Opaque, deep purple colored with slow moving legs (14% ABV). The nose has aromas of dark plum, black cherry, purple licorice and a touch of smoke and coffee. The palate is dry with medium (-) acidity and bold tannins that cover my cheeks. Flavors of black cherry, blackberry and black plum with coffee and smoke on the back end. There is a touch of bitterness on the finish showing perhaps some greeness in the tannins? Full bodied with a medium finish, this is going to pair well with my grilled Tri-tip and Boerewors sausage. Not overly complex or rich, it is tasty and easygoing wine with short term cellaring capacity. I would drink this 87 pointer till 2025 and for $13 it’s a 4 star effort to stock up on for barbecues and parties. Salut….
Part of our New Year’s Eve lineup, this iconic sweet dessert wine from South Africa is a deep gold color. The nose blows me away with intense aromas of honey, Soursop (aka Guanabana), mango, apricot, quince and orange marmalade. The palate is sweet and silky with medium acidity and a full body. Ripe flavors of apricot, quince, mango candied ginger and soursop are enveloped with honey and white flower notes. Unctuous without being cloying, this is a delicious yet young wine that slips down so easily. The finish is long and silky with richness and a hint of almond to go along with the apricots and marmalade. A stunning wine that runs $63 per 500ml bottle. It gets north of 97 points from the pro’s. I would have to agree. Drinking window…. I love it now but will savor the other bottles I have over a period of time, till 2045 if you are patient. 5 stars for this Muscat of Frontignan varietal. Stunning. Salut….
Medium ruby colored with fast moving legs (14% ABV). The nose pops out at me with chocolate and coffee. Dark plum, blackberry, açaí berry and a green herb note follow. The palate is dry with medium acidity, medium tannins and a medium body. Pinotage is a bit of a chameleon grape- shifting flavors and aromas dependent on oak treatment. This one has a lot of chocolate and some coffee that are straight out of the barrel. Black fruit plays second fiddle- not that I’m complaining. The green herb note hits on the back end. The finish is a semi dry, tart affair that lasts medium length. This is a unique wine that I am really going to enjoy with roasted duck and orange sauce. It gets 89 points from me and for $14 it’s worthy of 5 stars- get a bottle or two. Drink till 2028. Salut….
Deep, opaque purple colored with thick slow-moving legs (14.5% ABV). The nose excites me- rich black cherry, pencil shavings, bell pepper, garigue and açaí berry compote. The palate is dry with medium (+) acidity and very smooth medium tannins. It’s a medium to full-bodied wine that has flavors corresponding to the nose plus a bit of spice box and tobacco. A medium length finish rounds this delicious single varietal wine up nicely. I like it- 93 points and for $20 this is a steal of a 5-star effort to drink till 2025. I’m pairing mine with a combo Cottage/Shepards Pie (one side with beef the other side with lamb). Salut….
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….