The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5074

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:54 pm

Interesting article by Eric Asimov in today's NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/dining/reviews/21wine.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
User avatar
User

Ruth B

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

131

Joined

Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:32 am

Location

Alberta Canada

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Ruth B » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:20 pm

We have South African wine loving friends who have opened some really stellar bottles for us over the years, including some that made the sea voyage when they moved.
Locally we see mostly inexpensive wines, but the Ernie Els wines are available. They carry a heftier price tag but IMHO are the best wine on the market with a golfers' name on the label ... :D

Ruth
Ruth
Just North of Nowhere
Alberta Canada
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22400

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:24 pm

Ruth B wrote:the Ernie Els wines are available. They carry a heftier price tag but IMHO are the best wine on the market with a golfers' name on the label


And they choke in competitions, just like their namesake. :wink:
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Salil

Rank

Franc de Pied

Posts

2808

Joined

Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:26 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Salil » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:31 pm

I've had mixed experiences with South African Cabs/Bdx blends - have come across a few that were either very green and vegetal or too heavily oaked for my liking. Some of the others I've had like Nederburg's and the Meerlust Rubicon have been sensational wines that hit well above their price points and have really raised my interest in what's being produced around the Cape. Interesting article - good to see more focus on the Cape area.

David M. Bueker wrote:And they choke in competitions, just like their namesake. :wink:

Funny, didn't know that South African golfers are also famous for choking. I thought it was a trait just limited to their cricket team (at least when World Cups were concerned). :D
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22400

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by David M. Bueker » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Just Ernie Els.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
no avatar
User

Mark Kogos

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

315

Joined

Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:16 am

Location

Sydney Australia

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Mark Kogos » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:10 pm

BIll, for better or worse, with South African business partners, I now travel regularly to SA. Over the course of a couple of trips, I have driven all around Stollenbosch and been luck enough to be in Jo'burg for their annual wine expo. There is no doubt they are making some really interesting wines at present so I have cut over a write up from an earlier post together with a couple of additions from recent trips.

On the first trip we started out with a visit Haskell Wine and Rianie, the winemaker is passionate about her wines and will happy spend an hour or so talking you through her superbly made wines. So first up if you get to Stollenbosh, head to Annadalee road with Haskell at the top of the road on the right hand fork. http://www.haskellvineyards.com/index.jsp

They make a superb Boulder Rd Shiraz. The 05 pick up double gold which I am told in SA is a very good thing with two golds being better than one. Very much in a cooler climate style, soft tannins and red cherry flavours supported by white pepper notes. Excellent drop and just sad I had to give my bottle to the lovely lady at Customs in SA because I forgot you can no longer take bottles on board planes.

Also tried two very different chardonnay. The 05 having gone through malo treatment whilst the 06 had none. Of the two, I preferred the 05 with its butterscotch palate and suspect in future they may do a 50/50 mix. The 06 being more in the linear citrus new world style.

Further down the mountain, we also stopped in Ernie Els winery. No sign of the Man but a very impressive set up with stunning views from the tables set out the front on the patio. Tried all the wines but the one to go for is their flagship drop names after Ernie: Ernie Els. Excellent bordeaux style this wine is no shrinking violet. big French oak, long cassis palate, cigar box and even some pencil shaving for those that seek pencils. The one bottle I did get back through those diligent men and women at Australian Customs will go to the back of the cellar for the next 15 years. The other main wines being the Proprietors blend of cab/shiraz was ok but not up to similar Aus styles of this blend. Also next door so to speak was the wellknow and justly so Rust en Verde. Lovely cab sav style and worth a bottle or two with one of the BIG steak the boks spend all their time eating.

At the bottom of the hill was the historic Weberburg Wines with its white washed Cape Town buildings dating back to 1796. Fantastic lodging for those seeking some where to stay. The straight Cab Sav was a good wine without being exceptional. Slightly two dimensional and lacking in fruit and comlexity, it is still nevertheless worth a visit.

On a subsequent trip we journeyed to Thelma wine for lunch. Serving some of the best food in South Africa, springbok with a lobster sauce, the views back down the valley over the vineyards to the ocean beyound are stunning.

With a business partner who is passionate about his wines and a cellar to match, the 10 days produced a great intro into South African wines. First up Chardonays. My pick of the tour was a superb drop by Ataraxia 05. Apparently the wine of the moment in SA and with good reason, it is in built in the Leewin Estate style, great length, with stunning citrus flavours and excellent length structure. I would happy put this up against any modern Aus style Chard.

Next and a completely different style was the Springfield Estate Methode Ancienne. As John Platter (the SA wine critic guru/god) describes it, "extreme winemaking taken to the extreme limit... "inspired by ancient Burgundy" and a native yeast ferment. This wine caused huge debate at the table. The host hated, I loved it and the others were just confused. Any forumites out in SA have to give it a crack if only once.

At the wine expo we started with chardonnays. First up, the Jordan Nine Yards Reserve, one of the granddaddys of the SA wine biz. Big new world style, excellent grape selection with great comlexity and length and fuller overall style. Also worth tracking down Bouchard Finlayson Croc Liar Chard and Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. The latter having undergone malo but retained elegance.

In terms of riesling, these are very much out of fashion although I did try a very good 98 rielsing from Klein Constania with German like residual sweetness.

The other big grape category is the Pinotage. This was really interesting. Top of the list for me was the Diemersfontein with its amazing chocolate covered coffee bean style although one winemaker was kind enough to inform me this wine was developed for the masses and undermined the intregity of the grape ( sounded like sour grapes to me). Also tried some older Pinotage care of friends. The Kanonkop 92 Pinotage shows that this wine if well made can easily last 20 years. At this age, the tannins have softened and the wine takes on a subtle complexity built around its choc/coffee flavours.

The one observation from an evening at the WineX is that Brett remains a major problem for many wineries. A number of the wines at the show had that whiffy barnyard nose that is thankfully missing from Aus wines. I have never really understood this condition when raised by the Brettanazis on this site but I really understood it after an hour of random tasting in SA. I asked a couple of winemakers and most were prepared to admit in the older wineries this problem is more common than most would be prepared to admit

No doubt the most stunning SA wine I have had so far however has been the Sadie Columella 2003. A boutique wine with cul tlike status in SA, it is a blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre from a range of soil types. The nose is whilst the palate has dark fruit and wonderful complexity overlaid by a chocolatey character and integrated oak.
Miss dhem Saints.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5074

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Bill Spohn » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:19 pm

Yeah, I have the Sadie 2003 and 2004 Columella - any idea when they will be raedy for prime time?

My favourite cabs from SA include the Rust en Vrede Estate wine, Kanonkop Paul Sauer, Vergelegen Estate wine, Stellenryck, De Toren Fusion V, Delheim Grand Reserve, Stellenzicht estate wine, and some of the older Nederberg aution wines - R163 from the 80s.
no avatar
User

Mark Kogos

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

315

Joined

Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:16 am

Location

Sydney Australia

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Mark Kogos » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:27 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Yeah, I have the Sadie 2003 and 2004 Columella - any idea when they will be raedy for prime time?

My favourite cabs from SA include the Rust en Vrede Estate wine, Kanonkop Paul Sauer, Vergelegen Estate wine, Stellenryck, De Toren Fusion V, Delheim Grand Reserve, Stellenzicht estate wine, and some of the older Nederberg aution wines - R163 from the 80s.

Heck I could drink the Sadie any day of the week. From the bottle I had, I am not sure they go into a dumb phase just continue to improve.

On another trip we went up to Franschhoek which is the most beautiful little town in the Stollenbosch region. After lunch we went out to Rust en Verde Winefarm. Great set up. As for the the Paul Sauer, I brought back a 92 I had been given and took it to lunch with some friends. At the beginning of lunch, I proudly displaced my prize wine from SA and told my 2 companions that this was a superb example of Pinotage. As lunch went on we all enjoyed this new found grape until one of the guys decided to read the back label "You blonker" he said," this ain't bleeding pinotage, it cabernet!" :oops: Never mind, it was still a bloody good wine though.
Miss dhem Saints.
no avatar
User

keith prothero

Rank

Wine geek

Posts

68

Joined

Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:21 pm

Location

UK and South Africa

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by keith prothero » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:12 pm

There are many fine producers of Cabernet in the Cape with three of my favourite being Le Riche,Thelema and Vergelegen. Ernie Els although very good is way overpriced and you are paying partly for the "Big Easy" name.
The most promising varietals in my view are Syrah and Chenin and I urge people not familiar with the Cape to try some of the fine wines made here now.
no avatar
User

Kyrstyn Kralovec

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

642

Joined

Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:50 pm

Location

Washington DC, Oregon bound

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Kyrstyn Kralovec » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:58 pm

This post makes me really want to go back to South Africa. What a beautiful place, especially around the Cape. The game is unparalleled, and we were consisitently impressed by the quality of wines served and the knowledge of the staff serving, whether in the wineries or in the restaurants. I've got a bottle of the '04 Thelema "The Mint" that I brought back, and I'm just waiting for the right occasion to open it.
I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. ~John Galt
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26666

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Jenise » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:16 pm

Great--now maybe Americans will think about buying and tasting more So African wine. These wines deserve more attention than they typically get here.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5074

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Bill Spohn » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:20 pm

Jenise wrote:Great--now maybe Americans will think about buying and tasting more So African wine. These wines deserve more attention than they typically get here.


Of course then they'll get more reviews which result in points which result in increased prices and less availability and then we'll have to go find some other area to look to for good reasonably priced wine (I got dibs on Cahors - they don't make ANY decent wine there so every keep their paws OFF!).
no avatar
User

Covert

Rank

NOT David Caruso

Posts

3439

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:17 pm

Location

Albany, New York

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Covert » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:00 pm

Nope, the world’s already all positioned with relation to Cabernet Sauvignon. And nothing is harder to change than the human mind. No other region area will ever top Northern California, and more specifically, Napa Valley. Even if a Cab was better from somewhere else, the mind couldn’t register it so.

I happen to like South African Cabs second only to those in Bordeaux blends, and better than California’s offerings, for the reasons mentioned in the NYT. Come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing the notorious “rubber” reference mentioned; although it must have been. I like this and other funky elements of South Africa’s Cab, as well as the good structure. Most people wouldn’t.
no avatar
User

Lou Kessler

Rank

Doesn't buy green bananas

Posts

3003

Joined

Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:20 pm

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Lou Kessler » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:58 pm

I wouldn't worry about a shortage or the prices going up on any new wines at this time with our economy being what it is. Just getting people to try anything new that's over 15 bucks will be a problem. Conservative buying is where were at this time. :(
User avatar
User

Salil

Rank

Franc de Pied

Posts

2808

Joined

Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:26 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Salil » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:14 am

Covert wrote:Nope, the world’s already all positioned with relation to Cabernet Sauvignon. And nothing is harder to change than the human mind. No other region area will ever top Northern California, and more specifically, Napa Valley. Even if a Cab was better from somewhere else, the mind couldn’t register it so.

I believe some people said some very similar things about Bordeaux a number of years ago. Western Australia, Coonawarra and South Africa are producing world-class Cabs at prices that are often far better (for consumers) than what Bdx and Napa have to offer right now. Here's hoping - for our sake - that this continues and that the likes of Wynn's, Meerlust, Cullen, Vasse Felix and co. keep making stellar wines.
no avatar
User

keith prothero

Rank

Wine geek

Posts

68

Joined

Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:21 pm

Location

UK and South Africa

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by keith prothero » Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:29 am

Good to see such positive comments about a region and its wines that I fell in love with when visiting in 2000. So much so that I now own my own winery,and live 6 months a year here. Our first vintage will be released in the USA later this year although we are still looking for a good importer for Canada.Have a look at the mullineux wines website and let me know what you think.
no avatar
User

Mark Kogos

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

315

Joined

Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:16 am

Location

Sydney Australia

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Mark Kogos » Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:17 am

keith prothero wrote:Good to see such positive comments about a region and its wines that I fell in love with when visiting in 2000. So much so that I now own my own winery,and live 6 months a year here. Our first vintage will be released in the USA later this year although we are still looking for a good importer for Canada.Have a look at the mullineux wines website and let me know what you think.

I look forward to heading up your way on a future trip, heaven knows I will be there soon enough. Do you know Grant Hobbs over at Haskill wines? His shiraz is excellent.
Miss dhem Saints.
no avatar
User

robs_r

Rank

Wine geek

Posts

66

Joined

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:31 am

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by robs_r » Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:20 pm

Hi all!

Talking about South African Cabernet - my lovely wife decided to expand my New World Wine Horizon and gifted me a selection of South African Wines for Christmas.
Being the Old World Drinker that I am (not least because of availability and prices here in Austria) I am quite looking forward to tasting and drinking the most appreciated gifts (with her, of course!).

It should be quite clear now that I know nothing at all about South African wine but maybe some one here can expand my horizon by giving some opinions on the wines that are waiting for me.

- Overgauuw Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
- Laibach Friedrich Laibach 2001 (Bordeaux Blend)

There are som mor ein the gift case but I'd like to stay on the Cabernet Sauvignon theme and won't ask about Pinotage :-).

Best Regards
Robert
Robert Ruzitschka
Vienna, Austria
User avatar
User

Ruth B

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

131

Joined

Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:32 am

Location

Alberta Canada

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Ruth B » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:07 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
Of course then they'll get more reviews which result in points which result in increased prices and less availability and then we'll have to go find some other area to look to for good reasonably priced wine (I got dibs on Cahors - they don't make ANY decent wine there so every keep their paws OFF!).


Bill, no worries, the funk on Cahors scares off most folks--you can safely purchase yours in BC and I'll grab what I can in Alberta! It is still pretty affordable and for those of you who have not tried it -- YOU WON'T LIKE IT!
Ruth
Just North of Nowhere
Alberta Canada
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

5074

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Bill Spohn » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:24 pm

Ruth B wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:Bill, no worries, the funk on Cahors scares off most folks--you can safely purchase yours in BC and I'll grab what I can in Alberta! It is still pretty affordable and for those of you who have not tried it -- YOU WON'T LIKE IT!


Yup, horrid stuff. Same with Madiran - absolute funk city.

I think I'll have to uncork mine and pour it out! Maybe into a glass.....
no avatar
User

Brian K Miller

Rank

Passionate Arboisphile

Posts

7145

Joined

Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:05 am

Location

Northern California

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Brian K Miller » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:23 pm

Interesting discussion-thank's all!

I know this is probably an unfashionable mass produced wine???? given that it available at our local (albeit "better") supermarket-but is the Warwick Cab (about $25 here in NoCal) worth it? Is it any good?
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach
User avatar
User

Peter May

Rank

Pinotage Advocate

Posts

2174

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:24 pm

Location

Snorbens, England

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Peter May » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:38 am

Didn't think much of the article, and especially the associated blog.

Saying that SA produces a lot of ho-hum sauvignon blanc. Personally, I’d love to see more chenin blanc and less sauvignon blanc. puzzles me. SA produces brilliant Sauvignon Blanc but not at the expense of Chenin; there's more Chenin in SA than anywhere else in the world. Asking for more implies he just doesn't know and certainly hasn't tasted enough. (I agree Chenin doesn't get the respect from the public that I think it deserves, but SA is making more than enough of it and no consumer has complained they couldn't get any)

Saying that increasingly its producers are focusing on cabernet sauvignon again is just is so wrong. They've been making Cab & Cab Sauv blends forever and used to think that was their strength and future. No Eric, the focus now is on Shiraz and warmer climate varieties.

He says that the track record is slim. We don’t know yet how these wines will age, while I accept he is talking about the few producers he tasted, this ignores 350 years of continuous wine production and the fact there are many old SA Cabs available to taste had he wanted.

Lastly, his blog says I’ve yet to find a hard-core pinotage fan club. Since the Pinotage Club website ( http://www.pinotage.org ) has been active for more than 11 years on the web and is thus easily findable on Google, I find it hard to give any weight to this lightweight article and had it not been backed by the respectibility of the New York Times, it would be completely dismissible
no avatar
User

Covert

Rank

NOT David Caruso

Posts

3439

Joined

Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:17 pm

Location

Albany, New York

Re: South Africa the next Cabernet Sensation?

by Covert » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:52 am

Salil Benegal wrote:
Covert wrote:Nope, the world’s already all positioned with relation to Cabernet Sauvignon. And nothing is harder to change than the human mind. No other region area will ever top Northern California, and more specifically, Napa Valley. Even if a Cab was better from somewhere else, the mind couldn’t register it so.

I believe some people said some very similar things about Bordeaux a number of years ago. Western Australia, Coonawarra and South Africa are producing world-class Cabs at prices that are often far better (for consumers) than what Bdx and Napa have to offer right now. Here's hoping - for our sake - that this continues and that the likes of Wynn's, Meerlust, Cullen, Vasse Felix and co. keep making stellar wines.


I'm not talking about some folks, I am talking about Everyman, who makes or breaks commerciality. Most people do not even know that there is Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 1 guest

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign