Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Caroline's Red Wine Review 2018 at the Table Bay Hotel

To be able to choose your favourite top red wines and put them on show for customers, wine buffs, trade and media to taste must be so satisfying. Caroline Rillema does this once a year and the tasting was held last Thursday at the Table Bay Hotel. We love these tastings because you know that the calibre of the wines is going to be high. The prices are too, but at least these wines are deservedly making money. Prices ranged from R167 to the lofty R1724 a bottle. Some are older vintages, some are new releases

We try to taste as many as we can, but to do them all is impossible, not just because your palate tires after a while, but four hours is simply not enough time to do them all justice. Not to mention standing for that long at our age! Nor can John take that many photographs or MENU would just be too long for you to read. There are a lot of superlatives in this article, deservedly so. It was a really good exhibition of what the South African wine industry can do with red wine

When we arrived, Caroline advised Lynne to go and taste the three Cabernets Franc which were grouped together: Antonij Rupert 2012; Bruwer Raats 2015 Family CF; and Warwick's 2015 which won the Old Mutual Trophy. What an outstanding opportunity, each excellent wine was true to the varietal, but different in a very good way

Our Shiraz of the evening is worth special mention, as it has been one of our most enjoyed wines in the past and is so again. Powerfully perfumed, soft ripe fruit with long complex and deep flavours, with the perfect balance of chalk, fruit acid and wood, everything it needs to keep it together for a long while. Hartenberg's The Stork 2014 Shiraz, proudly made by Patrick Ngamane

Sebastian and Nici Beaumont were there at the front to lead the pack. They were showing their wonderful savoury, dark and complex 2014 Mourvedre
Peter Finlayson was showing Bouchard Finlayson's 2016 Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, always good - one of South Africa's best Pinots, a complex blend of dark cherry and spicy earthiness; rich and delicious
Bobby Wallace and Werner Muller of Iona. Nice to see Bobby back in the Elgin Valley. They were showing Iona's 2015 Solace Syrah, aromatic and spicy, with class which we wrote about recently
Lovely to see some seating in the main room. Not that we got to use any!
David and Rita Trafford of De Trafford and Sijnn. The De Trafford wine was a classic 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon with a powerful nose, good wood and fruit, violets, some good mouth puckering tannins and some chalk to make it last the predicted half a century. Would that we would be able to taste it at that age, but we'd have to last into our 130s
Simonsig red wine maker Debbie Thompson pouring her Simonsig The Garland 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon for Diaan van Zyl of Remhoogte; one of their classics and so ready to enjoy
Chris Boustred of Remhoogte, Francois-Jacques Malan of Simonsig and Rudi Schultz of Thelema. Remhoogte showed the 2014 Sir Thomas Cullinan, a blend of juicy Merlot and Cabernet, which had the best nose of the evening. It is given 80% new French oak, has incense from the wood and pure berry fruit, soft chalky tannins and it begs to be paired with food. Thelema had the best Cabernet Sauvignon of the evening, from the 2015 vintage; a lovely nose, juicy, with layers of cassis fruit and good gentle wood
Michelle van Eeden of Grangehurst with Jeremy Walker’s superb 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Jeremy holds his wines back in the cellar until he thinks they are ready to be released. This one is absolutely ready
JC Martin showing his The Art of Creation 2016 Pinot Noir, one of the most popular wines of the evening; they got through so many bottles. Savoury and sweet berry fruit, nicely wooded, with length and depth and some light chalky tannins on the end, the way a good Hemel en Aarde Pinot should be
David and Nadia Sadie were showing their 2016 Elpidios Rhône Blend. The grapes come from seven different Swartland vineyards. It contains Carignan, Syrah, Pinotage, Cinsault and Grenache. Raspberries, tayberries and mulberries with a whiff of wood. The fruit predominates; good acids and chalky tannins. We predict that this will become more complex with age
Having a short pause on the terrace between the two different venues
Cathy Marshall and Sue Anderson showing Cathy’s Catherine Marshall 2015 Peter's Blend. This Bordeaux Blend has Italianate flavours, a little wild from the Cabernet Franc, with lovely perfume on the nose, soft tannins, with a long savoury end. Just made for rich meat dishes
Happy girls
The Maestro. Giorgio dalla Cia with his 2015 Dalla Cia Giorgio Bordeaux blend, with juicy fruit, a classic; complex and layered with some good chalk on the end. With Nevers oak. This is a food wine
L’Re Burger and Louis Strydom with the Ernie Els 2013 Signature, a Bordeaux blend. Winemaker Louis keeps his wines for at least five years before releasing them. This one is fruit forward with wood support, cherry berry and chalk on the palate, a superb blend, and ready to drink
Kayla Oertle showing the very impressive Rupert & Rothschild Baron Edmund 2014 Bordeaux Blend. Cherry, wood, perfume, smoke on the palate. Well balanced fruit, wood and acid with lots of depth and length. An enjoyable, well made food wine, that has lots of time
Barend Barnard pouring a tasting of the Lanzerac Pionier 2015. From a high altitude, therefore cool, vineyard, it follows the trend of making Pinotage fresher, lighter and more elegant – more like its Pinot Noir parent. One to persuade the band of Pinotage haters of the varietal’s merits
Alice Verburg & friend with the Luddite 2014 Shiraz
Môreson winemaker Clayton Reabow with the 2015 MKM Pinotage which has deliciously good fruit
Paula Teixeira and Pierre Wahl who were showing the Rijk’s 2014 Pinotage Syrah blend. Quite a wild, mad blend but it works, intense and full
Saronsberg’s Full Circle Rhône Blend gets so many well deserved awards. A rich and complex blend, mostly Syrah with Mourvedre, Grenache and a touch of Viognier. The 2013 was our Wine of the Week in March
A happy Duncan Savage was showing his 2017 Follow the Line Cinsault from Darling. (You do have to be careful where you put the Darling!) It IS in that pale Pinot style which can encourage one to mistake Cinsault for Pinot, with spice and perfume on the nose
Duncan Savage and Delight Aitken
Sarah Revell with Delight Aiken and Lynne
Stuart Downes showing Shannon's Mount Bullet Merlot. Wow, if only all SA Merlots could be this good. Perfumed, great intense fruit, sweet cherries, berries with long flavours, and good wood, just supporting. An SA version of the St Emilion style, but full on. Our favourite of the night. Cellar and/or drink with good food now
Charla Haasbroek of Sijnn with the Free Reign 1st Edition Blend of three vintages 2009/10/11. It has salty Dutch liquorice flavours, with dark intense fruit
RJ Botha and Anthony van Schalkwyk of Kleine Zalze with Francois van Zyl of Laibach (Lynne was humming "I'm a lumberjack" from Monty Python)
Etienne & Marcelle le Riche. They were showing the Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon, with its beautiful and intense nose and palate
9 pm and time to pack up. Sijnn winemaker Charla Haasbroek, weightlifter. Not really, the bottles had all been emptied for tasting, which is why she is looking so happy
Tired but happy at the end of a very very successful evening, Ray Kilian and Caroline Rillema (Mrs Kilian)

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