Wine Advocate, probably the most influential publication in the world of wine, Neal Martin recently visited some wineries in South Africa, and he’s just released his report online yesterday!
Some notes from his report on South African wine in general:
“The aim of this report is to suggest where South Africa is going right (and trust me, it is going right in far more places than I anticipated) and where it is going wrong. I hope to convince both the uninitiated and the skeptics of the heights that their greatest wines are achieving and the potential for the future. Perhaps most importantly in these straightened times, I hope you will be convinced that a vast number of South African wines offer exceptional quality for the price.” –N.M
“The greatest potential in my opinion, comes from the Rhône based blends, from Shiraz, Grenache and to a lesser extent, Mourvèdre. One can see the climactic parallels between the Rhône Valley and areas of South Africa such as Swartland. The top wines from the likes of Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Alex Starey and Mark Kent, to name but a few, are magnificent.” – N.M
We are happy to share these tasting notes and ratings with you today:
From best to ‘worst’ (if 87 points is bad…)
2008 A A Badenhorst Family Wines Noble Late Harvest – 93pts
2007 A A Badenhorst Family Wines Red – 93pts – a very natural, beautifully defined bouquet of dark berries, a dash of white pepper and garrigue that you would swear comes from some rocky outcrop in the Rhone. The palate has really coalesced since I tasted the 2007 in its youth: very fine tannins, wonderful balance and freshness with great tension. There are dark berries, tertiary notes, white pepper, fennel and a slight salty tang on the mid-palate that leads to a very focused finish. It will age over 8-10 years with ease. Drink now-2020
2009 A A Badenhorst Family Wines White – 92pts – blend of around ten white varieties that Adi tried his best to remember. We got as far as Chenin Blanc, Grenache Gris, Palomino, Clairette and Semillon, but we might have been there all day. The striking thing about the nose is the definition, for the 2009 shows greater precision than the 2008, whilst the Palomino does indeed impart a sherry-like tincture. The palate is supremely well balanced and demonstrates greater tension and vibrancy than the 2008, as if the grapes are working together, moving in the same direction. It is very focused on the finish and should age beautifully. Drink now-2016+.
NV A A Badenhorst Family Wines Funky White Blend – 91pts –Adi has provisionally named his Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier non-vintage blend “Funky White.” Blended with eight other varieties and aged under flor but not fortified and with a blend of four different vintages, it has a striking nose that you will either love or hate?Jura meets Swartland perhaps? The palate is very well balanced with a smooth texture and is not as oxidized as the nose implies. Apricot, lemon rind, honeycomb and walnut furnish the poised finish. This evinces individualistic winemaking, but the bottom line is that it tastes good and it tastes “cerebral.” Drink now-2015+.
2010 A A Badenhorst Family Wines Secateurs Red Blend – 90pts – ripe raspberry, blackberry and wild hedgerow on the nose that is well defined and very natural. The palate is medium-bodied, supple on the entry with juicy bright red berries, raspberry, red currant and has a touch of citrus peel lending freshness and vitality. Drink now-2013
2010 A A Badenhorst Family Wines Secateurs Chenin Blanc – 89pts – fresh, vibrant bouquet with orange blossom, Clementine and pressed white flowers. The palate is clean on the entry with a very natural feel. It is underpinned by racy acidity and light flavours of lemon peel, melon and honeysuckle that dovetail towards a refined, refreshing finish. For its price, this comes highly recommended. Drink now-2015.
2011 A A Badenhorst Family Wines Secateurs Rose – 87pts –A blend of Cinsault, Shiraz and Grenache with grapes pressed together, the 2011 Secateurs Rose has a lifted, vibrant fresh bouquet with touches of red cherry, rose petals and lime. The palate is well balanced, fresh and vibrant with a little more tannic “grip” than other South African roses. Whilst not a complex wine, it is well made and as fresh as a daisy. Drink now.
That is an average of 90 – better than any of us ever did at academics… School is overrated anyway… Just don’t tell Samuel… 😉