I presented my South African Rhone blends with a twist tasting at High Timber restaurant in July, reported here. The Sadie Family Palladius 2008, the 2007 of which was voted favourite white of the night, has recently been crowned White Wine of the Year in the 2010 John Platter South African wine guide. Made by Eben Sadie (pictured), it was one of a record 41 wines to be awarded 5 stars - see here for the full galaxy of 5 star wines.
Last night, I returned to High Timber “off duty” for a relaxing dinner with Llinos Jones, the producer of the Radio 4 programme about Bryn Terfel and wine to which I recently contributed, as did Neleen Strauss, co-owner of High Timber with Cape winemakers Gary and Cathy Jordan. Much as I liked Bryn, who tested his wine skills here waiting on Alun Griffiths MW of Berry Brothers & Rudd, it was disconcerting to see him peering at me from the poster on the door when I ventured to the ladies!
Fortunately, when I returned to my table, a glass of Hamilton Russell 2008 Chardonnay induced a distracting wine reverie – a fantastic drop, so cooly mineral, powerful and textured, its intense citrus fruit supported by classy, savoury oak. It didn’t get 5 stars in Platter this time, though ex-HR winemaker Kevin Grant’s Ataraxia Chardonnay did. Nonetheless, the Hamilton Russell deservedly picked up a gold medal in the recently announced Decanter World Wine Awards. Any Burgundy lovers living in not so blissful ignorance should check these wines out now!
Neleen heads off to the Cape next month on a shopping trip to the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild auction, a showcase for rare, limited edition wines produced exclusively for this event. I visited last year and kept my hands firmly in my pockets! This year, I’ll be in the Southern hemisphere but over in Western Australia where I’m judging at the Howard Park International Riesling tasting and Qantas Wine Show of Western Australia, plus visiting various producers, more of which later.
Meantime, should you visit High Timber, I can recommend the orange salad for dessert. It comes with bitter chocolate fondant and Grand Marnier ice cream…
The Wine Detective