December 2014 South African Wine Tasting


We attended a South African Wines tasting at our Wine shop Sunfish Cellars.  Our friend Roy was hosting it and I was looking forward to trying some new wines.  We arrived early so we could catch up with Roy.  The last time we saw Roy we tasted many South African Cabernet Sauvignon’s and finished with one from Napa Valley.  He was inspired by this and decided to conducts tonight’s wine tasting the same way.  I was delighted to hear this and could not wait.

Here was the lineup for tonight’s South African Napa/Washington Cabernet Sauvignon tasting.  We started out with a Van Loveren Christina van Loveren Methode Cap Classique $18.00 per bottle (Bubbles).  Method Cap Classique is the same as Methode Champenoise.

Once our palate was cleansed it was time for the Cabs.  We had three glasses during the tasting.

Roy decided to pour the Napa and Washington wines in two glasses right away so we could compare the South African Cabs at the same time.

Glass one: 2012 Kiona Vineyards Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon – Three plus glasses
Wine composition: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 45 Merlot, 2% Cabernet Fran, 2% Malbec.
Price per bottle: $20.00
ABV: 14.5%

Glass two: 2011 Croze Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon – Two Glasses
Wine composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price per bottle: $36.00
ABV: 14.2%

Here is the South African line up.

First pour: 2011 Landskroon Paul de Villiers Cabernet Sauvignon – Two Glasses
Wine composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price per bottle: $16.00
ABV: 14.0%

Second pour: 2008 Plaisir del Merle Cabernet Sauvignon – Two Glasses – See my rating
Wine composition:  Not defined.  Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon  and small percentages of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot
Price per bottle: $17.00
ABV: 14.1%

Third pour: 2011 Overgaauw Cabernet Sauvignon – Three Plus Glasses
Wine composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price per bottle: $17.00
ABV: 14.0 %

Fourth pour: 2012 Springfield Whole Berry Cabernet Sauvignon – Two Plus Glasses
Wine composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price per bottle: $19.00
ABV: 13.4%

Summary of my tasting.
I felt the two wines that stood out the most was the Overgaauw and Kiona Cabernets.  The Overgaauw is an ageable wine. The tannin structure and astringency gives it the gas to age.  I would hold a couple of years.  I think it has ten plus years before it’s at its peak.  The Kiona was very aromatic with deep heavy fruit.  Its drinkable now.  I would not cellar it for to many years.

The remaining South African wines in my opinion and liking were too smokey.  I feel a Cabernet Sauvignon should be more fruity with a slight nose of green pepper.  Remember the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon are Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.  Once of the aromas of a Cabernet Franc is bell pepper.  If you are a fan of smokey aromas in your Cabernet maybe you would like them more.

The wine that left me feeling underwhelmed was the 2011 Croze Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.  When Roy and Dianne were at our house we finished with the 2009 Croze Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.  I rated this vintage four glasses.  There was something missing with the 2011.  It was slightly tart with a slight grape fruit nose.  One thing we did note was it paired well with the creamy Brie and Gouda cheese.  If you have the 2011 in our cellar I would say hold it a year or two before you drink it.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend a wine tasting I would recommend it.  The only way to figure out what you like is to keep tasting.  There are no set rules and only you can decide what you like.

Life is too short to drink crappy wine.  Expand your palate and keep trying.

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