Sangiovese in the Cape

I am banned, so far as I know, from entering any of the Johann Rupert-owned wine farms, including not only L’Ormarins in Franschhoek but also his splendid vineyards on the Riebeekberg (which I had visited with Rosa Kruger when she was the Rupert viticulturist) and the very promising newer plantings in Elandskloof (which I have only seen across the valley from the great Kaaimansgat site) which should very soon be delivering some interesting pinot noir and other grapes.

Not that I was officially informed of my exclusion, but it was reported to me thus; apparently Mr R didn’t like the way I had been speaking about my understanding of certain situations at his Anthonij Rupert Wines. A great pity, for me, as Anthonij Rupert is clearly an ever-more important quality producer, as it continues to sort out some problems (the disappearance from the scene of bordelais guru Michel Rolland as consultant a few years back seems to have been a significant step forward – as it was at Rupert & Rothschild).

terra del capoBut I’ve been preparing some notes for a Mail & Guardian piece on red wines from “unusual” varieties and I felt that in all honesty I should try the Sangiovese which has for some years now been part of Rupert’s Italy-aligned Terra del Capo range. It’s been a while since I tasted it – and clearly I was not going to be allowed to visit the Franschhoek estate to do so, and even less were they going to send me a sample.

So this morning I spent R75.50 of my modest and hard-earned income and bought myself a bottle of the elegantly packaged Terra del Capo Sangiovese 2010.

Given that I shall be writing about it elsewhere I won’t give a full tasting note here – suffice it to say that it was money well spent, and I thoroughly enjoyed going much further down the bottle than mere duty required. Very stylish wine it is, packed with elegantly controlled raspberry and cherry fruit, and a fine local tribute to the classics of Chianti, sangiovese’s Tuscan heartland.

Going by climatic similarities alone, sangiovese should by now be a far more significant part of the Cape’s vinicultural scene than it in fact is. Terra del Capo – not a great wine, but a serious and good one – is sufficient proof of that.

One thought on “Sangiovese in the Cape

  1. Michel Rolland = vinous Godzilla, leaving destruction in his wake. I’m sure he meant well, but – wealth of knowledge notwithstanding – he was seemingly just too seduced by all the sun in Africa. It’s nice to see some wineries recovering from his influence.

    Good luck with your new blog, Tim!

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