Thursday, December 01, 2011

December 2011 South African Whites+: 9 Tasted of 9

The Intro to December 2011 South African Wines is in the South African Reds blog.

Salut, Ww

THE LINEUP - grouped by whites, rosés, sparkles and other:

Lightning over the Cape 2
  • Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2008, 90-2  -- V,  Swartland, South Africa, #225458 $16.95
  • Graham Beck Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2009, 90-2 --  V, Franschhoek, South Africa, #231357  $17.95 
  • Iona Chardonnay 2009,  90-1  --  V,  Elgin, South Africa,  #236026 $24.95 
  • Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2009,  88-1  -- V,  Somerset West,  South Africa, #739995 $14.95
  • Elgin Valley Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2010,  87-1  --  V,  Elgin, South Africa, #207167 $14.95 
  • Mulderbosch Chardonnay 2009, 87  --  V,  Stellenbosch, South Africa,  #717090 $17.55 
  • Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 82  --  G, Western Cape, South Africa, #527465 $8.95 
  • Ken Forrester Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2009, 81  -- V,  Stellenbosch, South Africa, #231282 $17.95 

  • Fleur du Cape Noble Late Harvest 2008, 93-1  --  V,  Stellenbosch, South Africa, #173781 (375 mL)  $20.95 
(G - General Listing, V - Vintages,  r-v - Rating-Value)

VINUM AFRICA CHENIN BLANC 2009,  Somerset West, South Africa, 13.5% XD, #739995  $14.95  (Tasted December 16, 2011)  CS

Jamie Drummond and Alex Dale, Winemaker and Founder of the Winery of Good Hope, discuss the revival of Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir in South Africa.

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2009, produced by The Winery of Good Hope, was released by Vintages on November 12, 2011.  My notes:  A light golden with herbaceous aromatics, some citrus, some fresh vegetable, well blended - a few minutes allows nose to develop a floral taint. A lacy rim with several slow legs and a first sip that is dry, lightly salted with a flavour of crushed lemon seed, on the medium side of full-bodied. A light cream with a finish that is long, warm, lemon lined kiwi adds appeal - an interesting sipper and a flexible fish white. Have with grilled tilapia or haddock with an orange sauce and basmati rice. Drink now or cellar a year or two - longer may have a surprise. 88

LAMMERSHOEK ROULETTE BLANC 2008, Swartland, South Africa, 14.5%  XD, #225458  $16.95  (Tasted December 15, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on April 2, 2011.  My notes: A blend of 48% Chenin Blanc, 41% Chardonnay and 11% Viognier. This has a rich new gold colour and shows mid viscosity as the film sticks to the sides forms a lacy rim then drops several slow tears. The nose has a herbaceous tang to aromas of ripe tropical fruit. Ripe pineapple and lime make up most of the flavour leaving a distinct sharpness making this is a wine for seafoods or white fowl. A soft cream fills out the body adding elegance while carrying the flavours to a lengthy end. Cellaring for several years should be doable - longer may bring more grassiness forward. Drinking wonderfully now with a distinct terroir brought by sustainable and organic vine maintenance. 90

KEN FORRESTER STELLENBOSCH CHENIN BLANC 2009, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 14.0%  XD, #231282  $17.95  (Tasted December 6, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on May 28, 2011.   My notes: Sustainable farming without pesticides nor herbicides.  A mid golden light and crisp with floral, light honey and lanolin aromas. The film runs a lacy rim slowly falling to the meniscus. The first sip starts with a light honey quickly shifting to sour lemon, herbaceous and extra dry leaving the palate parched, warm and a mineral tainted aftertaste. If sucking on a lemon is your thing this is a sipper. I prefer pairing with roast chicken, a grilled trout filet or perhaps with fresh oysters. May have passed a fruity peak and now has an acidic herbal profile. Drink soon.  81

ELGIN VALLEY VINEYARDS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010,  Elgin, South Africa, 13.0% XD, #207167  $14.95  (Tasted December 19, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on August 20, 2011.  My notes:  A pale blond with prominent floral gooseberry aromas - pleasing to the senses. A swirl leaves a thin film with a solid rim and columns of long slow tears.  The first sip is silky, quite tangy and accompanied by fresh flavours of ripe gooseberry staying on the tongue a short while fading to lemongrass then a chalky dryness. Just a tad light, body and tang, when paired with lemon linguine and shrimp/scallops but should go well with grilled halibut or cod and chips. Keeping a few for a year should be OK - longer is iffy.  87


A Gift Box for the season consisting of an Obikwa headband and two General listed wines. Tasting notes for the Obikwa Shiraz is in the Reds blog:

OBIKWA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011, Western Cape, South Africa, 12.0% D, #527465  $8.95  (Tasted December 5, 2011)  CS

My notes:   A light golden with a greenish tint and possibly a lime nose. The film sticks to the glass before forming slow tears from a lacy edged rim. A slight tang, a subtle softness, flavours of lemon and lime going into a long finish ending dry on the tongue. A reasonable Sauvignon Blanc lacking a clear terroir, a NZ gooseberry or a Bordeaux svelte texture. Save for an open bar - an economical alternative to [yellow tail]. Could be matched with veal schnitzel and spaetzle. A drink now.  82

MULDERBOSCH CHARDONNAY 2009, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 13.0% XD, #717090  $17.55  (Tasted December 11, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 14, 2011.  My notes: I tried the Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc (#933424, $18.95) released on July 18 2007 - this is the first time I’ve noticed the chardonnay being available. The colour is a mid new gold and has aromas of tart papaya with a warmed butter taint. The film sticks then falls slowly following a lacy edge and the first taste has a bright attack and grassy citrus flavours with a warm follow through. The finish is moderately long and extra dry. Paired nicely with fennel, leek and potato soup with poached eggs. Well made showing some oak treatment - an ‘acquired’ taste as a sipper. Have with grilled fish entrees or dark fowl; turkey legs or duck. A few years cellaring may smooth some rough edges.  87   

IONA ‘ELGIN’ CHARDONNAY 2009,  Elgin, South Africa, 13.5% XD, #236026 $24.95  (Tasted December 4, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on October 15, 2011.  Aged “discreetly in French oak”.   My notes: A light golden colour - a jagged rim shedding small slow tears while quickly receding - a nose that defies distinct aromas - an initial sip that’s pleasingly tart, a slight fullness with spicy flavours of grapefruit and lime - each adding elegance. Serving well chilled, 10 - 12oC, allows some changes to occur increasing sip-ability. The combination of body, acid and light oil overcomes any lacking and can’t be anything but Chardonnay - a long unwavering finish that ends extra dry. Have with grilled halibut/haddock on a bed of ginger basmati or Yukon Gold risotto. Cellaring for several years should be OK - a drink now leaving you wanting the next sip.  90
GRAHAM BECK BOWED HEAD CHENIN BLANC 2009, Franschhoek, South Africa, 14.0% XD, #231357   $17.95  (Tasted December 26, 2011)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 28, 2011.  My notes: A pale golden, crisp and clear, and leaves a lacy rim flowing long slow legs. The nose has a spicy, herbal, burnt butter aroma with strong initial appeal. Not a timid Chenin Blanc being full-bodied, tangy, with some softness then finishing long, extra dry with a grassy, caramel tainted grapefruit apple flavour. Paired nicely with leftover Chinese food of chicken balls with sweet & sour sauce, shrimp, beef, brown rice and bean sprouts, and is a flexible complement to a broad set of seafood or white fowl recipes. Approaching peak and could cellar several years - drinking well now. 90
FLEUR DU CAP NOBLE LATE HARVEST 2008, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 10.0% S, #173781 375 mL  $20.95  (Tasted December 9, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on October 1, 2011. Rated 5 (of 5) by Angela Lloyd (Platter’s South African Wine Guide) 2010.  My notes:A blend of 58% Semillon and 42% Riesling. A deep amber colour showing a viscous meniscus and leading to a dense first sip; sweet, round and silky in the mouth with a subtle tang. Served chilled this was 10oC refreshingly tart moderately full of sultanas on the nose. A delightful aftertaste of stewed apricots and figs left behind lasted several minutes delaying a rushed second sip. Sip and savour is key with this LH. Have as a dessert option or as an afternoon aperitif with a challenging bridge hand. Cellaring for several years is likely but is smooth and mellow as a drink now.  93

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