I attended a South African wine dinner organized by one of the e-Robert Parker bulletin board local members (also a great customer of The Wine Country) last evening, and decided to take notes on the wines since I do have a South African department at work, and thought this would be a great opportunity to taste what was out there.
Unfortunately, since I was taking notes, I felt compelled to taste all the wines, and since we were at the dinner, I didn't spit. So I'm suffering a little bit this morning. There were so many wines!
Here are my notes, copied from a post I just made on the bulletin board. Not really detailed notes, but one can get a gist. I think the Hamilton Russell wines showed really well, as did a few others.
NV Graham Beck MCC Brut
A nice, dry, crisp sparkler made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, made in the Champenoise method. Enjoyable in the early evening light on the patio at the Springbok.
2006 Solms-Delta Amalie
55% Viognier, 45% Grenache Blanc - a delicious blend - fruity and balance, showing delicacy and good flavor. One of my two favorite whites of the bunch.
2006 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay
My other favorite white of the bunch. Well-made, almost Meursalt-style Chardonnay with good acidity balanced with up-front new oak, rich, with some Granny Smith apple notes
2006 La Motte Chardonnay
Also a nice Chardonnay, very fresh, with stone fruits and oaky spice, a more New World style of Chardonnay, could have come from California
2005 Cape Point Semillon
Rich and textured, with some green flavors, and low in acidity, but very varietally correct.
2005 Morgenhof Estate Chenin Blanc
Fresh and savory at the same time, with evidence of oak aging.
2001 Hidden Valley Pinotage
From Stellenbosch. A bit rough and grippy, with some green flavors.
2005 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Silkier texture compared to Hidden Valley, balanced with good fruit and bit of structure, a good Pinotage for those looking for Pinotage.
2004 Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon
Berry fruit intermingling with green pepper.
2003 Rust en Vrede Red Wine
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz, 10% Merlot. Deep and rich red blend with some oak spice, not the significant green pepper found in the 2004 Cabernet.
2006 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir
Powerful Pinot Noir though seemed young and a little disjointed. Bold fruit, bold oak - might need more time in the bottle.
2005 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir
Much more integrated, silkier texture, gorgeous perfume, gentle oak framed the cherry-rich fruit well. One of my favorites of the reds.
2006 La Motte Pierneef Shiraz-Viognier
Ricardo helped me with this description - this wine has tons of coffee! A rich cup of chocolatey mocha coffee. Heavy mouthfeel.
2004 Spice Route Flagship Syrah
A tad unbalanced it seemed to me. High alcohol and tons of fruit.2003 Sterhuis MerlotPleasant and richly flavored with very low tannins, some development of complexity and some green flavors. An enjoyable red.
2006 Noble Storm Le Bon Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills
According to Mark, made by the brother of the winemaker at Hamilton Russell (if I recall correctly). A nice bold New World Pinot Noir with a full body and fruit. Contrasted with the South African Pinots tasted earlier.
2005 Jalama El Capitan Santa Ynez Valley
47% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 23% Cabernet. A very floral wine, tons of crush rose petals on the nose and on the palate. I liked this wine.
2006 Fiddlehead Sweetie Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez
Nice acidity, aroma of botrytis, palate of fresh stone fruits and citrus.
? vintage Kathleen Late Harvest Chardonnay Paso Robles
An odd-ball sweet wine but interesting to try, not sure how to describe...