I wanted wines from the World Cup vintage, not fleeting virginal un-wooded Sauvignon Blancs or Chenins, but something that had been given the full monty. Autolysis and batonage and wood, and time.
Fortunately in the release-them-quick environs of the South African wine industry, this is not hard to find. Actually, it is immensely easy. All you have to do is look like a writer, hack, blogger kind-of-thing, walk into a winery where you happen to know the owner-manager-PR-poppie, and Bob’s your Auntie?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+..an unlabelled bottle of 2010-whatever is yours, on the house.
This involuntary procurement was slightly harder at Glen Carlou and La Vierge, two cellars I popped into last week. At Glen Carlou I had to share quite a bit of bantering about the Cape Town U2 groupies with winemaker Arco Laarman before he decided the only way to get rid of me was to handover a bottle of 2010 Quartz Stone Chardonnay. La Vierge was even harder ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ I had to drive out all the way to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley to talk Flemish art films with manager Krige Visser in order for him to haul out the La Vierge Pinot Noir 2010. And then he got to drink half.
So, 2010 was not such as spectacular finesse-filled vintage as 2009. There were quite a bit of low pressure cells over the winelands during the early-budding stages, and then there was the unexpected warm north-easterly breeze during the evenings of 24 August and 12 October causing a bit of molecular unrest in the vines’ root-tips. But apart from that, I can’t see why the 2010 is being knocked.
The Glen Carlou Quartz Stone Chardonnay has always been a killer Chardonnay, ever since I cracked the first bottle with David Finlayson, former Glen Carlou cellarmaster and GM. With the grapes lying in the valley below the Simondium road, they are not exactly cool climate. But then, just like a Ukrainian belly-dancer and a raw sirloin, Chardonnay loves heat. And you can taste it in the wine.
The Quartz Stone is ripe and unashamedly opulent, Meursault with balls. Even at its young age the 2010 is showing deep classical traits. Check out the rich golden hue as it lies in the glass. Smell the heady aroma of wet stones, organic mango leaves and Chanel No 5. In the mouth it cries out voluminous verses of grilled nuts, butter-and-sage sauce, honeycomb, royal jelly and dried ruby grapefruit. A smidgen of toasty oak is still apparent, but this is going to dissipate after a decant, or will be gone when the wine is on the market in few months’ time. Fuck it. Now that’s what I call a Chardonnay.
Heading over to La Vierge I was very impressed by the Pinot Noir Krige had chosen to accompany his dissertation and general musings on life. Okay, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is to Pinot Noir what Natalie Portman is to silk knickers, in other words, the two are known to fit one another quite nicely. But I was most impressed by the individuality stored in this little La Vierge number.
Gently oaked, the wood was but a distant memory. On the nose it was an immensely mature little wine, like a Wosa employee coming across much older than it actually is. The nose was brimming classical New World Pinot Noir smells of shitake mushroom, pimento and crushed mulberry. In the cakehole a rush of fresh acidity opens up the sensory buds, allowing you to experience a riveting sensation of spice, red fruit, watermelon carpaccio with a hint of marinated Madagascar butterfly wings.
The structure is, as they say Cape Town way, in the zone. All nicely balanced in tuning fork clarity, making the world a better place for loving wine and embracing your neighbour, singing songs of peace and sitting down under the woods to tell tales of years gone by.
Flemish cinema, however, still sucks.