I am a huge fan of Cape blends, red, white, Rhone or Bordeaux inspired, sometimes with some unique Cape Chenin or Pinotage influences. A Decanter panel tasting of Rhone varietal reds proved very exciting and you can read about it, plus my introduction to the genre, in the March 2009 edition. The whites tend to get overlooked so here are some favourite whites from a recent press tasting:
Tokara White 2006, Stellenbosch (85% Sauvignon, 15% Semillon) – a stunning wine with a fabulous intensity of sweet talc-edged fruit, it shows blackcurrant bud, fresh cut grass, waxy lemon and lemon and mandarin peel. Super-long. Terrific. £19.99 at www.harrogatefinewinecompany.com Decanter South African Wine Specialist of the Year 2008
Flagstone Noon Gun 2008 (45% Chenin Blanc, 35% Viognier, 20% Sauvignon Blanc) – good value at £6.99 in Tesco and Thresher, shows old vine Chenin core with its aniseed/ginger notes rounded out by fleshy Viognier with a Sauvignon lift to the tail.
Flagstone CWG Weather Girl 2006, Elim (Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon) -tight, subtley herbaceous, very polished, poised wine – needs time – stacks of potential.
Vonderling Petit Blanc 2007, Voor Paardeberg (65% Chenin, 20% Chardonnay and 15% Viognier) – a little funky in a good way with dried honey, hazelnut characters over white orchard and citrus fruit, rolling acidity and a mineral undertow showcasing old vine fruit; great value at c£7 from this exciting cooler ward in Paarl – www.staubynwines.com.
Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2006, Swartland (62% Chenin, 26% Chardonnay, 12% Viognier) – nice freshness to the nose with lots of tight aniseed; limpid fruit, long and layered with a lick of dried honey. Great wine. c£10.49 at Averys.
Vonderling Babiana 2006, Voor Paardeberg (60% Chenin, 22% Viognier, 18% Chardonnay) – Good mineral core to this wine, limpid fruit, some oak sweetness that will blow off/integrate with time since there is a nice girth of white peach and citrus fruit here; long, precsie finish. Very good, especially at c£10 – see www.staubynwines.com
The Wine Detective