As an introductory sampler then, of the types of vino South Africa is producing, two wines from the supermarket aisles
Wine Tasting Note: Flagstone Dragon Tree, 2005, Western Cape, South Africa.
Stockist: Tesco Price: £10.19 [More on Adegga / Snooth]
What a mix! Cabernet Sauvignon 49%, Pinotage 21%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Shiraz 6% and Petit Verdot 4%. And just to complete the percentages there is 14% alcohol. Really though would anyone miss the 4% Petit Verdot? Or even notice the absence of 10% Cabernet Franc?
As the rear label states this mix is the result of the challenge of blending Pinotage. The great P is much like Marmite, you either love it or you don’t. Plenty of examples in the past were barely drinkable – those with a rusty nail edge to the palate being particularly nasty.
Richly smooth, full, plentiful tannins. Complex flavours (maybe that mix of six has something after all). Warming alcohol on the finish. Very approachable. Creamy edge. While only accounting for 21% the Pinotage peaks through with a distinctive twist on the finish that you don’t get with Cabernet alone. It is almost ‘rusty’ but seems to work here, rather than being a criticism.
[ out of 5] Scribblings Rating – 92/100
Wine Tasting Note: Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, Western Cape, South Africa.
Stockist: Sainsbury’s Price: £7.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
To counter the rich tannic Dragon Tree hows about a punchy Sauvignon Blanc? Where the Loire and New Zealand are usually offered as the two quality extremes of Sauvignon (one textural, the other extreme punchiness) South Africa is touted as a mid-point.
The Vergelegen edges towards the New Zealand in aroma with a clean, green, pea-shoot smell with a touch of fennel and lemon pith. The palate, as Sauvignon should be, is fresh, crisp and squeaky clean. The intensity will get that palate a-quivering via the acidic backbone. Hints of straw, green peppers, peas and a slight touch of sweetness lessens that firm acidic crispness.
[ out of 5] Scribblings Rating – 90/100