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Posts Tagged ‘Stellenbosch’

Kanonkop “Pinotage” Simonsberg-Stellenbosch 2004
Tasting Notes: 100% pinotage, decomposed granite and Hutton soil, up to 59-year-old vines, 3,700 l/h yield, 3-5 day maceration, aged 16 months in French oak, 14.5% vol. Dark purpleish, ruby red in the glass. Strong and bold, albeit a little tight on the nose, cranberry, blackberry, and subtle oaky-vanilla notes. Full-bodied in the mouth with a good acidic balance, strong tannins, and flavors of black cherry and banana.
Rating: 15/20 (88/100)
Price: US$31.99 @ Winelibrary.com

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Thelema Mountain Vineyards Stellenbosch “Shiraz” 2003
Tasting Notes : 100% shiraz, aged 18 months in oak barrel, about half new oak, 13.5% vol. A deep purpleish, ruby red in the glass. Sweet oak, cinnamon, and mint notes, followed by red and black fruits on the nose. Overall the aromas display an elegant and sweet spicyness. Smooth texture, light tannins and a juicy acidity in the mouth. This is a medium-bodied, well-balanched wine with notes of bitter dark chocolate and sweet black cherry, lingering on through the rather nice finish.
Rating : 15/20 (90/100)
Price : $35.99 @ estate

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Part three of my Stellenbosch three-parter was spent at Thelema Mountain Vineyards with General Manager Thomas Webb, son of the owners Gyles and Barbara Webb.

The estate, situated on the Helshoogte Pass just outside of the city of Stellenbosch, was purchased in 1983 by Gyles Webb and family.  Gyles was an accountant until one day he decided to drop what he was doing and become a winemaker.  So he studied winemaking at Stellenbosch University and then spent some time working for various producers in South Africa and abroad, before purchasing the Thelema estate.  Today Gyles and his wife Barbara manage the estate along with his sister-in-law Jenny de Tolly.  Gyles also works as the Cellarmaster, in charge of winemaking.  Quick linguistic note … “Cellarmaster” is typically used in lieu of “Winemaker” in South Africa.  In other words, whereas in the US and France you’d have a Cellarmaster working under the Winemaker, in South Africa they are one in the same. (more…)

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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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