jamie goode's wine blog

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Video: L'Ormarins Estate, Antonij Rupert, Franschhoek, South Africa

Just uploaded a video from my visit to L'Ormarins, the home estate for Antonij Rupert Wines. Antonij Rupert is an incredibly ambitious project, based on four properties spread across the Cape. It's funded by the billionaire Rupert family, and while the best is yet to come, the wines are already impressive. The cellar here is one of the swankiest I've ever seen, with a revolving roof.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Day 3 in South Africa - Franschoek, mostly

Had a great day today, even though for most of it the rain was lashing down in vast sheets. We began with another larger producer, continuing yesterday's theme: DGB, hosted at Boschendal. They have a range of brands, including Douglas Green, Bellingham, Franschoek Cellar, Boschendal and from 2010, Brampton will be all theirs. Highlight? The Bellingham Bernard Series wines, including (shock) an elegant, pure Pinotage. Pictured are winemakers Thinus and Lizelle.

Then it was off to lunch with Mark Kent of Boekenhoutskloof and Gottfried Mocka of Chamonix, at the wonderful Reubens. Mark and Gottfried's wines are all world class. I knew Mark's wines were great, but I'd not tried Chamonix for ages, and was utterly blown away. Highlights: Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve 2008 and Boekenhoutskloof The Journeyman 2007. But all the wines were great.

Next? Off to Antonij Rupert, where a serious vineyard replanting program is taking place, and this grand, lavish property is looking to plant higher up the side of the mountain. The cellar here is remarkable, with a revolving roof and all the winemaking toys you could wish for. Highlight? The A Rupert Cabernet Franc 2005, which is utterly spellbinding in its refinement and character. Only 10 barrels made, though, and it will cost you a bit.

While we were there we also tried the wines from Rupert & Rothschild, which are very successful, stylish and European in their flavour profile. And also La Motte's wines, which are really good (and great value for money), with the highlight being the 2007 Shiraz Viognier, which is beautifully poised, smooth, fresh and elegant.

Tonight we're off to dinner with Mike Ratcliffe. But fellow journo Christian Davis has gone home, and we'll miss him.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The new Platter Guide and two South Africans

The new Platter Guide is out - the 2008 version. For those unfamiliar with this title, it's the pretty comprehensive annual guide to South African wines. It's a densely packed, information-rich tome that is a must-buy for any wine nuts with a strong interest in South African wines. It's not perfect, but it's hard to see how it could be much better.

In honour of its arrival, I opened two rather different South African reds, and then checked their entries in the Platter Guide.

Kloovenberg Shiraz 2005 Swartland, South Africa
At 15% alcohol, this is not a shy wine. While it's not aromatically overpowering, showing sweet lush fruit with a bit of a peppery, earthy edge, as well as a bit of meaty, olive-like character, the palate is full and sweetly fruited, with plummy bitterness allied with high alcohol on the finish. Despite the high alcohol, though, this isn't a wine made in an over-the-top dead fruit and new oak style. It's tilting towards fresh fruit and elegance, and I suspect that the heat is a result of a hot vintage. So judgement reserved a bit: I like it, but wish it had a bit more definition and lower alcohol. 87/100 (UK availability: Laithwaites)

Platter says: 4.5 stars (out of 5) - Northern Rhone-style red lacks some of the sophistication and harmony of previous wines in big 2005 (****) vintage. Very ripe and feshy, yet silky, with black olive notes, fynbos hints and fine tannins. Alcohol (15%) still a little disjointed. 2004 was elegant and seamless. [My comment - they seem to have nailed this one, although the scores are quite generous]

Rickety Bridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Franschoek, South Africa
A deep coloured wine that's spent a while in oak, this has a distinctly savoury, slightly medicinal old fashioned (but not unappealing) nose. It's meaty, slightly resinous, spicy and shows sweet dark fruits. The palate is concentrated and dense with prominent earthy, medicinal, spicy, tarry notes. Quite challenging and one for food. I'm not sure whether I really enjoy this old fashioned South African style very much. 82/100

Platter says: 3.5 stars - Harmonious 2002, more savoury, less overt berry character than previous, but food friendly, 30 months French oak, 25% new. [My comment - they haven't tried the 2003, but the fact that this spends so long in oak could explain its rather rustic, medicinal nature.]

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