Rising Stars of the Cape - South Africa

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New Fine Wine

South Africa has to be one of the most exciting wine countries in the world. Quality in the country has improved tenfold in the last decade with the old stalwarts of Chenin and Pinotage being challenged by excellent Pinot Noir, Bordeaux blends and Chardonnay.

In recent years there has been a shift from the large quantities of low quality wine made in recent memory to small production fine wines that are terroir driven and embrace the climates and varieties that flourish in South Africa.

Increasingly, South African vineyards have started to draw a more international wine making and ownership base with a number of very well-known French wine makers becoming involved in vineyards in the Cape area. The Bouchard family of Burgundy, Philippe Colin of Chassagne-Montrachet and  May Eliane de Lencquesaing from the famous Bordeaux family and previous owners of Ch. Pichon Lalande all now have properties in South Africa. With this much needed influx of new ideas and knowledge comes investment and we are starting to see the true potential of South African wine making.

Neal Martin - a long standing advocate for the countries wines, this week released a report for Vinous media. Showcasing the latest talent that the country has to offer.

Seckford Wines are delighted to offer a selection of estates and wines from the report, along with Neal Martins notes. We think these wines are absolutely stunning and are really exciting buys in the market.

 

Bouchard Finlayson, Walker Bay:

Situated in Walker Bay Bouchard Finlayson is in one of South Africa’s coolest wine regions. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are king in Walker Bay and these wines are starting to make waves on the international market. Increasingly in the Pinot whole bunches are being used, the wines are beautifully bright and well balanced.

2016 Galpin Peak, Pinot Noir, Walker Bay, Bouchard Finlayson – £135 per six bottle case Ex VAT.

90 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2016 Galpin Peak Pinot Noir was matured for 11 months in French oak barrels, where malolactic fermentation followed during the months of maturation. It conveys a sense of brightness on the nose: blackberry, raspberry preserve and a touch of sous-bois emanate from the 23% whole-bunch clusters. The palate is well balanced with an almost pastille-like entry, well-judged acidity, and easygoing in style but smooth and harmonious. This is a well-made Pinot Noir from winemaker Chris Albrecht.

Paul Cluver, Elgin:

Elgin is another cooler climate part of the Cape region and the Cluver family have owned De Rust farm since 1896, becoming the first vineyard in the region in 1986. Elgin is well suited to aromatic varieties and Sauvignon Blanc flourishes here. The Seven Flags Chardonnay is something of a cult wine with South African wine lovers and was crowned best Chardonnay in the Decanter awards in 2017.

2017 Seven Flags Chardonnay, Paul Cluver Wines – £190 per six bottle case Ex VAT.

93 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2017 Seven Flags Chardonnay was matured in French oak barrels for nine months using 31% new oak, the rest second- and third-fill. The nose is a little more closed than the Estate Chardonnay at this early juncture, although there is a brooding intensity here. This is well defined, displaying hints of dried honey and white peach with aeration. The palate is fresh and crisp with hints of Golden Delicious and orange peel, the oak very well integrated and with an almost Meursault-like, nutty finish. Give this two or three years in bottle. Excellent.

De Morgenzon, Stellenbosch:

De Morgenzon is a rapidly rising star in South Africa, the estate is said to be brimming with excitement and ambition. The three reserve wines sit atop the tree at the estate and are simply outstanding, Syrah from De Morgenzon is something to really seek out – delicious.

2017 Reserve Chardonnay, De Morgenzon – £137 per six bottle case Ex VAT

93 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2017 Reserve Chardonnay, which saw around 25% new oak for 10 months with no bâtonnage and partial malolactic (around 30-40%), has a very poised, focused bouquet with a fine mineral undercurrent. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, very focused and full of tension, delivering the right amount of salinity on an Old World-influenced finish. Superb.

2017 Reserve Chenin, De Morgenzon - £137 per six bottle case Ex VAT

92 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2017 Reserve Chenin Blanc comes from vines planted in 1972, whole-bunch-pressed with around 18% new oak. The classy, sophisticated bouquet features yellow plum, jasmine, hints of crushed stone and subtle lemon thyme scents. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, the prudent use of oak allowing the grape variety to flourish; hints of dried pineapple and passion fruit mingle with mirabelle toward the poised, animated finish. Superb.

2015 Reserve Syrah, De Morgenzon – £137 per six bottle case Ex VAT

93 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2015 Reserve Syrah comes from three different blocks on the estate with a small amount of bush vine and the famous “music block,” where classical music is played to the vines whether they like it or not. It has a glorious bouquet of wilted iris and violet petals mixed with the red and black fruit, and just a hint of star anise in the background. The palate is beautifully balanced and the 20% new oak neatly integrated. There is also a touch of whole bunch here, and that lends light black pepper and charcoal notes right on the finish. Excellent.

Glenelly, Stellenbosch:

From almost Bordeaux royalty the de Lencquesaing family, Glenelly is a very fine estate in Stellenbosch. The Lady May is their ode to Bordeaux, being a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot & Merlot the wines mix old world structure with new world richness and are utterly delicious!

2011 Glenelly 'Lady May' Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch - £140 per six bottle case Ex VAT

92 Points (Neal Martin)


The 2011 Lady May is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot, matured in 100% new oak. This has a more refined, complex bouquet than the 2010, offering ample blackberry, graphite and cigar box aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chewy tannin and a fine line of acidity. I like the cohesion of this Cabernet blend, and the grainy, tobacco- and black pepper-tinged finish that feels reassuringly classic in style. Very fine.

Kanonkop, Stellenbosch:

Kanonkop is situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in Stellenbosch. It is a fourth generation family estate and the reds are becoming world class, the Peter Sauer and Black Label Pinotage are the two flagship wines and in the words of Neal Martin are impressive wines!

2015 Kanonkop, Paul Sauer, Stellenbosch – £170 per six bottle case Ex VAT

95 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2015 Paul Sauer spent five days on the skins and matured for 24 months in new 225-liter French oak (medium toast.) I tasted this both sighted and then blind. It has a sophisticated bouquet of blackberry, raspberry coulis, cedar, sage and mint, perhaps demonstrating a little more precision than the 2014 Paul Sauer. The palate is medium-bodied with rounded tannin, touches of blackberry, raspberry, sage, white pepper and pencil lead. This is quite an intellectual Paul Sauer, and one of the most complex I have encountered, showing real refinement and depth toward the persistent finish. It will benefit from another year or two in bottle, but what an impressive wine!

2016 Black Label Pinotage, Kanonkop , Stellenbosch – £696 per six bottle case Ex VAT

93 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2016 Black Label Pinotage was matured for 18 months in 100% new Vicard French oak and represents Kanonkop’s top Pinotage cuvée. It has a very refined bouquet of blackberry, red cherries, licorice and a touch of menthol. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, and as usual, it seems to suck up that new oak effortlessly. Rounded and quite sensual toward the finish, this is a gorgeous Pinotage (no oxymoron!) that really demonstrates what this grape variety can do in the right hands.

Catherine Marshall, Elgin:

A real upcoming garagiste producer Catherine Marshall is making focussed, terroir driven reds with her Finite Elements Pinot Noir being exceptional. These are Pinot Noirs made very much in the Burgundian style.

2016 Finite Elements Pinot Noir, Catherine Marshall, Elgin – £216 per six bottle case Ex VAT

91 Points (Neal Martin)

The 2016 Finite Elements Pinot Noir has an expressive, very perfumed and floral bouquet of red cherries and crushed strawberry, demonstrating much more precision and purity than the Pinot Noir on Sandstone or Clay Soils. The crisp, focused palate is well balanced with fine tannin, finding the finesse and transparency that Pinot Noir can bring with a touch of mineral tension on the finish. Very fine.

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