Peter Finlayson pointed out that posing the question “are SA wines getting better?” is like asking the question “are women getting prettier?” and of course it all comes down to style and personal preference. Janis Joplin v. Amy Winehouse; Marilyn Monroe v. Paris Hilton. That said, I do think the 2011 CWG wines are better than last year, especially in the red division.
This year’s CWG beauty show went down this morning at Cassia Restaurant on the Nitida estate that supplied two stunning 2010 whites, a Sauvignon Blanc and Aureus that I scored 91 and 89 respectively. Good but not good enough to make my top ten alas, which had a cut-off at 92 which left the strawberries and cream of the Saronsberg Grenache and the sexy Touriga Naçional of David Trafford on the bench, both 91s. But then someone said “compromises are for relationships, not wine.” Perhaps it was Peter.
Not that everything was stellar – I had a couples of seventy-somethings that I hope last until the Auction, which this year takes place on Saturday 1 October. So the verdict is still out on whether winemakers can edit their own scripts or whether a selection panel would have produced a better offering. Certainly Louis Strydom’s comment “there is something for everyone”, is well made. Even necrophiliacs who like oxidized offerings.
Looking at my scores, I see Louis Nel and the Jordan duo of Kathy and Gary both appear twice. The first bottle of Paul Cluver Chardonnay was corked which probably coloured my opinion of the re-pour, ditto for Edgbaston, Luddite (quite ironic, that) and even Carel Nel’s Port. Which takes a love of all things Portuguese to the extreme.
1. Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2008 95 points. Inky black, seriously perfumed nose, intense, sweetly black fruited, cassis, superb Stellenbosch.
2. Boplaas CWG Auction Potstill 10 year old brandy 94 points. Finally, a brandy that is not too sweet. Glorious gold, spicy and savory, this is a brandy for whisky lovers.
3. Cape Point Vineyards barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010 93 points. Minty fynbos nose and palate with some pomegranate and raspberry pips.
4. Hartenberg Loam Hill Merlot 2009 93 points. Dark and brooding, rich plummy nose, line of beauty, fine balance.
5. Jordan Sophia 2008 93 points. Fine and elegantly fruited palate, consummate balance and incredible lightness of being.
6. Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006 93 points. Strong maraschino cherry nose, fresh and bright palate, cherries and tobacco.
7. Louis Turtles All The Way Down 2009 93 points. Statement wine, intense, balance, needs time, serious tannins, great length.
8. Jordan Auction Reserve Chardonnay 2010 92 points. Big oaky nose, vanilla, lashings of tropical fruit and coconut, the incredible white hulk, awesome.
9. Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2008 92 points. Minty woody nose, vibrant lively palate with juicy fruit and a pleasant tannic caress.
10. Louis Rebel Rebel 2009 92 points. Coffee and chocolate, sweetly fruited palate, a most popular style that will surely do well.
11. Spier Pinotage 2009 92 points. Elegantly perfumed nose, incredible density of colour and flavour.