Tasting Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: February 13, 2018

Wine: Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons – Baron Edmond

Origin: Stellenbosch

Varietal: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 2014

Rupert and Rothschild.  Such a well known, strong brand.  From the most experienced of wine drinkers to weekend wine socialites…R&R (as it’s often referred to) have established themselves as a well-known, reliable brand best known for their heavy hitting, often weighted, “I need a steak stat” reds.

This particular bottle, is on the pricey side going for an average or R499 per bottle.  Buy it as an investment if you will, or enjoy the hell out of it now…but perhaps this conclusion should come at the end of my notes?

For me, this wine is deep and meaningful.  It is indeed heavy, and it is pensive.  It’s a fireside wine, but also so much more.

On the nose: bright berry fruits, blackberry, bramble, black plum, some recurrent, raspberry and even some strawberry (stewed).  A whole plethora of fruits!  Moving to the vegetal side, there are notes of green bell pepper and mint.  Spice?  Yes!  Freshly ground black pepper with a side of cowboy leather.

The palate follows through perfectly, everything matches.  Even more spice in the mouth, in fact it grows more complex with the oak showing it’s true colours.  Toast, cedar and smoke.  Slight tertiary flavours such as walnut, chocolate and forest floor.  Intensity on the nose, clearly high.

Acid: Medium plus.  Tannins: Medium plus.  Alcohol: Medium plus.  Sweetness: Dry.  Intensity: High.  Body: Full.  Finish: Long.

This is a clever wine, showing great diversity but has so much crowd pleasing ability…it’s no wonder it’s a hit with the masses.

Enjoy now or drink 5-10 years from now.  Damn!


 

Date: February 8, 2018

Wine: Steenberg Catharina

Origin: Cape Town, South Africa

Varietal: Merlot (80%), Syrah (16%), Petit Verdot (4%)

Vintage: 2015

On the nose, this wine is pleasantly aromatic and fierce.  It takes me home to the forests of British Columbia – pine needles, wet soil, moist moss and burning maple wood.  There are dark fruits such as black current and black plum with some soft side notes of cloves and nutmeg.

 

On the palate, everything above follows through but is greeted with additional flavours of cigar box, flint, burnt toast, baked black cherries, raisins and leather.

This is a complex and interesting red blend.

Acid: Medium Plus.  Body: Full.  Alcohol: High.  Intensity: High.  Length: pleasantly long with a slight burn on the palate.  Sweetness: Dry.  Tannins: Medium plus.

This wine has major ageing potential and will only gain in complexity with time.

Drink and enjoy now or tuck it away in your cellar and see where it goes!

 


 

Date: February 5, 2018

Wine: Jordan Origami (No Added Sulphur)

Origin: Stellenbosch, South Africa

Varietal: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Vintage: 2016

This red blend was created exclusively for Woolworths Foods.  Woolworth’s has an impressive, carefully crafted wine selection that they keep well stocked and diverse.  I love taking a side step into the wine section whenever I pay ‘Woolies’ a visit (even when I’m just doing a bread and milk run).

The nose on this wine is extremely spicy and pungent.  Black fruits such as blackberries, black cherries and black current overwhelm the senses.  There are some medicinal notes, like mint and even cough syrup…the fruity kind.

The palate is striking and young.  Ground black pepper and an overwhelming amount of black cherry; the soft, mushy ones.

Acidity: Medium Plus.  Alcohol: High.  Tannins: Medium Minus.  Body: Medium.  Intensity: Medium.  Finish: Medium Minus.

This is a “sulphur free” wine.  Sulphur is a controversial additive in winemaking.  Essentially, sulphur protects grapes/wine from becoming oxidized throughout the winemaking process.  It also kills unwanted yeasts and bacteria.  So what’s so bad about sulphur?  Well, some people are allergic to it, and some even claim it’s a big reason for your hangover (I hate to break it to you…but it’s not the sulfites…it’s because you over indulged!).  So are sulfites actually harmful?  With regards to the quantities found in wine…no.  That being said, some winemakers believe commercially added sulfites keep a wine from truly expressing itself.  There is a steady progression towards producing more simplistic and “terroir-driven” wines, which is wonderful.  Ridding of sulphur in the production process is a step forward in the natural wine movement.  Is natural wine for everyone?  No.  However, in the case of this wine and Woolworths

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specific health-conscious customers, this is a great fit.  They probably sell a lot just due to the ‘sulphur free’ aspect alone (and oodles
more if people are buying it because they think they won’t get a hangover!).

The wine is named ‘origami’ after the Japanese art form as it relates to the ideals of natural winemaking by way of stark beauty, natural ageing and profound grace.

I believe this wine will be best enjoyed now.  At the reasonable price point of R89 per bottle, it’s a great ‘crowd pleasing’ wine to bring out for big social gatherings and dinners.

 


 

Date: February 4, 2018

Wine: Charles Fox, Méthode Cap Classique, Brut

Origin: Elgin, South Africa

Varietal: Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay)

Vintage: 2013

This MCC (South Africa’s term for sparkling wines made in the traditional method) was aged for a minimum of 36 months in the cellar.  The final product is a blend of carefully selected Chardonnay cuvées.

Lying 70km South West of Cape Town sits Elgin.  The region is not only a growing hotspot for wine, it is also well known for producing 60% of the countries apples.  Elgin is one of the coolest regions in the entire country, and vines have found great joy growing here.  Cool climate Chardonnay’s, such as this are thriving in the area.

The cool climate of Elgin has greatly influenced the finished wine.  Crisp Granny Smith apples (what a coincidence), ripe green pears and freshly sliced green melon.  The fruits on this wine are fresh, ripe and green!  Distinct aromas from it’s lengthy aging overwhelm your nose with brioche, crushed almonds and mature gruyere cheese.  It’s like inhaling the smells from a raw pile of bread dough that’s just been dusted with a fresh layer of flour.  The fresh flour flies up your nose and awakens all senses.

Palate: even more green apple and loads of raw dough.  The acidity is extremely high but pleasant and mouthwatering…like that first bite of a fresh green apple.  Alcohol: medium (12.5%).  Body: light.  Intensity: high.  Finish: it goes forever.  Sweetness: bone dry.

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This MCC is a quiet gem that I wish I discovered sooner.  It’s got miles left in the tank and will only grow in complexity as it lays on its side and watches the years float by.

Would I recommend this wine?  Absolutely!  This MCC is downright sexy and vocalizes what South African bubbles are all about…quality, strength and endurance.