She kicked off the tasting with a Cava (Spanish sparkling) that was absolutely to die for, La Cruss Et D’or Brut Reserva – non-vintage Premium Limited Edition. The wine had fruity smells of fresh lemon and citrus along with sweet apple and a lovely finish – crisp, toasty and bready through the mid-palate ending with crisp mac apple squeezed with a hint of lemon on the finish (****½). She had yet to find out the price, but this will be a killer buy if it comes to our shores between $12 and $15 … though the words “Premium Limited Edition” scare me.
After such an illustrious start I would have to say it would have been hard to top it, and as expected the next four wines (all reds) did not measure up to that incredible starter. The best of which was a Bernat Oller 2006 Merlot with its violets, black and red fruit mix along with a touch of vanilla – it was a nice Merlot, and kind of a curiosity because you don’t see a lot of straight Merlot from Spain – but this one won’t set the world on fire, especially at it’s price (somewhere north of $25). I looked over at my glass of Cava, which was still happily bubbling away; I washed the reds down with what was left in the glass, still tasty.
I put my coat on ready to leave when Eleanor brought out a surprise wine, she asked if I minded giving my opinion on a new South African winery she was considering representing (she is, after all, the queen of South African wines, so I should have known I was not going to get away without tasting at least one). I never say no to sip on something new, so of course I said yes. Out came a bottle of Cape Dreams 2007 Pinotage, I shuttered – Pinotage is not a favourite, but I had already committed to giving it a try, and I was already not to like it. Which is why this wine came as such a surprise. The nose, upon first whiff, was loaded with pencil shavings; then with a little aeration it moved into chocolate, mocha and black raspberry. Palate-wise it was even better, showing none of the usually tarry-leather dominant flavours this type of wine exhibits; instead it was clean with coffee, mocha, black raspberry fruit, just the merest hint of leather and lots of pretty red berries mid-palate to the finish … elegant, lovely and very impressive – this is how Pinotage should be made (****½).
With the surprise of the Pinotage still lingering in our mouths Eleanor opened one more bottle, same winery but this time it was their 2008 Cabernet. Nice, smooth and quaffable, but not nearly as impressive as that Pinotage. Another wine I await to hear the price on to find out just how ‘really impressive’ it is.
Thanks to Eleanor for inviting me to this interesting tasting.