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The biggest South African tasting in the UK ever I believe. A mass of producers from every region offering wine in all the permutations you can think of. Confronted by the huge number of producers and wines I stuck to the generic tasting tables – those covering the Platters Guide Top Ten, Chenin Blanc and stickies.

“The cap’s wine-growing regions are influenced by the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The beneficial maritime conditions this creates, like regular coastal fog and cooling sea breezes, combine with a mild Mediterranean climate, distinctive and varied topography, diverse soils and adequate sunshine. These influences are also the story of wine. Each resulting mesoclimate produces a wine that is different from any other wine. And every quality winemaker is looking to make wine which reflects a unique sense of place.”

Wine Tasting Note: The Sadie Family Palladius, 2004, Malmesbury, South Africa.
Available from Independents for around £29.
What a way to open a tasting! A blend of Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay with a not insubstantial 14.5% alcohol. Wild yeasts, lees maturing – it all results in an excellent and unusual wine. Apricots dominate (from the Viognier) but the intensity, mineral edge and excellent structure do reveal the complex grape make-up. Excellent if expensive.
Scribblings Rating – 92/100

Rijk’s Cabernet Sauvigon

Wine Tasting Note: Rijk’s Private Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002, Talbagh, South Africa.
Night-harvested and hand-picked this 15% wine (heady!) has received 18 months in French oak. It boast a superbly textured palate, rich, red berries spiked with spice.
Scribblings Rating – 92/100

Wine Tasting Note: Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc, 2004, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Swig £17.50.
Full-bodied. Superb complexity with oaky nuances enlivening the cress and pear flavours. Slight touch of sweetness. Rich and toasty. Lovely texture. 9,000 bottle production. 13% Alcohol..
Scribblings Rating – 92/100

Wine Tasting Note: Overhex Private Cellars Red Muscadel, 2004, Western Cape, South Africa.
A stickie with good acidity to balance the sweetness. A wonderful orange hue to the delicate rose colour. The aroma – wild strawberries and raisins – explodes from the glass leading into a mouth-filling, warming, deliciousness. Alcohol 18.5%.
Scribblings Rating – 92/100

Wine Tasting Note: Ken Forrester Vineyards Chenin Blanc, 2005, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Adding to the complexity here is a small edge of botrytis, a layer of French oak and plenty of lees aging. There is a smoky edge to the aroma while the palate is smooth, touch of sweetness and a spritz on the finish. Flavours of apricots and honey drenched pineapple.
Scribblings Rating – 90/100

Wine Tasting Note: Stella Organics Heaven on Earth Vin de Paille, 2003, Olifants River, South Africa.
This is most interesting. The Grapes are dried on a bed of straw and Rooibos tea! Not sure I actually detected tea in the wine but it is unctuous, creamy, sweet and stickie with low acidity. Long, long length. The estate is Fairtrade certified as well as organic.
Scribblings Rating – 92/100


1 Comment »

  1. Jeanne says:

    Mmmm, a whole bunch of new names here! I’m always surprised at the number of new vineyards that spring up between my visits home. Ken Forrester is a man who knows what to do with chenin blanc, I can tell you that. And I’m glad to see you included a pic of the red muscadel. The hotter, drier regions of South Africa do some spectacular stickies, like the multi-award winnign Nuy muscadels (red and white). The Stella Organics one sounds great!


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