South African wines at Fayetteville Wine Society June meeting - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 06-10-2008 02:02 PM

In April we planned to meet on the patio at Luigi's Restaurant. A heavy rain that day (in the middle of a severe drought) caused us to meet inside the restaurant. Last night we were to be on the patio at Huske Hardware House Restaurant and 101 Fahrenheit drove us indoors where we met on a balcony overlooking the ground floor. We had three whites, a rose', and three reds with two different plates of appetizers to pair with the wines. ($20 for members)

Producer grows only Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc grapes.
No oak aging. Crisp palate cleanser with prominent minerals. Notes handed out also say white peach and honeysuckle but I found this to be more a dry crisp wine. I liked it enough to order two bottles for later pickup. Under $20 per bottle. This was served with s small dome of spicy risotto (jambalaya-style with some bits of sausage.) The crisp wine matched well with the slight spiciness of the rice.

Stephen Tanzer 91 pts.; "Decanter" 4 stars
Flinty nose reflecting the flinty terroir. Grapefruit aroma in the background. This was paired with a deviled egg with capers.

From the Paarl Valley region. 10 months in oak (95% French oak, 5% American oak, 35% new oak.) Buttery, slightly unctuous. I was torn on whether I liked this wine or disliked it. Decided not to purchase any. The wine retailer who likes the buttery-type Chards loved this. Paired with a crab cake.
(Carlou has partnered with Don Hess of Hess Wines in Napa.)

96% Cabernet Sauvignon 4% Cabernet Franc
Gentle handling of grapes. Delicate red berry flavors and pleasant nose. Some bacon also contributing to the nose. Paired with a salad of watermelon, crabmeat, and red and green lettuce leaves. I think this will be a great summer sipper for picnics or patios and ordered two bottles.

Heavy, concentrated nose. I was getting dark fruits and espresso. The handout notes dark olive, tobacco, pepper, fig and currant-paste. It does have a peppery finish on the palate. Chewy in the mouth. Tasted very young. Opinion was divided on this wine. I was not crazy about it, especially this young, but others liked it. It would be wise to decant it or hold off a few years. "Wine Spectator" scored it 92 pts. Served with a mini-quiche with lemony custard base, roasted tomato and sausage topping.

Almost opaque, with a purple color. Vinified in a somewhat modern style but with minimalist techniques and intervention. Viscous. Mouth coating. Sees new French oak. I believe this was less expensive than the Shiraz or following Bordeaux blend (in the $20's while the other two were in the $30's) but I liked it better. I ordered one bottle. Drinking smoothly--not very tannic. Suggested pairing is with grilled or smoked meats. We had it with a large strawberry soaked in wine.

Named after a 19th-Century prime minister. Lots of history behind this vineyard. All five Bordeaux grape varieties in the blend. In barrel for 9 months and barriques for 11
months. Some thought this was clearly the best wine of the evening but I was rather neutral about it. 92 pts. from "Wine Enthusiast" and named as a Cellar Selection in July 2007. This was paired with two cremini mushrooms topped with Boursin cheese.

Fun evening and well worth the $20 fee.

I told one of the organizers, Nick Parrous, that I was rather glad we weren't having Pinotage (not my favorite.) One lady, who is one of the more experienced oneophiles in the group, said "Oh, I love Pinotage!" Nick said they looked for a Pinotage but didn't find one they thought would be suitable. They try to select wines that are plentiful in the distributor's inventory so that people can purchase any they choose to buy.