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Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

It’s unfair to a certain extent, because I l*o*v*e Chenin Blanc in it’s French forms (Vouvray) that showcase honey, flowers, apples, and high acid.  I happen to think Vouvray are oft overlooked great ‘with food’ wines.

This one, well, it’s got the acid down.

Appellation:  Western Cape, South Africa

Tasting Notes:  100% Chenin Blanc.  Pretty pale color. Nose is mango, pineapple, apple, and lemon.

Dominated by the pineapple, this is a very high acid wine. Lots of lemon, a little mango too. On it’s own, it’s a little acidic, but with food, it settles down nicely. Am I going to run out and buy more? Probably not, but if I were having 50 people over for banquet chicken, this would work just fine. OK.

Price:  $7.99 at Total Wine

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Just three notes for the last several weeks, although I had a wonderful dinner with pairings that is its own post if I get to it.

2009 Albino Armain Bigneto Corvara

Appellation:  Valdadige

Tasting Note:  100% Pinot Grigio, 13% ABV.  Pretty light yellow. Fresh citrus with a bit of tropics on the nose.  Crisp, bright, tart.  Grapefruit, but much, much more than that.  Elegant.  Great acid, minerality.  Makes the mouth water.  Wonderful wine, went very well with caprese salad.

Rating:  4/5

Price:  $17.99 at Beltway Fine Wine

2008 Tetramythos Roditis

Appellation:  Achaia

Tasting Note:  12.5%.  Roditis.  Pretty dark yellow. Nose is pepper, petrol, and tropical fruit. Pretty complex.  Lots of fruit, but there’s a bite of acid and a little petrol.  Very interesting.  Would certainly match well with lots of Greek food – tomatoes, feta, stuffed grape leaves.  Very good.

Rating:  4/5

Price:  Unknown, was in a mixed case from Chesapeake Wine

2009 Oracle Pinotage

Appellation:  Stellenbosch

Tasting Note:  Pinotage.  13.5% ABV.  Color is dark purple. Nose is jam, vanilla, and some chocolate.  Plums and berries, with some wood and spice, along with the vanilla.  A lot going on, maybe too much, as it’s disjointed.  A tick hot for me (at 13.5% it shouldn’t be, adding to the thought that this is disjointed), although the bright berry finish is pretty interesting.  Not all that.

Rating:  2/5

Price:  Unknown, was brought to a party.

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2010 Indaba Chenin Blanc

Appellation: Western Cape, South Africa

Tasting Notes: 100% Chenin Blanc.  13.5% ABV.  The color of straw.  Nose is tropical with quite a bit of minerality.  Juicy, mouth filling.  Tropical fruit, melon, and fantastic minerality, with tight acid on the back end that makes you want to gulp it.  Well balanced, even a touch of sweetness that offsets the acid.  Very food friendly.  Screaming deal.  Would certainly be a crowd pleaser as well.

Rating: 4/5

Price: $9.99 at Beltway Fine Wine

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My wife and I made dinner for some out of town friends.  I didn’t take formal notes on the wines, but here’s what we had.

2008 Washington Hills Riesling Paradise Peak

Appellation: Washington State

Served With: Spinach Salad with Warm Citrus Dressing;  Butternut Squash Soup

Tasting Notes: 100% Reisling.  11% ABV.  Didn’t take formal notes, but this was a very nice wine.  Great fruit, but also food friendly aciditiy and minerality.  Off dry, so non wine folks will like this.  Great match with a spinach salad (spinach, red onion, cranberry, orange, feta) and warm citrus dressing, also great match with butternut squash soup.

Rating: 3/5

Price: $9.99

2008 Noël Bougrier Anjou

Appelation: Anjou-Saumur (Loire Valley)

Served With: Scallops in Butter, Wine, and Sage; Risotto

Tasting Notes: 100% Chenin Blanc.  11% ABV.  Didn’t take formal notes.  This was crisp, great acid, but pretty one dimensional. A versitile food friendly white, but that is in part because there isn’t much going on.

Rating: 2/5

Price: $9.99

2009 Spier Chenin Blanc

Appellation: Western Cape, South Africa

Served With: Scallops, etc.

Tasting Notes: 100% Chenin Blanc.  13.5% ABV.  Didn’t take formal notes.  Very interesting.  Lots of grapefruit, some melon, and an interesting smoke aroma and on the palate.  Nice rich mouthfeel.  Interesting and very good.  Great value.

Rating: 4/5

Price: $7.99

All wines purchased at Beltway Fine Wines

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2008 Herding Cats

Appellation: Western Cape, South Africa

Tasting Notes: 80% Merlot, 20% Pinotage.  13.5% ABV.  Pretty purple inky color. Nose is vanilla and blackberry jam, not exciting at all.  Vanilla and blackberries on the palate, not as jammy as I thought it might be, a little smokiness.   Some pepper.  Heat on the back end, which makes it off balance (especially given the 13.5% ABV).  Nice mouthfeel at first, not really offensive, but not exciting at all.  Even at $8, there are better bottles of wine out there; but the name and label are cool, so your non oenophile friends will probably love this if you bring it to a cookout.

Rating: 2/5

Price: $7.99 at Bin 604

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Finally, I’m back in Paris, after being out of the continent for three weeks.  I visited Dubai for 3-4 days, and then conducted two weeks of intensive field research of the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa.  The African portion of my journey was part of my final project for my graduate degree.  Sitta Sama, Fabiola and Haitao were all along for the ride, as they are part of our four-person research team.  Additionally, a special thanks must go out to our advisor Glen, for putting up with all of our shenanigans for 2 solid weeks.

So what the hell does all of this have to do with wine?  Well on Saturday the 16th, just before kicking off our marathon of interviews, I managed to spend a day in Stellenbosch, drinking and chatting with three of the top South African wine producers.  I visited Jeff Grier of Villiera / Domaine Grier, Beyers Truter of Beyerskloof, and Thomas Webb of Thelema Mountain Vineyards.  This post will be a three-parter, spanning the next three days. (more…)

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2009 Rustenberg Brampton Unoaked Chardonnay

Appellation: Stellenbosch (South Africa)

Tasting Notes: 100% Chardonnay  14.5% ABV.  Light gold in the glass, pretty color.  Nose is dominated by citrus, lemon and grapefruit, with a little floral component and minerals.  Citrus and minerals on the palate, maybe a little pineapple.  Smooth mouthfeel.  Very nice acidity, and a nice finish.  Crisp.  Really nice.  Will match well with sole stuffed with crab, or a Caesar salad – might be a bit light if you put grilled chicken on it, but give it a go.  Would be a great crowd pleaser, and a nice aperitif as well.
Rating: 4/5;  17/20;  88/100
Price: $12.99 at Beltway Fine Wine

A note on ratings:  I use the 100 point rating for Cellartracker, even though my palate is still developing.  As a statistics geek, I know that the variability in scores works itself out as the number of scores increases.  However, my score may not be yours, or Robert Parker’s.  I much prefer to use a 5 point (or star, or whatever you want to call it) scale, as it more represents my reaction to wine, which is more simple than a 100 point scale represents.  I like the 20 point scale as the more detailed score.   On this site, I will provide all three, although the most meaningful are the 5 and 20 point ratings.



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