Foreign muck, and more local stuff

So indolent have I become about writing for this blog, so seemingly uninterested in communicating that even 144 characters for a Tweet has mostly seemed beyond me … I thought it might be a good idea to remind myself, and anyone else out there who might notice or care, of my wine-writerly existence by jotting down a few notes about some wines enjoyed and drunk over the past week or so. Not tasted, drunk.

I think Alex Dale of The Winery of Good Hope was irritated that I preferred the Radford Dale Syrah from Stellenbosch to the Nudity version (or perhaps the irritation was that I just didn’t sufficiently regard the label’s lighter, “natural” styles. Having recently thoroughly enjoyed the Stellenbosch Syrah 2011, I think I perhaps underrated even that in Platter – though I upped the rating by half a star the next year. Anyway, the 2011 is now drinking beautifully, certainly mellower and more harmonious than in its youth. It’s a good response (one of many, in fact) to those who doubt that Stellenbosch can do shiraz really  No hurry to drink up.

Nor is there with the Cordoba Crescendo 2004. This was, I think the last of that excellent cab franc-based wine off the Helderberg. It was sold pretty cheaply as I recall, with the most rudimentary of labels – and misspelt: “Cresendo” it says!. I bought a case and wish I’d bought more (the old story), as I now have only a few bottles left. Always one of the more elegant of the local Bordeaux blends. (If anyone knows what’s happening at Cordoba now, please let me know.)

That was the oldest of my recent local pleasures, but recently I had another 2004, this one from the Mosel: Reinhold Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese. Sometimes I think I’m going off this older-fashioned, sweetish style of German riesling, finding it easier to find a place for the drier versions that are what the Germans themselves almost exclusively drink at this level of quality. But on a warmly golden autumn evening (wishing it was pouring with rain!), to share a bottle of such poised and charming loveliness with an equally appreciative friend seemed like the acme of vinous pleasure. A month or two back, at a dinner party I served both a Spätlese and an even sweeter Auslese of similar sort of age with a smoked fish starter dish and that worked to everyone’s apparent delight. So perhaps I’m shifting my allegiance back  to this style. Nothing really like it locally, unfortunately, though there are a few decent drier rieslings – but not for keeping like these Germans.

Sadie Family’s Pofadder, in the Old Vine Series, was one of the earliest serious cinsauts of the modern generation when it came out in 2009. The 2010 is drinking well and gave much pleasure, though I think Pofadder has improved over the years, as Eben grapples successfully with its making. I suspect that of the wines I’ve mentioned thus far, this 2010 doesn’t have the longest future. Perhaps not unconnected with the fact that it certainly has the highest alcohol level – 14.5% declared; the two Stellenbosch reds both under 14%, and the Mosel a mere 8%!

And two infants which definitely deserved more than being, like Macduff from the womb, from their bottles untimely ripped. Momento Chenin Blanc Verdelho 2014, made by Marelise Niemann for her own label – at this time she was still winemaker at Beaumont. It’s still tight, but opening up with greater complexity, the 15% verdelho adding a herbal quality to the chenin. A very good Cape white.

Litigo is a collaboration between the great Peter-Allan Finlayson and Cape Town lawyer Eben van Wyk, which has taken on a new dynamic since their recent investment in a small Hemel-en-Aarde property. It’s only pinot so far, just a few barrels made each year since 2012. The Litigo Pinot Noir 2015 is richer and more powerful than previous vintages, good and rather serious stuff. It took a day to offer itself graciously, testament to its development potential: on the second evening it was everything a decent young pinot should be, with subtle perfume, plenty of fruit, understated oak – and a pretty good future.

And tonight, some more foreign muck. While I prepare the pasta, Lustau Papirusa Manzanilla Sherry (a year or two old, which some disapprove of); while I eat it, Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2007 – a modest vintage which should be hanging in there – if only just, going by previous bottles.

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