A selection of South African wines tasted over dinner with friends Market Restaurant, Manchester
15th August 2008
Bukettraube, Cederberg, 13%
colour - faintly alamingly so: previous bottles have been much paler,
though this has been in the cellar for about five years now.
2003. Current vintage is the 2007, which is £8 from Woffenden
A smoky, spicy nose is followed up by a full palate. Nicely
rounded, but there is just a touch of acidity to freshen up the slight
sweetness. A nice oriental spice flavour: Steve mentions ginger, which
points me in the direction I was trying to find: there are some rather
nice, fragrant galangal flavours. Maybe I should have left this for the
next Nottingham offline, with its wines for pan-Asian food theme? Hmmm
... maybe I have another bottle. Still, I'd happily drink this. Very
2007 de Trafford Chenin Blanc, WO Stellenbosch, 14.5%
powerful, extracted, concentrated nose with nuts and a bit of oak. Very
big palate. Very hot. But really rather flat and dull on the palate
once you get beyond the alcoholic burn. Don't like it, and there's not
much I can appreciate in it. 80/100
1987 Nietvoorbij Weisser Riesling Experimental Wine,
no abv shown
Screwcap. Very high fill - ridiculously high fill, almost to the brim -
see where the pen is pointing!
a 20-year old South African Riesling under screwcap. Not the most
promising of prospects. But in the end, quite possibly my WOTN.
a mid golden colour. The nose feels old. Quite raisined and
sweetened-with-must feeling. Well, this isn't unpleasant. There's quite
high acidity and a slight raisiny feel. But it also has an interesting
roundness. Coming back to it through the evening, I found this going
from merely very interesting to really rather enjoyable. For an
experiment, it's worked rather well. The combination of this and the
green pepper sauce with the steak was a revelation: a completely
off-the-wall pairing that was much more than the sum of its parts.
2005 Palladius, The Sadie Family, 14.5%
gold. A decent nose, though nothing special: feels a bit like a fairly
basic white Rhone. Really nice in the mouth. This has good depth and is
a very well made wine. Very enjoyable now, but it could do with more
time, I think. 90/100
2003 Meerlust Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, 13.5%
nice rich, oaky, buttery chardonnay nose. Lovely palate: rich, but not
overblown. In fact, I find it very finely balanced. Really nice poised
finish. This is a top notch chardonnay. Yum. 92/100
1999 Pinot Noir, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, WO Walker Bay,
warm, slightly scented, slightly floral red fruits nose. Nice, open
palate. Fairly attractive; quite floral and scented. There's a bit of a
bitter edge, which for me gives the impression of the burn you'd
normally associate with excessive alcohol. 86-87/100
On a vote, this beat the Meerlust pinot noir 7 to 4.
1998 Meerlust Pinot Noir Reserve, 13.5% en magnum
(but just a single bottle's worth brought, decanted into an Unico
rather stinky, goaty nose. A darker colour than the Hamilton Russell.
Quite big on the palate, feeling much younger than the Hamilton
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Wine, Kanonkop, 14%
has an attractive nose - very rounded and Bordeaux-like in style.
Lovely, caressing palate, with sweet, but not over-sweet round, black
fruit. A very pleasant, very drinkable, very impressive wine. 93/100
1995 Meerlust Rubicon, 13%
nose is dominated for me by volatility, backed up with some muddy
dirtiness. But forget the nose. This has a very classy feel on the
palate: quite evolved, with some high tones, but also a real spicy,
floral feel on the palate. 91/100
The 1995 Rubicon we had at the
Rubicon Vertical last June was also very heavy on the VA - much more so
than this bottle, to the point that it was virtually undrinkable unless
you're a real fan of the most high-toned Musars. Is this a problem with
the 1995 Rubicon, or just Keith's bottles of it?
2000 Eikendal Classique, Stellenbosch, 14%
Quite a meaty, horse-sweaty nose. But great, refined palate. Nicely
elegant. Lovely wine. 89/100
2004 Columella, Sadie Family, WO Swartland, 14.5%
attractive nose with sweet black fruit and nutmeggy overtones. Very
direct and a bit hot on the attack. Nice pleasant, black fruit on the
palate. Just feels a bit flat and ordinary. Possibly closed down??
2003 Sequillo Syrah 63% Mourvedre 30% Grenache 7%, Sequillo
Cellars, WO Swartland, 14%
The nose has warm, tending to hot, red fruit: simpler than the
Columella, but possibly a bit more attractive.
attractive palate. Quite approachable. There's sweet, clean fruit on
the palate, but ultimately it feels a touch simple. 87/100
2000 Lourens River Valley Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon,
Morgenster, WO Stellenbosch, 13.7%
very interesting nose: there is some sweet blackcurrant fruit evident,
followed up by some spicy red fruit and violets. Nice open palate with
some oakiness evident. Fairly direct and maybe a bit ordinary? Sorry.
2004 TMV Swartland Syrah, WO Swartland, 14%
hugely fragrant nose, more like white wine than red: almost
gewurztraminer-like, it's so floral and scented. I think most of the
table agrees that this smells much more like gewurztraminer than
anything related to syrah. Very strange.
Interesting palate. Again
very fragrant, and it feels like there must be some viognier in it. Or
maybe it's some syrah blended into viognier? What on earth do you do
with this? Very difficult to judge or assess: it's just so different
and completely in a style of its own. A red wine for girlies? someone
suggests. If you ignore the fact that it's nothing like syrah, or even
red wine, it's an unchallenging, pleasant drink. 87/100
2002 Raka Biography Shiraz, WO Western Cape, 15%
very fresh, clean nose with some sweet mulberry and blueberry fruit.
Quite sweet and floral on the palate, but it also has a decent
freshness. Possibly a bit overshadowed by a number of preceding wines.
Very pleasant wine, notwithstanding. 89/100
2003 Paul Cluver Riesling Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest,
WO Elgin, 14%
Deep golden colour. This has botrytis and apricots on the nose with a
lovely fresh cleanness. Rich, sweet, but not overly so. Precise and
enjoyable as ever. 90/100
1990 Overgaauw Cape Vintage Fortified Wine, 17.5%
floral, fresh nose with some spirit rather evident. Chocolatey palate,
but also feeling very winey. There's a touch of astringency. Not as
good as i remember previous bottles being. 86/100
2005 Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve, WO Calitzdorp, 19%
deep, dark purple with very firm legs. The nose has ripe black plums
and berry fruit. Port-like, but with an edge. Rich and chocolatey
palate. Jolly good, but far too young. 88/100