jamie goode's wine blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No one likes a grumbler, and I don't like to be the one bearing bad news. It's kind of negative, and negativity sticks to you like mud on your boots or cat hairs on your suit. But it's a requirement of a good wine critic to criticize on occasion, or at least to report on the odd wine that didn't hit the spot.

Today it's the turn of two South Africans. I guess my expectations were high for both, which is why I was a little disappointed. It's not that they're rubbish wines.

First, Flagstone's The Last Word 2002, a Port-style fortified red made from a range of varieties including Mourvedre and a little bit of Sousao (a Portuguese teinturier variety, with red flesh as well as skins). It's spoiled by a green streak hiding among the sweet red and black fruits. Overall, the wine just lacks impact. I bought this for 7.49 in and Oddbins sale (normally 12.99), and it's disappointing. I met Bruce Jack in December at Flagstone, and I really liked what he was up to; I suppose everyone is allowed an off-day.

Second, the Engelbrecht Els 2003 Western Cape. From winemaker Louis Strydom (who used to make the Saxenberg wines, if I recall correctly), this is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Shiraz, 4% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 9% Malbec. It's a substantial, structured and rather split-personality sort of wine. On the one hand we have very ripe dark fruits (with a bit of sweetness); on the other we have a bit of greenness, along with firm, spicy tannins. It's as if the extreme ripeness is being countered by a bit of unripeness, and the result isn't totally convincing. Great concentration, though, but I'd expect more for the 20 this wine retails for.

There you go. I'll be back with more positive news soon, I hope.


At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

You and those green streaks!!! Agree with you though re the Ernie Els. Do no think this wine or the much more expensive Ernie Els is worth the money.
Trading in on the great name Ernie has--------a bit like your friend Cliff Richard although thankfully the wines are much more superior than his.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Keith, the ernie els wine shifts for around 40, which is quite a price tag. I haven't tried it yet.

But I'd rather have the likes of Rustenberg's Peter Barlow (a wine I found fully convincing) any day than this engelbrecht els.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Update: two nights later, the Engelbrecht Els is coming round a bit, which makes me think it could age in a nice direction. So judgement reserved.


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