Thursday, November 30, 2023

Wine tasting New and Premium South African wines

WASP (Wine Appreciation Society, Penrith), Roundthorn Country House Hotel, Penrith. Thursday 30-November-2023.

It was fascinating to discover a new region of South African wines that we were previously unacquainted with, entertainingly presented by Preet Sahota of Edgmond Wines.

Our first ever trip to South Africa in 2008 was a safari, followed by a tour of the wine growing districts: Hermanus and Walker Bay, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Robertson and Constantia. They are all east of Cape Town out along the N2. 

These wines are from the Swartland region north of Cape Town out on the N7. The tasting was a rainbow assortment of all the main varieties produced in South Africa. 

Just as interesting as the wines was the presenter himself and the story of how he got into wines from working in his parents' village shop to discovering a passion for wine while at school, then specifically South Africa while at college and then starting his own business.

Wine, Grape variety, Vintage, ABV, Normal list price.
Preet's description
    • Mary's notes and ✱ star rating

1. Villa Esposto Sauvignon Blanc 2022 13% £24.95 
A debut release - From the renowned Skurfberg farm and planted in 1993 comes this delicious Sauvignon Blanc
    • Green, tangy, powerful; smooth, slightly oily, good body, good depth, balanced.

2. Blake Family Wines Chenin Blanc 2021 12.5% £14.95 
From a single vineyard planted in 1984, this is a complex old vine Chenin from the Swartland region
    • Floral, powerful, oily, slightly yeasty?; bit sharp, not as rich as nose, not very fruity. 

3. Villa Esposto Chenin Blanc 2022 12.5% £24.95 
From a single vineyard planted in 1982, this is a complex old vine Chenin from the Skurfberg
    • Light nose, closed, slightly spicy; more complex, richer, well, balanced, tropical fruit? Good length.

4. Blake Family Wines Malbec 2020  14% £14.95 
A real rarity to find a single vineyard Malbec from South Africa!
    • Light nose, closed, slightly spicy; more complex, richer, well, balanced, tropical fruit? Good length.

5. Villa Esposto Pinotage 2018 13.5% £24.95 
A one off parcel - From a single vineyard planted in 1998, this wine once again from the famed Skurfberg region
    • Light perfume, violets?; Soft velvety, soft tannins, good length.

6. Klawer Shiraz 2021 14.5% £11.95 
From the outstanding 2021 vintage and from four different farms - average age of vine 20 years 
    • Soft, sweet, slight peppery, vegetal; soft, fruity, ripe fruit, light.

7. Blake Amethyst Cape red blend 2018 15% £27.95 
A Cape Blend of the noble cultivars, Shiraz, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Good nose, slight jammy, good soft fruit, soft tannins.

8. Villa Esposto Muscat d'Alexandrie 2021 8% £24.95 
A delicious sweet wine from a single vineyard planted in 1969 - the oldest vineyard I work with!
    • Toffee, raisins: sweet, yummy, raisiny, some acidity.

We bring our own glasses (or borrow from the hotel if forgotten). There is a spittoon for discarding unwanted wines but at 50cc per tasting measure I have no problem polishing them off. I was amused to note that the spittoons are actually plastic buckets with the handles removed - but hey! it that works why not?

This time we made an effort to be a little earlier so we could buy some raffle tickets and we won a bottle of wine (what else). 

As usual we abandoned the car and I had a chilly walk up in sub-zero temperatures to retrieve the car the morning after.

PS. Other wine tastings in South Africa:

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