Three Glugged Whites
Edgebaston The Berry Box White 2013
Complexity and freshness rule in this, one of my perennial white favourites. David Finlayson is a master of the blend and has perfected a choral harmony from three varieties: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Sauvignon Blanc provides the typical bolt of zesty freshness, while the Sémillon gives a welcoming firm mouth-feel and educated waxiness.
Everything is, however, held together and perked-up by the sprinkling of Viognier. This variety adds perfume and an unctuous honey-comb delectability to the mix, harnessing all the components into a mouthful of beautifully clean, crisp and fruity-driven wine-drinking pleasure. A perfect start to the day is a glass of chilled Berry Box with smoked salmon and runny scrambled eggs.
Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc 2013
With all the hype around Mulderbosch – formerly Kanu – and its ode to Chenin Blanc, this wine came as a disappointment during dinner at Saigon Restaurant. It still boasts one of the best packaging presentations in the business, which the wine does not do justice to. Tired big volume Chenin Blanc such as this is about as interesting as the fine-print on your gym contract. A clunky mouth-feel suppresses fruit and vibrancy, and the wine is disappointingly lifeless and ordinary. Nothing wrong with plonk, but plonk with no balls is a cardinal sin.
De Wetshof Bateleur 2009
This wine is now truly one of the world’s great Chardonnays. Still made from plant material diplomatically smuggled in from the Clos des Mouches vineyard outside Beaune in Burgundy, the wine is an example of the regal character found in Chardonnay and to which other white varieties can only aspire. The wine spent 10 months in new wood, purely to sculpt the inherent fruit character into a seamless, yet roguishly individualistic force of a wine. Some wine commentators are questioning the existence of “minerality”, well they can suck on my pipette. The Bateleur has a chalky, pebbly nuance beneath the layers of citrus, grilled nuts and green stone fruit. White flowers abound on the nose, with a hint of crisp Egyptian cotton and a very passionate breath of dried persimmon leaf and Saluki puppy breath. This powerful, big and very Old World Chardonnay is best enjoyed with wild oysters, grilled galjoen and grilled lamb.
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