Wines out of the ordinary
Watch out for a few unusual new wines out there, writes Graham Howe
I’VE tasted a mixed case of some of my favourite white and red varieties this month — Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Pinot Noir — mostly new releases from the 2011 vintage. Watch out for a few unusual new wines out there, including a nouveau wine fresh from the 2012 harvest made from Gamay Noir, and a Sauvignon Blanc made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Asara Nouveau 2012. Made from Gamay Noir grapes harvested in February 2012, this delightful new release shows off the fresh berry fruits of the new vintage in the French tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau. The colourful Warhol style label matches the burst of mulberry, raspberry and watermelon flavours.
Asara Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc 2011. An innovative white wine made from a red grape shows an abundance of floral aromas and yellow apples with hints of gooseberries and deciduous pear and peach. Crisp and smooth with balanced acidity and a firm texture, it lives up to Asara’s motto: “Ordinary is everywhere but here.”
Solms Astor Vastrap 2011. This unique Cape blend of mostly Chenin Blanc and Semillon with a splash of Riesling will set your tastebuds tapping. An unpretentious charmer with a spicy twist in the tail from the heritage Franschhoek winery (1690), which has led a revival of Cape varieties, cuisine, music and winemaking.
Nitida Modjadji Noble Late Harvest 2011. Named after the Rain Queen of Limpopo, this dessert wine was made from late-ripening Semillon infected with Botrytis. An exotic bouquet of golden delicious apples and honeycomb leads to an implosion of tangy orange marmalade, citrus candypeel, almond, oats and hay.
Oldenburg Chenin Blanc 2011. The fresh fruit, zesty acidity and crisp minerality of Chenin Blanc are paired to the floral fragrances, pear and golden citrus flavours of Chardonnay. This barrel-fermented wine has roasted macadamia nuances with voluptuous layers of fruit and vanilla oak spice — and a well-rounded, creamy palate.
False Bay Chenin Blanc 2011. Made from grapes grown on tra- ditional bush vines and fermented with wild native yeast, this melange of fresh tropical fruit shows the sunny varietal character of this hallmark variety.
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon 2011. An exciting new release in the flagship range of this popular Stellenbosch label draws on the regional diversity of signature varieties from the best sites. This lightly wooded, full-bodied wine expresses the alluring grapefruit and lime flavours of the variety with hints of nuts and lanolin.
KWV The Mentors Semillon 2011. A new release in one of SA’s most-awarded wine ranges showcases unusual varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Grenache Blanc and Viognier grown in specific sites and terroir. The lime and lemongrass aromas of Semillon lead to herbaceous flavours, a creamy texture and zesty acidity.
Aaldering Chardonnay 2011. The first vintage made by this boutique cellar in the Devon Valley bears the classic, elegant house style of their big reds. Fermented and aged in barrels, the Chardonnay expresses classic citrus, stone fruit and pear flavours with a twist of butterscotch.
Groote Post Unwooded Chardonnay 2011. The full citrus flavours of Chardonnay are showcased in the popular unwooded style with delightful nuances of lime marmalade and ginger and a creamy, leesy finish.
Grande Provence Pinot Noir 2010. One of the oldest wine estates (1694) in the Franschhoek Valley follows up its maiden Pinot with a second vintage made from the classic grape of Burgundy. Aged in second-fill barrels, this elegant wine expresses the lovely fresh strawberry flavours and silky tannins of the variety.
Groote Post Reserve Pinot Noir 2009. The cool climate, high-lying vineyards of this historic farm (1709) near Darling on the west coast have produced the best vintage of Pinot to date. The restrained house style entices with charming plum, raspberry and mushroom notes in an earthy wine with a spicy vanilla twist.
The Waterkloof vineyards with False Bay as its backdrop.