Thursday, August 18, 2005

Going South....

So, we all know that Chilean and Argentine wines are hot. They both seem to be the darlings of the wine press as of late. South Africa has also had its share of the limelight. This evening I had an opportunity to taste some of the more exciting wines helping to put South Africa on the world map of wine.

After a grueling day in the office, I met up with Mark Congdon, a contact of mine from the Country Vintner. The Country Vintner is one of the area's best wine wholesalers, specializing in smaller, boutique producers. Mark had just finished a tasting with the folks from Acadiana Restaurant and we met afterwards to taste his lot of South African goodies.

Two grape varietals stand out as being the best to come from this far corner of the globe: Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. The Syrahs are quite good too and I am also beginning to get a handle on Pinotage (the grape which is a cross between Cinsault and Pinot Noir). Both the Chenin and Sauvignon Blancs exhibit crisp, clean flavos, with piercing acidity. Perfect for sipping on a hot summer day in August.

Some picks:

2004 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc
2004 Graham Beck "Waterside" Sauvignon Blanc
2003 Firefinch Sauvignon Blanc

Another fav was the 2003 Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay. I almost thought I was drinking White Burgundy with its rich mouthfeel notes of oak, vanilla, and crisp fruit. A beautifully crafted Chard.

By far one of the best of the bunch was the 2002 Onyx Noble Late Harvest Dessert Wine. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE NOSE. Notes of mango, apricots and orange peel with an almost viscous mouthfeel. Ample acidity to keep the wine from being overly cloying. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc.

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