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Showing posts with label Western Cape. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Western Cape. Show all posts

09 July 2017

Summer 'wines of the mo': Languedoc, Campania, Western Cape, King Valley

James and Catherine Kinglake from domainebegude.com
Domaine Bégude Le Secret du Sud Gewurztraminer 2016 Pays d'Oc (13.5% abv) - The Gewurztraminer variety has obviously adapted well to this beautiful spot in the hills just north of Limoux (off the road to Carcassonne); this delicious example is full-bodied and rich-textured with the trademark rose water and lychee characters, tasty rounded and exotic yet has a little 'chalky' freshness on the palate too. Expensive although you wouldn't easily find a similar quality Gewurz from Alsace for much less. £11.99 The Vineyard, Ormeau Road, Belfast. Very nice with scallops and Clonakilty pudding starter at Graffiti restaurant across the road (BYO).
Sassi del Mare Falanghina 2016 Beneventano IGT (12.5% abv) - One of southern Italy's most seductive white grape varieties, this Falanghina, grown on the Campania region hills is ripe honeyed and 'oily' with apricot and hazelnut freshened by a lighter touch and bite on the finish. Bargain: £5.99 Lidl.
Sangiovese Rosé 2016 King Valley, Australia (13% abv) - Tasty full-flavoured rosé style from north-eastern Victoria balancing sweet red fruits, lightly creamy texture, quite weighty mouth-feel and zingy finish. Might be made by De Bortoli although Asda doesn't say who on the label: £8.98, one of their 'Extra Special' range.
Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2016 Western Cape (14.5% abv) - Powerful spicy yet quite soft red made by reliable SA winery Kleinzalze (I also like their Chenin blanc white) that would go well with al fresco food, BBQ etc. Ripe berry fruits and rounded palate with peppery aromatic hints. £7.48 Asda.

08 September 2012

South Africa: Pinot Noir

These eight reds scrutinized and tasting-noted below perhaps give a reasonable snapshot of what's happening with Pinot Noir in the Cape, all sampled in London a couple of months ago. As for wine regions I've breezed through here, the producers are based in: Stellenbosch not far east of Cape Town, the Elgin Valley found about an hour southeast of the 'capital' up in the mountains; and heading further south, you come across arguably the best-known name in South African Pinot, or certainly something of a pioneer for the variety, Hamilton Russell nestling in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near the town of Hermanus on the coast; then keep going south along the coast and you'll eventually reach Cape Agulhas, the Western Cape's and South Africa's most southerly vineyard area. Getting a pattern here location and climate wise... Some of the Pinots I tasted with 14% or more alcohol seemed less balanced and accomplished, implying it doesn't suit hotter areas like the Paarl Valley as well, which is a little further inland from Cape Town than Stellenbosch (although is still mountainous). Or being picked too late.
As for quality and/or value for money, the price ranges I've indicated below are a bit vague but show these producers are generally neither expensive nor cheap in the context of good Pinot - and these ones mostly are - with a couple of quite dear bottles (that's famous names for you) and 'best value' probably coming from Strandveld winery.

The Winery of Good Hope team
The Winery of Good Hope 2010 Radford Dale Freedom Pinot Noir, Elgin (13% alcohol) - quite delicate and has that tasty 'sweet/savoury' Pinot thing going on, with refreshing bite / light bitter twist; less concentrated than some of this batch of Pinots but is still an attractive obviously PN style. Price: UK £10-£20 (importer Les Caves de Pyrene), Eurozone €15-€30 (e.g. Cassidy Wines Ireland), USA $30-$50 (Martignetti and World Premiere Wines) and just about everywhere else by the looks of it (click on link above in photo caption then "where to buy").
Kleine Zalze 2010 Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir, Stellenbosch - a tad juicy fruity to start on the nose, moves on to nicer savoury tinged palate showing a bit of grip vs silky fruit texture. Not bad in the end.
Paul Cluver 2009 Pinot Noir, Elgin (13.3%) - maturing 'sweet/savoury' fruit aromas, elegant and tasty palate showing attractive freshness vs ageing character lingering on the finish. Good stuff. £10-£20, €15-€30 or $30-$50. Widely distributed in Europe, North America etc: see www.cluver.com.
Meerlust 2010 Pinot Noir, Stellenbosch (14%) - lovely savoury vs fruity profile, nice rounded tannins with pretty intense and powerful length; weightier wine yet stylish. £20+, €30+ or $50+ (UK/US: Maison Marques et Domaines) - more info @ www.meerlust.co.za.
Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (13.7%) - elegant ripe berry notes with savoury / 'forest floor' edges, has nice bite combined with a little weight and subtle concentration and length; a touch of class. UK importer Hallgarten Druitt: more @ hamiltonrussellvineyards.com.
Creation Pinot Noir 2011, Hemel-en-Aarde (14.4%) - enticing 'sweet/savoury' Pinot nose, quite big and structured palate showing a hint of oak, delicious fruit though despite that alcohol lingering a bit too much on the finish. £10-£20, €15-€30 or $30-$50: widely exported, see www.creationwines.com.
Strandveld 2009 First Sighting Pinot Noir, Cape Agulhas (13.7%) - browning maturing colour with intriguing 'cheesy' mushroom tones on the nose, has quite lush 'sweet/savoury' fruit on its silky maturing palate; finishing with a bit of power vs still quite fresh actually despite those attractive ageing flavours. £7-£10, €9-€15 or $15-$30: find importers on their site.
Glen Carlou 2011 Pinot Noir, Paarl (14%) - fragrant ripe red berry notes turning to liquorice even, tinged with savoury edges; fairly punchy palate vs more delicate fruit underneath and a hint of fresh bite too. Nice but a little 'clunky' perhaps. £10-£20, €15-€30 or $30-$50. Part of the Hess Family group so widely distributed I'd imagine: www.glencarlou.co.za.

South Africa part 2: "unusual" reds (well, some of them...)
South Africa part 3: Chenin blanc, Viognier, Grenache blanc... 
South Africa archive page.


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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.