January 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
Two three-packs of wine which made their way to my door in the run-up to Christmas have definitely convinced me of this! I took some of them away with me and some of them were enjoyed in the general party-party atmosphere of pre-Christmas euphoria. Three is such a nice number in my opinion – mainly because, of course, I am pretty-much ‘3-shaped’ myself, so appreciate a number which reflects my appetite for nice wine and my figure equally. So here we go.
Mont Rochelle Mountain Vineyards
High up on the right-hand side of the Franschhoek Valley lies this hotel and winery. The hotel bit is the old La Couronne – my friends got engaged there about 8 years ago and were most impressed to find their car was washed whilst they were at lunch. Service standards are just as high now that it’s part of the Mont Rochelle and the wine standards are creeping upwards with every vintage. There’s been a couple of winemaker changes over the years but Darran Stone seems intent on making his name at this pretty estate so bring on his first vintage! All these wines are new-releases and should be available at specialist liquor stores.
The oldest wine from Mont Rochelle is the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (R90) – how great to see a five year old wine being released for the first time! This has had a lot of oak – in fact, 2 years of it altogether – and since these are some of the oldest vines on the farm, it has handled it with ease. Lots of lovely typical black berry flavours with a smoky, velvety finish.
The two Chardonnays are very different in style and region. Surprisingly for me, I preferred the Barrel-fermented 2008 (R72) which is basically from the oldest and best vineyard on the farm and the one which provides fruit for their flagship MIKO wine. A nice blend of different barrels means that the wine isn’t overpowered and the ripe yellow fruit and honeyed oatmeal notes and beautifully balanced by wood and acidity. The Unwooded Chardonnay 2010 (R55) comes from Walker Bay which quite surprised me because I was expecting more steel and less fruit salad. It’s spent a long time on the lees so perhaps that is why it is far richer than I was expecting and I would definitely recommend this wine with food – a creamy chicken salad or a buttery piece of fish would be a great match.
Wade Bales Wine Society Winemaker Selection
Now into his 18th year of operation, Wade Bales knows a thing or three about the local wine scene. I went to one of his tastings last year in Newlands – packed to the rafters with wines, winemakers (not just marketing chickies), punters and,(most importantly), credit cards. I was most impressed by what he does, so I see every reason why his new offering will be a massive success. He’s linked up with a dozen great winemakers to produce a cost-conscious version of the wine they make best. Winemakers such as Rianie Strydom, Miles Mossop, Adi Badenhorst and Nico van der Merwe have all made up a special bottling for Wade at excellent prices. Here are the three I tasted. All reds costs a catchy R58.17 a bottle and whites R49.83 and are available from www.wadebaleswinesociety.co.za
Adam Mason, ex Klein Constantia, is now the new winemaker at Mulderbosch and a long-time fan of Shiraz. His 2009 is a complete over-deliverer of note, with plenty of black spiced berries wrapped up in a creamy swathe of delicate oak and ending in a sneeze of pepper. Ernie Els winemaker, Louis Strydom, has opted for a classic Aussie combo of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz – I can’t think why we don’t do more of these in SA. Lively, spicy, fruit-packed, easy-drinking, top-quality braai-wine – what more do you want?
Diemersdal’s Thys Louw is a Sauvignon-Sage of note and achieved the great honour of having 2 of his wines in the recent Sauvignon Top 20. But only one made it to the Top Ten – and it was this one. I completely agree with the judges here – this is much the better wine, with more balance, elegance and fruit than Diemersdal’s own-label. Worth joining Wade’s society for this wine alone!