more to watch for development. 93 points and at $45 it’s a 5 star effort. Drink till 2028. Well done! Salut….
I enjoy Pinotage quite a bit. It’s a grape that was created by cloning Pinot Noir and Cinsault. This one is semi opaque and a lovely shade of purple in the glass. The nose gives me chocolate, espresso bean and blackberry. On the palate it is very fruity with black currants, black cherry and dare I say- coffee. There is a richness to this wine that I am really enjoying, full bodied with rounded tannins and good acidity. The mid palate goes old school with some smoke, dust, jerky and brooding dark fruit. I am missing the acetone flavors I normally associate with this varietal, it’s kind of unique. The back end is dry, dusty and has nice tannins to finish. I like this wine and would pair it with almost any meat dish, perhaps even pasta. 89 points from me with a drink till 2025 window. At $21 it gets 3 stars. Salut….
Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It was cultivated in 1925 in South Africa, where it is the signature grape. This one is bright purple in the glass and is 75% opaque. The nose has black cherry, red licorice and a hint of Hoisin. The palate is textbook- tar, black cherry, blackberry and a medicinal hint. The tannins are very prominent right off the bat, coating my gums with dry grit. The mid palate offers additional flavors of mocha, espresso and more black fruit. The finish is appealing with a shot of acidity that rights the ship, bringing the tannins back in line. The flavor profile changes somewhat to a more red-fruit driven one, think sour cherries but with a minerality. The finish is decent in length and the tannic structure of this wine asks for a fatty cut of meat. My pairing is going to be Braised Lamb Shanks with sautéed Swiss chard and boiled carrots. 88 points for this wine that will drink till 2026. At $23, it gets 3 stars from me. Salut….
Pinotage is an interesting grape to me. I’m excited for this South African wine that is bright purple in the glass and semi opaque. On the nose it has telltale tar and blackberry notes. The palate is rich with sweet blackberries, bramble, earthy dust and that tar component I get so often with this varietal. The mid palate has some cola, sassafras and more black fruit. It’s got lithe tannins that build but never overtake the fruit. There’s a nice acidity but it’s not overly done. The earthiness of this wine is something to behold, it’s got a gamey note to boot. I really like the way it finishes with a flurry of different flavors wrapped in an easy drinking package. The structure encourages short term drinking so get popping. I’m paring it with leftover Kebabs and fried potatoes. 90 points for this $20 gem make it a 5 star wine for me! Salut….