Some lovely South African whites: Crystallum, Gabrielskloof, Momento, Thorne and Daughters

My first night in South Africa began well. I’m staying here 11 days, working vintage in the cellar at Gabrielskloof, a space shared by four of South Africa’s most interesting producers. It should be a fun time. In addition to Gabrielskloof, there’s Crystallum, Thorne and Daughters and Momento. Friday night was intern braai night, and this included some lovely whites from each of the four producers.

Gabrielskloof The Landscape Series Magdalena Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016 Western Cape, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. There’s a real presence to this wine: fresh but textured pear fruit, some smoky grapefruit, fine spiciness and even a hint of wax. It’s fresh with a saline, mineral edge to the fruit and a slight bready, toasty richness in the background. Lovely stuff: a really serious South African interpretation of the classic barrel fermented Bordeaux white. This will age beautifully. 93/100 (R295)

Gabrielskloof The Landscape Series Elodie Chenin Blanc 2016 Swartland, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. From dry-farmed bush vines. Fresh, supple and fine with bright tangerine and lemon fruit and a bit of white peach, but also lovely mineral density and texture. It has a fine structure to it. Pure and even a bit salty, with a nice fine spicy finish. This wine really grows on you: it has dimensions and layers, and it’s not just about fruit. 93/100 (R295)

Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay 2017
Stony and mineral with a lovely spicy, lemony twist. Textural and fresh with a hint of pineapple richness. Really detailed and spicy with lovely weight. This is bright and precise with citrus and pear, and a hint of apple. A profound Chardonnay. 95/100

Thorne and Daughters Paper Kite Old Vine Semillon 2015 Franschhoek, South Africa
This comes from the centenarian Landau du Val vineyard in Franschhoek. Fine, textured and a bit spicy. Nice density to the lemon and pear fruit with some waxy notes. There’s a hint of wax and some lanolin, with a bit of mandarin and a saline twist on the finish. Really fine. 94/100

Momento Chardonnay Verdelho 2016 Western Cape, South Africa
Fine herbal notes here, with some citrus and green tea, as well as bright grainy pear fruit. The palate is fresh and supple with lovely brightness. Really expressive with a nice mineral twist to the fruit, and a delicate tangerine and grapefruit twist. 93/100

 

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