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south african wine, part 10

I visited Boschendal late afternoon, as the sun was slowly beginning its descent, throwing the attractive lawned area at the front of the property into a dappled richness of warm tones. On a warm summerís day, I reckon this is perhaps the most pleasant time. 

James Farquharson, Boschendal's Scottish red wine maker

Itís a property that has recently seen some large changes. It used to belong to Anglo American, but in 2003 it was sold to a consortium of property developers for 323 million Rand.  The consortium split was 35% local shareholders, 35% foreign investors and 30% black empowerment.

The first phase of the development will see the release of what are known as ĎFounderís Estatesí. For 30 million Rand, you can buy a 20Ė30 hectare piece of the estate with your own swanky house on it (see http://www.boschendal.com/property.q#).

But the developers decided to outsource the Boschendal winery and tasting centre out to Douglas Green Bellingham, who have now been running things since 2004. The restaurant has also been outsourced.

Well managed vineyards on a high VSP trellis

Overall the estate is a sizeable 2200 ha, with around 200 ha of vineyard, not all of which is currently producing. One-third to half of production is from bought in grapes, and last year 3600 tons were processed. Thatís a lot.

We drove up through the vineyards to a viewpoint on a hill, where we had our tasting. The wines are pretty good, with the high points being the 2001 Syrah and the wonderful Jean de Long Shiraz. Sauvignon Blanc seems to be performing well here, too. Boschendal deserves praise for making good wines in reasonable quantities. 

The view

Boschendal Sauvignon Blanc 2005
This has 8% Semillon blended in. Crisp and rich at the same time, with a grassy edge. Good balance here between the richer tropical fruit and the greenness. Lots of appeal. Very good+ 87/100  28 000 cases made

Boschendal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2005
Nice weight and balance on the nose: this is a fuller style than many, but still with that greenness and grapefruit character to provide freshness. The palate is rich and rounded with a nice texture, and a touch of spice. Itís a rich, almost exotic style, but very good with it. Very good/excellent 90/100 11 000 cases made

Jean de Long Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Coastal Region
From a single vineyard in Somerset West. Assertive grassy green nose is fresh and fruity. The palate is at the super-green end of the spectrum, showing attractive herbal overtones to the fruit. A concentrated, fresh, green style thatís delicious in its own way. Very good+ 89/100

Jean de Long Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2005
Fermented in French oak, half of which is new. Vivid, bright fruity nose. The palate is rich and rounded with some residual sugar (10 g/litre) together with a creamy richness. Interesting stuff that may age nicely. Very good+ 88/100

Boschendal Blanc de Noir 2005
This very pale pink wine is made in quite a full flavoured style, with some residual sugar adding weight. Nice fresh fruit makes this delicious. Very good+ 87/100

Boschendal Shiraz 2003
Dark, intense, spicy nose with a slightly medicinal edge. Sweet dark fruits dominate the palate, which shows some depth. Thereís firm spicy, savoury structure and more of the medicinal/minty character on the finish. Very good+ 88/100

Boschendal Syrah 2001
No new wood used here. Dark, sophisticated nose with summer pudding fruits and some complexity. The palate is concentrated, dark, spicy and tannic. Itís a savoury wine with a lovely density of dark fruits and good acidity. A big wine with plenty of impact thatís currently quite youthful tasting Ė the huge structure suggests this may have a good future. Very good/excellent 93/100

Jean de Long Shiraz 2003
130 cases made of this wine, which spends 27 months in barrel. Wonderfully open nose is subtly meaty with a combination of red and black fruits. Itís complex and perfumed. The palate is elegant and open with wonderful weight, a nice spicy savouriness and good balance. Rather old world in style, this has lots of complexity. Very good/excellent 94/100

Wines tasted 12/05
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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