Lunch at Chez Bruce with some of South Africa's finest, plus some old world stars

chez bruce alheit jancis

Had a special lunch at Chez Bruce last Thursday, with some memorable wines. Keith Prothero was hosting, and also present were Chris and Suzaan Alheit, Peter-Allan Finlayson, Chris Mullineux, John Seccombe, Nigel Platts-Martin, Greg Sherwood and Jancis Robinson. As usual, the food was close to perfection. But what was really interesting was seeing how some of South Africa’s top wines performed in a rather exalted peer group. As you can see from my notes, they did very well indeed.

Dorset crab with scallop sashimi

Dorset crab with scallop sashimi

Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu Vouvray Sec 2007 Loire, France
Warm, toasty and ripe with honey, citrus and spice. Powerful, textured and spicy on the palate with a lovely lemony character. Rounded with finesse and detail. Such a stylish, delicious expression of Chenin. 94/100

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Alheit Magnetic North Mountain Makstok 2013 Citrusdal Mountain, South Africa
This is from an own-rooted vineyard at 520 m in the Citrusdal Mountain area (aka Skurfberg), and it’s a varietal Chenin Blanc. There’s some richness here with pear, peach and spice, and some structure. Fresh acidity on the long, fresh, spicy finish that just goes on and on. There are some mandarin notes, too. This is showing lovely complexity, and has amazing potential for development. 95/100

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Alheit Radio Lazarus 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa
From a hilltop site with shale soils. Lively, pure, fresh and detailed with fine citrus and pear fruit. Nicely structured with freshness and purity. This is just a baby and could develop really nicely with lovely textured linear fruit. 94/100

Baked celeriac with sauteed ceps and truffle

Baked celeriac with sauteed ceps and truffle

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Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru 2008 Burgundy, France
This is so lovely, but still so primary. There’s a deliciously complex vegetal, cabbagey reductive edge to the sweet pear, apple and spice notes. There’s a mineral core to this wine, and it’s stylish and fine with lovely purity and freshness. 95/100

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Thorne & Daughters Zoetrope Chardonnay 2014 Overberg, South Africa
From a single vineyard with clay shale soils, 23 year old vines. Fresh, pure and fine with lovely purity. Real finesse with citrus and pear fruit. Youthful and bursting with potential. 94/100

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Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay 2013 Walker Bay, South Africa
Very fine and expressive with lovely mineral notes, citrus and fine herbs. So expressive with a hint of tangerine and pear and peach fruit. Finesse here. 95/100

Venison loin with poached quince, soft amaretti and lemon zest

Venison loin with poached quince, soft amaretti and lemon zest

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JL Chave Hermitage 1990 Northern Rhône, France
Amazing finesse and elegance here: lovely meat, iron, blood and iodine. There’s lovely precision here with citrus freshness and lovely floral cherry notes. Such purity and detail, it’s quite Burgundian, but now pretty much at peak drinking. 97/100

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Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage 1990 Northern Rhône, France
This is really dense still. Ripe, warm and spicy with rich black fruits and underneath this, hints of blood and iodine. Textured with nice sweet fruit. Dense and broad with lovely depth: this has a long future, I reckon. 95/100

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Mullineux Schist Syrah 2011 Swartland, South Africa
Sweet and pure with lovely black fruits, showing real finesse. There’s a subtle peppery spiciness with real detail and potential for future development. 95/100

4 comments to Lunch at Chez Bruce with some of South Africa’s finest, plus some old world stars

  • Keith Prothero

    Interesting rating of the wines. Not sure I agree entirely with some of the points awarded although certainly some very fine South African wine,which illustrates the enormous potential of the country’s “new wave” producers.
    Did you forget the two sweet wines ?

  • Grant

    Food looked terrific. Again. Can’t wait to go back. Cheers

  • Bob Parsons Alberta

    Great food porn. Any wine from Mullineux hits the spot here in cold (but snow-free at the moment) Alberta.

  • Damien

    Interesting to see that little known terroir “Dorset crab”. Often wonder if when they scurry across the seabed to Devon/Hampshire they’re nervous!

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