So there you have it, the gurus are back in Gauteng: 4000Km traveled, 75 wineries visited, 90 producers covered, over 600 wines sampled. The bugs have been scraped off the windscreen. The chip packets and crumpled Coke cans thrown into the trash. Bogies mobile carwash has been booked and copious amounts of ProHep have been swallowed.
While the GVG does his accounts and the Vineyard Connection does the consolidation of a week’s worth of orders – 240 dozen – all that remains is to suggest four six packs of wine for those prepared to venture to the wrong side of the mountain, to put flavor before fashion and economy above ego.
Case I: Fun Under Forty Reds
1. Slanghoek Winery Camerca 2007 R21: no snake-oil story but rather a light, juicy, easy drinking blend of Cabernet and Merlot.
2. Riebeek Cellars Barbarossa Cabernet 2005 R25: a cut-price pirate from the Swartland with impressive tannins.
3. Wamakersvallei Winery Bain’s Way Merlot 2007 R27.50: although made by wagon makers, not overwooded; spice, olives and meat lead a fruity chorus.
4. Mooiplaas Berry Red 2007 R27.50: a spicy blend made for the Dutch. Should go well with cheese.
5. Doolhof Cape Roan 2006 R35: amazing value Shiraz blend grown in a mountainous maze by an oil baron.
6. Villiera Cabernet 2005 R39.50: a classic well structured Stellenbosch Cabernet with an exotic nose.
Case II: Fun Under Forty Whites
1. Slanghoek Chenin Blanc 2008 R17.50: tropical fruit: guavas and bananas, very refreshing.
2. Goedverwacht Crane White Colombard 2008 R20: best Colombard in the Cape, packed full of ruby grapefruit.
3. Du Toitskloof Chenin Blanc 2008 R21: fresh pears and tinned peaches.
4. Rooiberg Sauvignon Blanc 2008 R22: the tropical side of Sauvignon with a neat grassy verge.
5. Nabygelegen Lady Anna 2008 R32: a classy blend of Chenin and Sauvignon Blancs and Semillon. Princess Margaret circa 1960: exotic.
6. Boplaas Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2007 R39.50: the Little Karoo is the last place you’d look for grassy elegance, but these grapes traveled up from the coast.
Case III: Fun Under Forty Rosés
1. De Krans 2008 R21: The delicate pink of a Karoo succulent that flowers once a decade; flavours more robust: cassis and blackcurrants from Cabernet Sauvignon that work well with prawns.
2. De Meye 2008 R30: Another Shiraz rosé, but this one with a bit more tannin and grip than you might expect.
3. Ridgeback 2008 R30: Viognier and Shiraz, light and bone dry with exotic peach flavours.
4. Brampton 2007 R33: Brampton is to Rustenberg as Prince Harry is to Prince William: less posh but more fun. “Ginge” visited Rustenberg recently and enjoyed these liquid strawberries and cream: very Sandringham.
5. Goats do Roam 2008 R35: more ripe strawberries, this time from Pinotage and Shiraz plus assorted other cultivars in lesser amounts.
6. Buitenverwachting 2008 Blanc de Noir R40: classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc plus Merlot without wood. Fine and intense flavours.
Case IV: A Rich but Careful Friend is Paying
1. Oak Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007 R69: Elgin produces a unique expression of Sauvignon Blanc characterized by a fine minerality on top of unexpected tropical flavours.
2. Welgemeend Estate Reserve 2003 R80: The farm may now be Gauteng-owned, but Louise Hofmeyr’s masterpiece is still available.
3. Springfield Méthode Ancienne Chardonnay 2005 R135: Both name and wine are mouthfuls. Inspired by Burgundy and bursting with minerality and finesse.
4. Klein Constantia Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc 2007 R120: 2007 will in all likelihood go down as the vintage of the decade, so load up on long life Sauvignon Blancs like this one. Enormous concentration, green peppers and mint with a refreshing citrus spritz.
5. Overgaauw Tria Corda 2005 R139: A wine to accumulate and lay down for delayed gratification.
6. Le Riche Cabernet Reserve 2003 R180: Up there with the fabled Rustenburg Cabs the man used to make in the eighties.