TOP SOUTH AFRICAN WINES

TOP SOUTH AFRICAN WINES image

By Rose Murray Brown MW      Published in The Scotsman 25 February 2017

 

WHITE

Stellenbosch: DE MORGENZON WHITE MAESTRO 2014 (£16.15 Great Grog, Edinburgh www.greatgrog.co.uk)
An unusual hotpotch blend of principally Roussanne (26%), Chardonnay (25%) with Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognier.  Suit those who like generous weighty Rhone-style whites with rich mouthfeel, but vivid natural acidity to freshen the palate.  A worthy Decanter magazine Gold award winner: 14%


Elgin: PAUL CLUVER GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 (£12.45 Great Grog; £11.99 Waitrose)   ***STAR VALUE BUY***
I have not tasted many examples of this grape from South Africa – but this is a very competent take on this tricky Alsace varietal.  It has tart’s boudoir scent (aka rosewater) so typical of Gewurz, but with a delicious juicy limey palate.  Very appealing:  13.5%


Stellenbosch & Swartland: SASKIA 2012 (£17 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)   ***STAR BUY***
Maestro Miles Mossop (winemaker at Tokara pictured right) makes his own range in his spare time – and what a fabulous trio of wines they are. This blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier with Verdelho and Clairette from Stellenbosch and Swartland fruit is woven into a rich concentrated peachy supple white with such poise.  Don’t be put off by the price tag, this is really good.  Mossop leads the pack amongst top Cape winemakers today: 14%


Franschhoek: TOPIARY CHARDONNAY 2015 (£20 Great Grog)
Nuts, lime and butterscotch are the dominant flavours in this deftly-oaked Chardonnay crafted by Chassagne Montrachet winemaker, Philippe Colin, who bought 20 hectares in Franschhoek three years ago with his business partner French Riviera sommelier Serge Jaczynski.  A newcomer to watch: 14%


Swartland: SPICE ROUTE AMOS BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 (£11.99 Lockett Bros, N Berwick; The Cave, Glasgow; Aitken Wines, Dundee)
A popular wine with our tasters who enjoyed pioneer Charles Back’s refreshingly zippy nervy unoaked Swartland Sauvignon Blanc – made from the oldest existing block of Sauvignon in the Cape planted back in 1965.  More tropical fruit and warmth than you would find in Loire, with definite hints of New World gooseberry pungency: 12.5%


Swartland: ELODIE LANDSCAPE SERIES GABRIELSKLOOF CHENIN BLANC 2015 (£23.99 Drinkmonger, Edinburgh & Pitlochry)
A rich honeyed peachy Chenin Blanc with lemon meringue flavours, lovely rich texture, well defined oak and a fine minerally depth – a fine example crafted in Walker Bay from Swartland grapes.  Made as naturally as possible with minimal intervention, named after Elodie one of the daughters of Gabrielskloof estate owner: 13.5%

 

RED

Elgin: CATHERINE MARSHALL PINOT NOIR ON CLAY SOILS 2013 (£16.99 Great Grog)
I have been following Catherine Marshall’s Pinot passion for some years now and this is a great example of her elegant restrained style.  It is unusual to find the soil type on the label, but this Pinot Noir is a little different as the elements from the iron rich clay soils give it a powerful concentration and minerally edge: 13%


Stellenbosch: KAAPZICHT PINOTAGE 2013 (£15 Great Grog)
The charming Steytler family make deliciously savoury concentrated complex Pinotage with a lovely plummy suppleness not often found in this grape. Quite restrained in its fruit, which makes it all the more appealing and elegant: 14.5%


Stellenbosch: KAAPZICHT BUSH VINE SKUINSBERG CINSAULT 2015 (£12.99 Great Grog)  ***STAR VALUE BUY***
To be honest I usually struggle with the Cinsault grape even from warm Cape vineyards, so often made in a firm uncompromising style.  However, the Steytlers have scored here with this grape grown on very steep slopes (hence the name Skuinsberg) making a very attractive silky smooth palate and finish – no wonder this is a 5 star Platter guide winner: 14%


Stellenbosch: THE SOCIETY’S EXHIBITION PINOTAGE 2014 (£10.50 www.thewinesociety.com)
Made by ex-lawyer Johan Kruge at his top pioneering Pinotage estate, Kanonkop.  A plummy well rounded Pinotage with earthy undertones with a quirky spiciness – I am not normally a lover of this grape, but this is certainly great value: 14%


Swartland: INTELLEGO SYRAH 2015 (£18.99-£19.95 Les Caves de Pyrene www.lescaves.co.uk; L’Art du Vin, Dunfermline; www.frw.co.uk; www.beaconwines.co.uk)       
A rather good ‘natural’ wine made by assistant winemaker of Swartland-based Lammershoek winery, Jurgen Gouws.  Our tasters loved the pure cherry fruits in this bright clear focused Syrah with its hint of smoky notes from old oak maturation, finishing with briary undertones and minerally notes: 12.5%


Stellenbosch:  GLENELLY LADY MAY 2010 (£26.99 Majestic Wine; www.sawinesonline.co.uk) 
Glenelly’s owner May-Elaine de Lencquesaing used to own a prestigious Bordeaux estate, now focusing her attention on her Cape enterprise.  This is their flagship estate red predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Petit Verdot matured like a top traditional claret in new French oak.  Needs time to soften, but once mature like this 2010 it is top notch, with subtle cassis fruits, refined tannins and great elegance and restraint: 14.5%


Greyton, South Coast: LISMORE SYRAH 2015 (£25 www.swig.co.uk)    ***STAR BUY***
Winemaker Samantha O’Keefe has created another stunning Syrah here – beautifully balanced, ethereal bouquet, peppery undertones, beautifully balanced and complex.  A pioneering Syrah from a remote lesser known Cape area which compared very well tasted alongside a northern Rhone Syrah: 13% 
                                                                                  

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