A new wave of blends is coming out of the Cape today, writes Graham Howe
A new wave of blends to suit all tastes is coming out of the Cape today
TRADITIONALISTS might prefer a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Spicier palates prefer a Rhônestyle blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre and Viognier (known as SMV) or Grenache (SMG). Patriots might prefer the new style Cape Blend of Pinotage with other reds; a Portuguese blend of traditional varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca and Souzao; or an eclectic new-world blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and other grapes which crosses old-world boundaries: Anthonij Rupert Optima 2009. Rated 90 points by Wine Spectator, this iconic Bordeaux-style red blend is one of the draw cards at the elegant new tasting room in the manor house of Anthonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek. Aged in oak for 24 months, this velvety wine abounds with cassis, plum and fruitcake flavours. Clos Malverne Spirit of Malverne 2011. Winemaker Suzanne Coet- zee handcrafted this new limited release from the boutique cellar in the Devon Valley where Pinotage rules. This assemblage combines the fragrant sweet fruit of Pinotage with the cassis and supple blackberry character of Cabernet as well as the sweet and spicy nuances of Shiraz. Deetlefs De Hageveld 2011. Kobus Deetlefs of Rawsonville has released two flagship red and white blends dedicated to the eight generations of his family, who came to the Cape in 1752. The De Hageveld Red is a benchmark five-way blend of Merlot, Pinotage, Cabernet, Malbec and Shiraz and has alluring layers of flavour and fruit. Druk My Niet T3 2010. Named after the three unusual varieties — Tannat, Tinta Amarela and Tempranillo — which make up the intriguing assemblage, the elegant red blends coming out of this wine farm in the Paarl Valley are turning heads. Watch out for Invictus, a flagship blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc and Merlot. Lanzerac Le General 2009. This new limited release blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinotage and Malbec won a gold medal at the 2012 Veritas Awards. Lanzerac — the landmark hotel, cellar and wine farm in Stellenbosch — has won acclaim for this plush assemblage of the best barrels of one of the great vintages of the decade. Morgenster Lourens River 2010. The annual release of the flagship red blends of this award-winning estate in Somerset West is eagerly awaited by fans. Over the past two decades, Morgenster has accrued a reputation as the producer of one of the top Bordeaux-style red blends in SA — made in a plush, restrained house style. Muratie Ansela van de Caab 2009. The opulent flagship Bordeauxstyle red blend is named after the emancipated slave who married Laurens Campher, the founder of one of the Cape’s original estates in 1685. Every wine tells a story at one of the most authentic family cellars in Stellenbosch — from the seductive fruit to velvety tannins. Nederburg Baronne 2009. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2013, this nostalgic red blend was first released way back in 1970. The brainchild of legendary cellar master Günter Brözel, this smooth, easy-drinking blend of succulent red fruit flavours of Cabernet Sauvignon and smoky, peppery flavours of Shiraz has staying power. Rickety Bridge Foundation Stone 2011. An innovative blend of six Rhône-style cultivars under a striking modern label, this assemblage of Shiraz, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tannat and Viognier from the Franschhoek Valley is velvety smooth with spicy white pepper, red fruit, chocolate and cherry tobacco flavours. Swartland Contours Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. This new easy-drinking range showcases the fresh, ripe fruit of classic varieties from the cellar which spearheaded the rich, concentrated style of traditional bush vine grapes. This new release com- bines the dark berry and blackcurrant character of Cabernet with the plummy fruit of Merlot. Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Reserve. This cult Californian grape is made in four styles — noble late harvest, white, red and reserve red — by the only Cape estate which has specialised in the variety since the late 1970s. Sourced from a single vineyard planted in 1982, this exotic and full-bodied wine shows a great concentration of blackberry fruit. Overgaauw Touriga Nacional 2012. The Van Velden’s delightful family estate in Stellenbosch was one of the first to plant Portuguese varieties in the Cape. Fourth generation winemaker David van Velden makes one of the few single varietal versions of this succulent, full-bodied variety with rich mulberry, plum and raspberry fruit and a spicy finish.
Above: A scenic view of Overgaauw, and below right, the Lanzerac cellar and tasting room.