When I do a tasting like this – and I try to avoid big, blind line-ups – I get somewhat amazed when my notes correspond to my established feelings about wines I have already reached opinions on. Quite often they do.
This tasting of Cape Winemakers Guild Wines involved tasting nearly 60 wines in two hours. That is – about two minutes per wine for me. (And some of the tasters finished well before I did.) When I compare that with how I agonise over many Platter decisions, it’s laughable. For Platter I will re-taste every single wine, however humble, and ponder for vastly more than two minutes. Most I will re-taste again the next day; some once again; I will seek second opinions on some. Admittedly the first impression – at least in terms of score – is often the lasting one; I suppose that’s where experience and practice counts!
But I persist in thinking that, for anyone, two minutes on a wine (which includes the time taken to scribble a note or two) is not really doing justice to terroir, vintage and winemaking passion.
However. Here, just in case anyone is interested, are my notes on most of the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines for 2013. The wines are arranged by score out of 20, and within that are given alphabetically.
Please be aware that my note on the Ernie Els wine disappeared, and I have no recollection of my opinion of it. And I decided at the end of the tasting that I was just too tired to try to do justice to the port, dessert white, and brandy – all of which seemed pretty good to me!
I have just written, and will post in a week or so, a short piece for the Mail & Guardian, in which I welcome this year’s wines enthusiastically. I’ve never given such a lot of high scores in the years we’ve been doing this blind tasting of the line-up. More whites proportionately has to be a good thing; fewer reds of the blockbuster type is even more encouraging.
The Guild has really joined the Great South African Wine Revolution, at last. Hurrah!
AA Badenhorst Family Wines Shiraz L.D.R. 2011. Med col. Shows fruit, elegance. Tannins but in control and in balance with sweet, good fruit, dry finish , elegant. 18
Ataraxia Under The Gavel Chardonnay 2012. Lovely ripe nose, full, modern, forceful, but beautifully balanced,lightly rich, with subtle phenolics. 18
Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2011. Good nose. Elegant. Youthful. Refined structure but retaining fruit. 18
Haskell Vineyards Paradigm 2008. [Bordeaux blend] Oak supportive but apparent on enticing nose. Deep colour. Well textured, good grippy tannins. Balanced, good length. Dry finish. Promising. Not overoaked, even a little freshness. 18
Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2012. Clean, fresh nose, well supported by subtle oaking. Powerful, youthful, but intense flavour, dry finish very long. Subtle wine. 18
Teddy Hall Maria van Swaanswijk Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2012. Cleanest, fruitiest nose, least oak intervention. Firm, standalone fruit, driven by fine acidity. Elegant, forceful. Good length. All ini harmony. Most harmonious of these. 18
Tokara Tribute 2012. [White Bordeaux Blend] Huge, aromatic nose. Most unusually generous. Blackcurrant. Similar flavours,full of charm. Lovely fresh acidity. Is there a hole in the middle? Just a touch of phenolics. Very lengthy. 18.
John Loubser Thirteen 2011. [White Bordeaux Blend] Balanced, lightly aromatic, lemony nose. Fresh, good balance, silky, tannic bite, but oak not obvious at all. 17+
Jordan Sophia 2010. [Bordeaux blend] Airy, fruitier style. Well integrated oak. Unpretentious lay drinkable. Firm but not exaggerated tannins. Restrained. A gentle, appealing warmth. Remarkably drinkable, but still room to go. 17+
Nitida Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Twenty Eight 2013. Bright nose. Lighter, mo elegant than others here. Nice lemony acid and length. 17+
Paul Cluver Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2012. Clean balanced nose. Fresh palate, no obvious oak, clean citrusy richness, no obvious oak again, which is nice. But a gentle tannin bite. Very silky, lovely. 17+
AA Badenhorst Family Wines Grenache Gris Vuilgoed 3 2012. Delicate, gently aromatic nose. Warm, flavourful, with nice acidic bite needs a year or two but good length, unagressive, unassertive. Modest in the best sense but not without ambition. Pure. 17
Boschkloof Auction Reserve Syrah 2011. Softly sweet good balance. Some elegance. Attractive. 17
De Grendel Wooded Sauvignon Blanc 2013. Charming, composed nose. More perfume. Very supple, acid just a little apart now – could integrate. 17
Edgebaston Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011. Oaky nose. But fruit shines through. Big, ripe, generous, but balanced. Tannins savoury, enticing, but still too big. A little too ripe and sweet. But successful of style. 17
Graham Beck Wines Non Plus Ultra Cap Classique 2008. Leesy nose. More complex than 1. Brighter acid. Elegant, forceful, more intensity. 17
Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2010. [Bordeaux blend] Medium deep, youthful looking. Oak driven nose – spicy, tobacco. Spicy palate, but balanced between oak and fruit. Not too massive, though modern. Tannins very youthful, need time. Finish a touch sweet-fruited. 17
Miles Mossop Wines Maximilian 2011. More fruit driven. Youthful. Clean un oaky nose. Fresh, ripe, with good acid. Not overroaked. Savoury, rather delicious, good dry finish. Mo classic style. Some elegance and restraint. More in modest direction. 17
Neil Ellis Auction Reserve 2011. [Cab-shiraz blend] Clean, sweet fruited nose. Pleasing, serious but unprentious. Good serious fruit tannins. Dry, but just needs time to become a lovely drinking food friendly wine. 17
Neil Ellis Auction Reserve Pinotage 2011. Attractive fruit nose. Not too heavy, some charm. All power under control. 17
Sijnn Syrah 2011. Good varietal nose. Fresh enough. Generic red-tobacco. Good dry tannins, very youthful, slightly sweet on finish but serious.17
Villiera Meteor Cap Classique 2008. Some development on nose. Fresh, appley, rounded rather than piercing. Good length. 17
Vriesenhof Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. Med deep. Classic nose. Good, modestly rich, oaking subordinate. Good flavours, quite fresh. 17
Waterford Estate 2009 Auction Reserve 2BB. [Bordeaux blend] Less deep. Fresh, lighter nose, not oaky, but cedar, pencil, subtle red-black fruits. Elegant, lighter palate, seriously gripping youthful tannins, some sweet fruit. Lifted finish. Nice. 17
Beyerskloof Traildust Pinotage 2011. Very big, showy, powerful. Good fruit. A bit sweet. Very ripe, impressive. 16+
Bouchard Finlayson Auction Reserve Domaine Chardonnay 2012. Light brandy orange notes, very varietal. A little sweet and cloying, with alcoholic heat. But good flavours, length, oak well integrated. 16+
Cape Point Vineyards Auction Reserve White 2012. Gentler nose. Gentle roundness, but a harsh edge, bit of roughness and warm finish. Ok rather than exciting. 16.5
De Grendel Op Die Berg Pinot Noir 2011. Reasonable fruit on nose, a hint of perfume. Supple, nicely balanced – though acid a bit dominant half way through subtle tannic force. Length. Might improve when knitted together better. 16+
Etienne le Riche Auction Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Med deep like pvs. Lots of oak on nose. Tobacco, spice. Big, powerful, good tannins, sweet fruit. Competent but uninteresting. 16+
Graham Beck Wines The Catalyst 2010. [Rhone red blend] Lovely frsh nose. Unspoiled by oak. Light charm, fresh, not exactly easy but shoud become o succulent tannin. Good acid. Unpretentious. 16+
Hartenberg Auction Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Ripe fruitiness, some subtle oak. Big, fruity, modern. Well balanced but far from elegant. Sweet finish. 16+
Haskell Vineyards Merlot 2010. Medium deep colour. Typical merlot nose, some choc, a little mint. Rather elegant at first. Power, but not overoaked or overripe. Subtle ripe tannins, not really complex as yet, but appealing and with room to go. 16+
Hermanuspietersfontein Vloekskoot Sauvignon Blanc 2012. Ripe but delicate nose, pear, some blackcurrant. Flavour follow through. Good vibrant acidity, well balanced. Textured. Good length. Grippy. 16+
Kaapzicht Cape Blend 2010. Syrah nose. Sweet fruit. Lightish, though bright acid and dry tannin not yet harmonized with sweet fruit. Too young to judge? Seems harmonious. 16+
Kleine Zalze 3 Expressions 2010. Nice fruit. Not overoaked. Quite big. Dry. 16+
Paul Cluver CWG Pinot Noir 2011. Light colour. Appealing purefruited nose, some perfume. Light, rather charming, but not much in the way of depth. Reasonable length. 16+
Rijk’s CWG Shiraz 2011. Youthful. Good fruit unspoilt. Soft, not too oaky, generous. Good tannin, acid. vry dry finish. 16+
Rust en Vrede CWG Estate 2010. [Rhone red blend] Generous, balanced. Sweet fruited. Bit thwarted. Softish, ripe, but firm acid and tannin with room to go. 16+
Spier Auction Reserve Frans K Smit 2010. [Bordeaux blend] Inky dark. Unforthcoming nose. Spicy oak shows. Ripe, big, massive, packed with dense tannin and also ripe sweet fruit. A stylistic choice. Could be more approachable in years. In fact it’s not unbalanced. The tannins dry, but not harshly drying. Impressive rather than graceful. 16+
The Drift We’re Here 2011. [Cape Blend from Bruce Jack] Nice enough. Good balance sweet fruit, dryish finish, not overoaked, good tannin and acid. 16+
Waterford Estate Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2011. Fresh nose, lots of vanilla, bit of oatmeal and also fennel. Balanced, maybe a lot of ripe power, but oak not as obvious on palate, shoud integrate. 16+
Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Shiraz 2011. Oaky, big, rich, good tannins. 16
Grangehurst Auction Reserve 2007. [Bordeaux blend] Some colour development showing. Oak dominates nose – tobacco, spice. And dominates palate,but there’s lots of fruit lurking, so the future might be interesting. Tannins a little too dry from the oak. 16
Groot Constantia Auction Reserve Shiraz 2010. Medium deep. Youthful. Clean, good fruit. Ok – a bit too ripe; full, rich, uninteresting. 16
Hartenberg Auction Reserve Shiraz 2010. Big, tannic, dense, too powerful. Impressive, but lacking grace. 16.
Lanner Hill Double Barrel White 2012. Quiet nose. Varietal lanolin. Acid separate, at end, but guiding. Needs to harmonise still, but good flavours, with subtle honeyed finish. 16
Luddite “Just Alice” Shiraz Mourvèdre 2010. Deep. Powerful, tannic, dense, hot finish, but not sweet. 16
Rijk’s CWG Chenin Blanc 2012. Forthcoming, oak influenced nose. Big, showy, undeniably impressive. But a touch too powerful and sweet. Unlovable. Finish definitely sweet. 16
Saronsberg Die Erf Shiraz 2011. Ripe, sweetish, powerful. 16
Bruce Jack Happy Hour 2009. Viog shows on nose – a touch coarse. Full, rich a bit too powerful and sweet. No obv oak. Sweet finish. Still a bit coarse. 15+
Saronsberg CWG Viognier 2011. Actually more delicate nose, a little dust from oak, dried peach. Charming, warm palate shading into too powerful,sweet, harsh finish. No delicacy here. 15+
Simonsig “The Russety One” Roussanne 2012. A little oak shows on nose and palate, but some nice fruit. Rather too big and ripe, with alcoholic glow on finish, and a bit sweet. 15+
Simonsig Heirloom Shiraz 2011. Standard blockbuster styling; too big, sweet, & powerful 15+
Vriesenhof Pinot Noir Bin 115 2008. A little funk. Developed colour. Good fruit on palate, but not too fruity. Balanced tannin, slightly sour acidic finish. Not a lot of charm, but not a lot of depth either.15+