Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Report from … South Africa, Let’s Celebrate – June 8, 2010

South Africa has a lot of celebrating to do.  They are currently hosting the “world’s game” in the form of the FIFA World Cup plus they celebrated their 350th birthday (1659-2009) of winemaking history … not being a soccer fan that’s the one that most interests me.  They were also here in Toronto promoting wines that will soon be, or are now, in the LCBO system.  18 wines were tasted, plus a couple others that were snuck in by the producer (they were only suppose to bring one).  As usual I boil it down to a handful of must have / get wines.  This time I give you the top 7, six of which are great value wines, the seventh is very tasty:

Cloof 2007 Inkspot Vin Noir ($14.00) – a red blend of Pinotage / Shiraz / Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% of the wine aged in small French oak barrels; there’s nice fruit here with coffee and mocha notes backing it up. (****)

Graham Beck 2009 GB Chardonnay/Viognier ($11.95) – an 80/20 blend of Chard to Vio creates this tropical fruit monster, with good balancing acidity, refreshing and tasty, crisp and delicious.  Buy it by the case and open a bottle for any and all occasions this summer.  Great before dinner all on its own. (****½)

Juno 2007 Arthouse Shiraz / Mourvedre ($14.95) – 14 months of age goes into making this 85/15 Shiraz to Mourvedre.  Lots of sweet dark fruit, easy on the palate.

Slent Farms 2008 Ayama Cabernet Sauvignon
($13.95) – this unoaked Cab could fool even the most astute wine drinker into believing a barrel or two was used.  3 months on lees has added great complexity and intensity to this wine, then it is further aged in stainless steel for 1 year.  Rich red fruit with chocolate and mocha – tannins are fairly gritty and intense.  Outstanding value. (****½)

Tokara 2007 White ($24.95) – not the best value of the bunch but quite a tasty wine.  This Sauvignon Blanc (85%) and Semillon (15%) aged in oak is creamy smooth with tropical, vanilla and citrus notes.

The Winery of Good Hope 2009 Pinot Noir ($14.95) – another excellent value and a tasty specimen to boot.  Nice raspberry and vanilla notes on the nose; this Pinot is more Californian (fruity) than Burgundian (earthy) with a South Africa twist to it. (****½)

Vinimark Boekenhoutskloof 2009 Porcupine Ridge Syrah ($14.95) – a nice peppery chocolate number with black fruit nuances. (****)

Keep your eyes open for …
Lammershoek has a new blend on the horizon, a Chenin / Viognier summer sipper with fresh fruit flavours that has the potential to blow you away both on the nose and palate.  Now, I did say ‘summer sipper’, but you’ll have to wait till summer 2011 … I know I’ll be looking for it.


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