Very dark purple in the glass. Bramble, creosote, black berries and blueberry jam on the nose. On the palate this is a tannic beast- full of dark fruits, young and brooding. It is laced with blackberries, toasty oak and mouth coating tannins. The midpalate has some telltale violets- the varietal shines thru. On the finish this wine offers black berries, more charred wood notes and those really grippy tannins. A touch young- it needs aerating or cellaring. Drink till 2027 with braised lamb, Moussaka or a thick steak. 91 points and 4 stars for this $40 Cab Franc. Salut….
Medium opacity, great purple color. On the nose creosote, blueberry, charcoal and plum jam. On the palate I get a darker fruit profile- blackberry, ripe plum. The mid palate hits me with cheek quenching tannins, not overly done- just makes me pucker a bit. The acidity also presents at the same moment. Intriguing to have my rear jowls hit by opposing forces. The finish gets me back to that mineral tone of creosote, perhaps some black olives, all tiptoeing around the tannic bite that crescendoed on the finish. An interesting wine that I am enjoying thoroughly. It’s needs meat though, pair it with game, lamb stew or something hearty. 91 points for this blend of 62% Pinotage, 22% Merlot, 12% Cab Sav and 4% Shiraz. Aerate for immediate enjoyment and drink till 2025. 5 stars for this $15 effort. Salut….
I have had two other wines from Vergelegen. Both were excellent so when I saw this Reserve offering I had to buy it! Medium intensity in the glass. Black currants, olive tapenade, charcoal and pencil on the nose. The palate has a ton of dark, ripe plums coupled with anise and violets. Rich and tannic, this wine has weight. The midpalate is all black currant. The grippy tannins don’t let go- all the way through the medium length finish. Dark fruits aplenty here. 91 points, drink till 2025. 5 stars again for this $22 bottle. Salut….
Picked this one up for $10 in Delaware, cause I was bored and wandered into a wine shop. I also happen to really like Pinotage. This one shows pretty light in the glass. It’s a pretty purple though. On the nose- textbook. Creosote, black fruit, earth and charred wood. On the palate, it is very fruity- plums, black berry and unique Kumquat note that I find very intriguing. An orange like testiness with some acidity to it. Very interesting. The mid palate has tons of that creosote flavor I associate with Pinotage. The tannins get a grip on the back end, but not overly so. The finish has an oak tinge to it along with black berry cobbler. A touch of vanilla rounds it all out. I must say, I really like this wine. It’s not very complex but it is really drinkable, is unique and is priced right. 88 points from me and 5 stars. It will pair well with the marinated Flap Steaks I have on the grill. Salut….
Given to me by a good mate from South Africa, I have been holding on to this one for the right time. It shows very rich purple in the glass. A 70% Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% each Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it is a classical Bordeaux blend. The nose is a little muted, probably because I just pulled it out of the 55 degree cellar. I have managed to coax black cherry, ribena and toasty oak after several swirls. The palate is very smooth, rich plum ganache and black cherry reduction greet me with some somewhat pointy tannins. The wine has a definite wood profile, but is not over-oaked by any stretch. Rather, it is a unique flavor in the mix. Blackberry rounds out the finish which is quite tannic and dry. My gums are feeling it well into the second minute – quite long. There is a mintyness that comes across at the end that is interesting alongside a faint licorice note. Clocking in at 14% this wine is well built, balanced and totally ready for another 10 years in the cellar if you have the patience. 91 points from me for this $49 effort and 4 stars. Salut….
The iconic South African wine, a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and a touch of Petit Verdot- the penultimate Bordeaux style blend from sunny Stellenbosch. I have had various vintages of Meerlust, but I don’t think I waited as long as this 8 year old.
Somewhat opaque, medium hued purple in the glass. The nose is rich with plums, cassis, spice, oak and a surreal blackberry pie note that I love. On the palate- simply delicious. Black fruits, silky tannins, plums, cedar box, a touch of tar and very lithe acidity to go along with the delightful tannins. This is a powerhouse wine, aged to perfection and ready to rock n roll. The mid palate allows a certain degree of dryness to hit the gums, but not in an overpowering way. The blackberry streak continues all the way to the finish. The grippiness of the tannins builds the further they get along, culminating on the finish with a crescendo. The flavors carry right through on this wine, giving it a richness that I admire. The pairings are unlimited for this treat: steaks, stews, charcuterie, cheeses- nothing will interfere with its presence. I would save a few bottles if you buy more than one as it will mature well for at least another decade, smoothing out no doubt and adding more complexity. I am going with 93 points minimum on this $31 effort and give it 5 stars. Salut….
Nearly black in the glass, very brooding. The nose is a gorgeous mix of black berries, kirsch and cassis. I also get some black cherry which quickly translates over to the palate. Really nice, grippy tannins greet me with a dry sensation, which is perfect for the Lamb stew I am preparing. Dark fruit galore across the palate, with a touch of creosote, some mintiness and spice box. The wine takes on some smoke and pain grille at the end and the finish is long, interlaced with a mouth puckering tannic component. I am digging this wine, wishing I had more bottles to track evolution, betting it will age gracefully and take on some interesting secondary flavors. Drink till 2025. I think this wine deserves 91 points and am giving it 4 stars for its $43 tag. Good stuff. Salut….
A pleasant purple with medium density. On the nose I get plums, a faint hint of cinnamon, black cherry and creosote thanks to the 9% addition of Pinotage. The balance is Cabernet Sauvignon. The initial taste is very Pinotage heavy, with more plums, some dark fruits and the telltale chemical note, often likened to nail polish remover. I like it. The wine transitions nicely and some very delightful tannins caress throughout. The flavor profile doesn’t change much throughout and the acidity is very fine, barely noticeable. The finish is relatively long, with the dark fruit balancing nicely with a hint of oak. The bitterness of the tannins is apparent right at the end but is not detracting. This is a tasty weekday wine that I would pop with stew, chili, grilled sausages and even burgers. 89 points and 4 stars for this $11 wine. Salut….
I recently wrote about the 2013 Faithful Hound, so when I caught some of the 2014 on sale, I grabbed a few. Retailing for $18, it’s a good parallel to the Bordeaux style blends that I so truly love. This one has a dark purple complexion, just like it’s older sister. The nose is gorgeous- plums, bramble, chocolate, some oak and a blueberry component. On the palate, much darker fruits than expected. More of the blackberry and currants theme with some violets. The mid palate is bone dry with tannins popping out and caressing the gums. The finish is blackberry, tar and those delightful tannins. The mouthfeel on this wine is great, built for steaks or the pasta with meatballs and sausage I am about to serve. This wine will cellar well, it has al the right components. I really hope it can evolve with secondary flavors like it’s French cousins. Drink till 2025. 90 points and 4 stars for this gem from SA. Salut….
My father asked me what I wanted for Christmas. He has 3 sons, 2 daughter-in-laws and 5 grand kids. I wanted something that would not bankrupt the man, but would mean something to me. I told him “a bottle of wine”. He hit it, right on the head with this banger. I am so surprised at this wine and am super happy that my dad got it for me.
In case you haven’t read my notes about Pinotage, I love this varietal. It is a quirky oddball only found in Afrique du Sud and made really well in Stellenbosch.
Reddish purple in the glass with a nose of tar, beautiful violets, black plums and a really nice hint of blueberry right at the and. On the initial attack I get blueberry pie, some tar, cherry and plum jam. The mid palate yields some very entrenched tannins that come out of hiding and balance the acidity. More plums hit after the tannins and they lead you into a really nice dry finish of vanilla, coffee bean, and berry. Really good, a delicious wine. 91 points and at a shocking price point of $15 this is my first 5 star wine of the year. Kudos to dad for popping this bad boy under the tree, he has hit wine nirvana. I drank it with braised Beef ribs and purple potatoes. Heaven! I hope you have a wine that has significant meaning that hits it on all cylinders too. Salut….