I’m in Cape Town. I’ve come to judge the Top 100 South African wines competition, which is now in its sixth year. This year, for the first time, we’re not at Rodwell House (it has been sold), so I’m staying in Vredehoek, on the outskirts of the city. It’s a pretty place, and last night when I arrived I went for an hour’s walk taking a loop through the hills, looking down onto Cape Town. The views (above) were lovely.
Afterwards, I dined with my host, Robin. We had some lovely South African wines, including a really good MCC and a thrilling Rubicon that really delivered.
Miles Mossop Saskia 2011 Western Cape, South Africa
A blend of 66% Chenin, 26% Viognier, 5% Verdelho and 5% Clairette (which eagle eyed readers will see adds up to 102%). This is a lovely wine that has some richness (14.5% alcohol), but which is fresh and has taken on a nice savoury dimension. Complex, powerful and spicy with citrus, pear and white peach notes. Nice finesse despite the evident power, and a lovely savoury edge. 93/100
Villiera Cape Winemakers Guild Meteor Methode Cap Classique 2008 Stellenbosch, South Africa
11.5% alcohol. An impressive sparkling wine with a rich apple, pear and toast nose. There’s depth to the palate with rich toast and baked apple characters, and also keen acidity. Really alive and harmonious. 91/100
Meerlust Rubicon 2004 Stellenbosch, South Africa
14% alcohol. Such a lovely wine, drinking somewhere near what I would think to be its peak. Beautifully aromatic with a gravelly, slightly smoky spicy edge to the pure cherry and blackcurrant fruit. The palate is fresh and vivid with lovely harmony to the blackcurrant, chalk and gravel flavours. Fine and elegant, with generosity but also balance. 94/100
Nuy Red Muskatel NV South Africa
This is pretty smart – sadly we don’t see many of these Muskadels outside South Africa. 16.5% alcohol. This is a 50th anniversary bottle that recognizes vintages going back to 1963, from the last three cellarmasters. Rich, sweet, warm, aromatic and lovely with spice, tea, raisins and sweet cherry fruit. Richly textured with notes of marmalade and spice. Warm and sweet with lovely balance. 91/100
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