Archive for February, 2011

February 2011: South Africa

Over past several years of being on the Tasting Circle panel, Fernando has picked South African wines — blind — out of mixed country lineups, proclaiming: “This wine is from the great land of South Africa!”  How does he know? What makes wines from this part of the world special?  The three panelists this month (Ken O’Hara, A&B Imports (which began importing exclusively South African wines); Fernando Martinez; local chef (lived & worked in South Africa); Jens Strecker, Portalis Wines (who also lived & worked in South Africa back in his emergency doc days) are all big fans of South African wines & had pretty much rave reviews for this lineup of South African wines currently available in the Seattle marketplace.  Here’s a link to the 3 panelists “unveiling” their favorite wine at the tasting.  Below are rankings/tasting notes on all the wines: 

Ken O’Hara, Fernando Martinez & Jens Strecker

Boekenhoutskloof 2008 Syrah (94 points) 
Region: Frankschhoeck, South Africa;  Varietal: Syrah
$54.99 | Mixed Case $43.99
Tasting Notes: N: Northern Rhône aromas of bacon fat & garrigue, wet hair & in the distance someone is grilling meats!  P: Bold marionberry & blueberry with Eastern spices, espresso, dried bark & black tea.  Intense!  (Ken)  Tasting Notes: Dark Bordeaux style of red.  Violet & cloves.  Bacon & chocolate on the palate.  Nice perfume of blackberries.  A touch of sweetness, firm structure, great finish.  (Fernando)

Boekenhoutskloof 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (93 points) 
Region: Frankschhoeck, South Africa; Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
$54.99 | Mixed Case $43.99
Tasting Notes: N: Toasted coconut, thyme, blueberry – somewhat muted, young?  P: Rick black fruit flavors, bitter-sticks, huge herbal complexity, graphite minerality & gripped tannins. (Ken) Tasting Notes:  Beautiful nose of fresh vine, black currants, dark cherries with herbed components.  Fantastic!  Super-complex, elegant, with fantastic concentration & acidity.  Beautiful flavor profile of red & dark fruits.  Fine tannins on the long finish.  Tastes like a really good cab sauv. (Jens)

De Toren 2007 Fusion V (93 points)  $54.99 Stellenbosch
Region: Stellenbosch, South Africa; Varietal: Cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, merlot, petite verdot
$54.99 | Mixed Case $43.99
Tasting Notes:  Superb color.  Smells like you are in a flower garden with fruit trees around you.  Wonderful texture & concentration.  This is the real deal.  Well integrated acidity.  Fantastic flavors of mainly black fruit (black, blue & boysenberries), with floral notes.  Fresh, vibrant with lots to give – delicious down the years!  (Jens)  Tasting notes: Ink dark, bright beautiful color.  Cloves & Chinese spices aromas with blueberry tones.  Aromas of flowers.  Firm tannins; red meat flavors.  Delicious big red!! (Fernando)

Spice Route 2008 Chakalaka (92 points) 
Region: Swartland, South Africa; Varietal: Syrah/Carignan/Mourvedre
$22.99 | Mixed Case $18.39
Tasting Notes: Elegant nose of dark fruit, blackberries, anise & a touch of licorice.  This is very elegant & complex with very good acidity & structure.  Wonderful flavors of dark fruit, blackberries, boysenberries & a hint of smoke & herbs.  Ultra-fine tannins on the finish. (Jens)  Tasting Notes: Dark cherry color & concentrated black fruit.  Flowers on the nose.  Blackberries, cinnamon & a touch of chocolate.  Very sophisticated red; great balance, full body. (Fernando)

Badenhurst Family 2009 Secateurs Blend (91 points) 
Region: Coastal Region, South Africa; Varietal: Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cinsault
$19.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | $15.99
Tasting Notes: More delivered nose with beautiful dark fruit – Smooth, medium-bodied, elegant – Great texture and acidity.  Beautiful, dark fruit in the mid-palate.  Fine tannins on the finish. (Jens)  Tasting Notes: Dark red color, licorice and candied fruit on the nose.  Dry with some hard tannins.  Strawberries on the palate and a long finish.  Very unusual for a South African red. (Fernando)

Black Pearl Vineyards 2007 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon (89 points) 
Region: Pearl, South Africa; Varietal: Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon
$22.99 | Mixed Case $18.39
Tasting Notes: Bright color. Black fruit of the nose, some chocolate and meat aromas; a touch of sweet raspberries and fresh grass.  Medium body with soft tannins. (Fernando)  Tasting Notes: N: Roasted meat, grilled sausages, cranberry, minty.  P: Chunky, tarry meat flavors with a tart pomegranate fruit flavor. (Ken)

De Toren 2007 Z (89 points) 
Region: Stellenbosch; Varietal: Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot
 $31.99 | Mixed Case $25.59
Tasting Notes: Superb color – lots of very inviting dark, black fruit & lots of floral notes on the nose.  Fantastic acidity, elegant & complex; well formed.  Beautiful black fruit flavors with floral, smoky & herbal notes.  Very long finish with amazing live tannins.  (Jens’ favorite with 96pts; clearly by the average score above, the other 2 weren’t that taken.)  Tasting Notes:  Opaque red color; dark aromas & a bit of South African taste.  Bouquet of red fruit & smoke as well.  Old school!!  (Fernando)

Finlaysan Family Vineyards 2009 The Pepper Pot  (86 points) 
Varietals: Syrah, mourvedre, tannat 
$16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59
Tasting Notes: Spicy red & dark fruit up front – lovely texture & acidity.  Smooth, medium-bodied with beautiful red and dark fruit (raspberries, blackberries & dark cherries).  Not very deep but very drinkable.  (Jens)  Tasting Notes: N: reductive, tarry.  P: tar & blackberry, mulberry, smoky. (Ken)


February 24, 2011 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment