A Couple of Wines

When my wine agent from Wade Bales Wine Society called to flog me some wine, I was not as adventurous as in the past. This was courtesy of a hideous Shiraz I was persuaded to buy a few months back, a wine that should not have gotten past the Wine and Spirit Board, never mind Wine Society’s tasting panel.
In any event, in future I’ll stick to more known brands when buying, and when offered The Oak Valley Blend 2005, I bought 12 bottles.
I have fond memories of this grog. Upon it winning a gong from Wine Magazine in 2007, the rag’s award-winning journalist, Joanne Gibson, got me to cook a couple of lamb chops for an editorial. Needless to say, I skimped on the addition of wine to the sauce, preferring to down the stuff when Joanne and the photographer weren’t looking.
So here I find the same wine with a bit of age on it. It is a Merlot (69%) and Cabernet Franc (27%) dominated blend, with 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.
On the snozzle, the wine is absolutely stunning. A bit of reductiveness, but the stuff oozes cherry and violets. In fact, I’ll just admit to my shortcomings by admitting that I am very surprised there is not a dollop of Shiraz present.
In any event, the palate is not as forthcoming as the nose. Here it is as tight as a Michael Jackson spokesperson, although there is enough lean fruit, pencil shavings and dried prune to point towards a masterpiece in the making.
This is a milestone in cool climate red wine, something we are still going to taste a lot of.
As far as Shiraz goes, I popped a bottle of Boschendal 2007 from the Estate’s 1685 range the other night. Boschendal has moved its focus to Shiraz on the red side, with Sauvignon Blanc the wine of choice in the white spectrum.
Much of the fruit is sourced from the Faure area, which has a reputation for leatheriness and a jammy pong in some reds. The Shiraz grapes used in this Boschendal number, however, give just the right amount unctuousness tapered by a fantastic mineral character.
Bracing clean fruit is shoved to the fore, with the tannins obviously mellowed out by a concoction of old wood. It is clean. It has spice. It has depth. Fruit. And a seductive more-ishness.
Right now, I am chugging on a bottle of Vriesenhof Pinot Noir 2006. And, trust me, the going is good.
I had this wine a couple of months ago, and it had a bit of a vanilla pod on the nose and a roundness bordering on bland.
Man, am I singing a different tune as I watch the Confederations Cup Final.
Jan Boland Coetzee makes the earthy, most traditional Pinot Noirs in the land. And this 2006 model is heading in that direction. Pine needles. Mushroom. French bar-lady armpit. Note, heading. At the moment it is drinking beautifully, a young fruity tart with a hint of wine-gum, herb and a beautiful rapier-like tannin.
As far as the whites go, I downed an Oak Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008 during Saturday’s test between the Boks and Lions. The wine had a great balance between flinty and bracing Sauvignon Blanc refreshment and fennelly, gooseberry depth.
They really do make good stuff out in that neck of the woods, although I don’t like a classic wine like this closed with a piece of tin. It’s tasting great now, the 2008, but pongy screw-cap induced reductiveness, here we come.
Where Douglas Green? Well, the 2008 Chardonnay is right up there, that’s where.
This wine has the indisputable richness of the Chardonnay grape lifted with a refreshing and bracing accessibility. Call it an example of South African Chablis: no, we don’t have the intense chalky minerality, but boy, do we have the sun! And in this wine, it shines.

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