aka Whale of a Wine
Southern Right 2006 Walker Bay Pinotage, $19
Purchased two years ago at Johannesburg airport prior to an 18-hour flight back to the U.S. after learning the authorities would actually let me take it in my carry-on. This starts out with some VA on the nose, which I imagine is to be expected with Pinotage, but it’s not too much, and there’s plenty of dark fruit, chocolate, smoke, earth and even a touch of flowers to keep it in check. On the palate, there’s nice dark fruit, rich but not cloying, with chocolate, spice, smoke, herbal and earth accents. This is very well-balanced with good complexity, decent acidity and some tannic structure. The idea of an elegant Pinotage sounds like an oxymoron but I think it actually applies here. And it makes an excellent match with homemade chimichangas. I would gladly buy this again if I could find it; I’ve seen Southern Right’s Sauvignon Blanc here, so I imagine the Pinotage gets imported, too.
Wildekrans 2005 Walker Bay Cabernet Franc-Merlot, $11
There’s not a lot on the nose at first (popped straight out of the cellar and might have been a touch too cold) but gradually, a mix of cedar and herby/bell peppery cab franc fruit emerges. On the palate, there is decent red berry CF fruit with some herbal and bell peppery elements, along with some cedar, and then turning into a very earthy, somewhat bitter finish. This is fairly light-bodied and almost seems a bit diluted, but there is decent structure provided by tannins and bright acidity. Overall, I like it and it’s a decent value. Goes very well with a chick pea/feta casserole.
Glen Carlou 2004 Paarl Grand Classique, $14
Tasted at my wine store on Saturday. This is a Bordeaux blend and it has classic cedary Bordeaux-style aromas and flavors. It’s well-balanced and seems to be made with restraint. In fact, it tastes more Old World than New to me. At this price, I bought some.