This week’s wide-ranging South African ”Taste the Earth” tasting threw up an unexpected and exciting find in the form of Malagas Wine Company Sijnn 2007. I’d not come across the label before and frankly, I’m not sure I’ve tasted a wine from Swellendam either, which is located inland, to the east of Robertson in the Breede River Valley. But what I do know is that Cape winemakers have become extremely adept at homing in on “pockets of excellence,” well matched to grape variety (see my report of a seminar on this topic at Cape Wine here).
Malagas Wine Company Sijnn 2007, an impressive blend of 42% Shiraz, 26% Mourvedre, 21% Touriga Nacional, 10% Trincadeira and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, strikes me as a perfect example of this trend. The vines are planted on mean, super-stony soils (pictured) - a touch Douro-like perhaps, so perfect for the Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira (commonly known as Tinta Amarela in the Douro). Winemaker and co-owner De Trafford’s David Trafford describes the vineyard as “90% stone “soil”, mostly a bed of rolled stones on slate / shale base,” adding it “seems to bring out a herb / slate character, not only in this wine, (which has an intense core of wild fruit), but also in our White and Rose’ from the same vineyard.” It certainly brought out the Touriga Nacional a little of which, in my experience, goes a long way. Here its perfume of violets and succulent, fleshy black cherry make for an elegant wine matched by equally elegant, fine tannins. Loved it! RRP: £ 17.75; imported by Bibendum. Incidentally, according to the Platter wine guide, Malagas Wine Company also make a single varietal Trincadeira. You can find out more about this relatively new venture here on the De Trafford website, from whence the photo comes.
Other highlights of the tasting to follow, but I was champing at the bit to give the heads up on this one!