Home > Fair, Good, GoodDevelop, ModGood, Not Rated, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > Tasting South African Wines with Lou

Tasting South African Wines with Lou


Lou and Aaron

Lou came over last week to taste a selection of South African wines with Jenn and myself.  We usually alternate houses for our mid-week tastings but his situation is a bit chaotic due to his current expansion.  As I recently saw , both his kitchen and dinning room have been relocated into his living room.  An odd sight but quite convenient.  If you think that all we ever do together is drink wine, eat cheese, and eat salami then you are correct.  We both love wine and spend significant amounts of our free time buying, tasting, reading, and writing about wine.  While I now write posts for this blog Lou writes in his journals.

We did not take a group ranking.  The Vilafonte and Boekenhoutskloof were distinctly different from the other four wines so of these two I would rank them:

  1. 2007 Boekenhoutskloof, Syrah
  2. 2006 Vilafonte, Series M

Of the remaining four wines I would place the 2002’s on top.  Lou tried the Camberley on the third night and found it “pretty shot”, shame!

  1. 2002 Camberley, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
  2. 2002 Kanonkop, Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. 2005 Kanonkop, Paul Sauer
  4. 2003 Rudi Schultz, Syrah

The Bottles

The Camberley was purchased from Caroline’s Fine Wine Cellar in Cape Town and the remaining wines were purchased from MacArthur’s over the last year or so.  As always the wines were double-decanted then served blind.  The leftovers were split up, injected with Private Preserve, then retasted later.  We started with the Salomon, which I realize is an odd choice, but as Jenn does not like Riesling, I wanted to share the bottle with Lou.  I have listed the wines in the order that we tasted them.

Starter – 2006 Salomon, Riesling Pfaffenberg
This wine is 100% Riesling from vines grown on gneiss and granite.  This wine was a golden color.  It had a honey-like nose that was soft with notes of yeast.  In the mouth there were soft flavors of apple, stones, and a nice mid-palate texture that went with the tree-fruit acidity.  It was balanced. *** Now-2015.

1 – 2006 Vilafonte, Series M
This wine is a blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 14% Malbec, and 3% Cabernet Franc.  The wine was fermented with 50% natural yeast and 50% inoculated then aged for 18 months in French oak barrels.  This stood out with its distinct profile.  The nice mouthfeel was creamy with fruit, minerality, and vanilla notes.  It was refreshing to drink, “mint” according to Lou, with resolved tannins and a creamy finish.  On the second night this modern wine was young in profile with tart and bright fruit, minerals, spicy, and hints of coconuts. ***(*) Now-2017.

2 – 2002 Camberley, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Stellenbosch
Lou purchased this for 90 Rand at Caroline’s Fine Wine Cellar in Cape Town.  This wine is a blend of three-quarters Cabernet Sauvignon and one-quarter Merlot.  The fruit was sourced from eight year old vines with the wine aged for 14 months in 60% new French, Russian, and American oak.  It was obvious that this was a mature wine with its medium strength nose of older aromas.  The soft flavors were savory with notes of barrel toast.  Mature with a rich body, this was a well made wine.  On the second night the nose took on mint while the body maintained its plumpness and good texture. *** Now.

3 – 2005 Kanonkop, Paul Sauer, Stellenbosch
The Paul Sauer is a blend of approximately 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Merlot that is aged for 22-26 months in new French oak barrels.  It had the lightest nose of these first three wines.  Though light, it was appealing with dry dusty herbs that contained a Lavender aroma.  In the mouth it had green pepper, the most acidity, and a slight, tannic aftertaste of barrel influences.  It left a chalky impression and was “medicinal” to Jenn.  On the second night it was a bit strange with a prickly introduction followed by spice, an ethereal medicinal midpalate, and some heat.  Definitely out of whack. Not Rated.

4 – 2007 Boekenhoutskloof, Syrah
This was the second distinctive wine.  This wine is 100% Syrah from a specific parcel located on decomposed granite.  The vines were planted in 1993.  The grapes were fermented with natural yeast then aged for 23 months in barrel.  The nose was markedly different with a young Syrah notes and fresh grit that jumps into one’s nose.  Rich in the mouth with red currant, a savory character, and some clean, jammy fruit.  The aftertaste is inky with mint and sweet cream.  On the second night the wine still stood out and had continued to develop over the previous night.  While the nose was simpler the flavors in the mouth continued to change. ***(*) Now-2017.

5 – 2003 Rudi Schultz, Syrah, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Syrah from a single vineyard located on a granite base with coarse sand on gravel and some wet clay.  The grapes were fermented with natural yeast then aged for 20 months in 30% new French oak barrels.  This was simpler in flavor with fresh, red fruit that was smooth in the mouth and delicately mixed with garrigue.  A mature, modern wine with flavors that drop off as the aftertaste is approached.  On the second night, there is a delicate nose of herbs.  The somewhat mature flavors mix with vegetables, “earthy straw flavors” according to Jenn, then the wine thins out becoming simpler with hard blue flavors. * Now.

6 – 2002 Kanonkop, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 22-26 months in new and second-fill French oak barrels.  It started off with a medium-strength dirty nose with a green vein.  In the mouth the initial fruit was youthful then turned older and spicy when it mixed with old perfume.  It felt disjointed.  On the second night Jenn found “kiwi skin nose”, a bit of roast, more astringent red fruit, dry herbs, coarse tannins, and some heat. ** Now.

The Corks

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