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….
Pale straw colored with medium intensity aromas of tangerine, pear, yellow apple and persimmon. The palate is dry with high acidity and medium (+) body. The flavors I get are very interesting- mandarin oranges, soft pear, yellow apple and passion fruit. There is a medium length finish that turns a bit bitter, like almond seed. I like the fact that is is labelled as an unwooded wine, allowing the purity and character of the varietal to shine. For $15 this 89 point wine gets 4 stars from me. I’m at the beach so a seafood pairing is obvious. Salut….
Medium lemon/lime colored- this South African Sauvignon Blanc has characteristic aromas of cut grass, gooseberry, lemon and grapefruit. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and distinct flavors of the aforementioned aromas. The body is medium (-) and the wine finishes long with a tart crispness. It’s delicious stuff that makes me want to keep sipping. 88 points from me make this $10 wine a surefire 5 star effort to drink in the short term with seafood, perhaps a poached chicken salad or even grilled salmon. Very refreshing in the summer heat. Salut….
Medium lemon/lime color. Pronounced aromas of papaya, pineapple, ripe pear, honeysuckle, stone and guava. Dry palate with medium (+) acidity and medium body. The tropical fruit and crispness/minerality of this wine are delicious. The finish is medium in length and I’m really enjoying the mouthfeel. Really yummy, especially chilled on this hot summer’s day. We are grilling jumbo prawns on a bed of crisp salad. Drink now. 90 points for this $18 effort makes it a 5 star wine. Ps. this varietal is also known as Steen in South Africa. Salut….
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….