JUST THE FACTS
Price: R145.00 (as of Sept 2016)
Wine Region: Paarl
Country: South Africa
Ponce Factor: Low
Occasion: Book club
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A decent offering with moderate intrigue value, but at R145, it’s a touch over-priced.
Almost a year has passed since my last blind tasting of this wine, & the scores have remained unchanged.
Colour is probably still the loveliest thing about it; more opaque than the President’s finances.
Speaking of the President, the palate holds some seriously dense fruit that seems to hang around for ages.
Again those classic Malbec-ish sweet tobacco & aromatic pine-resin notes mingled with the lingering black fruit tail.
The wine is soft & fruity enough to enjoy solo, but is certainly in no danger of being a fruit bomb.
Uppety wine snobs will tell you that South Africa makes poor malbecs, but that hasn’t stopped our winemakers from trying. On occasion, they produce something quite lovely. Anura’s Limited release 2014 vintage is one such wine.
For folk who like a little history (but just a little), the short version of the Malbec story is this:
In the Cahors region, South West France (where they were called “Cot”) plantings of the grape have been in decline, mostly because they are kind weakling in nature, and often get wiped out by frost or disease. Grapes like Cab franc are a little hardier, and so risk-averse farmers have steered clear of Cot/Malbec where they have had the choice.
In Argentina, however, the warmer climate seems to have treated the grapes quite well, and the results have been some delightfully large black-fruit-driven velvety reds, lacking the sometimes austere tannic nature of their French counterparts.
Argentina’s success with the grape has grown to the point where any Malbec anyone ever raved about was nigh on guaranteed to come from the Mendoza region of Argentina. Argentina has even declared Malbec to be their “national grape”. Needless to say, in Argentina, Malbec is kind of a big deal.
Now whether the frenzied devotion to the grape was warranted or not, the global success of the Mendoza Malbecs spread confidence to other New World winemakers in regions with warmer climates. Our Stellenbosch is one such region (though there are other regions producing great Malbecs too).
If you enjoy this guy, look out for the following South African Malbecs:
1. Doolhof Signatures Malbec (Stellenbosch)
2. Paul Wallace Black Dog Malbec
3. Annexkloof Reserve Malbec
4. La Couronne Malbec
5. Mt Vernon Malbec
About the Author
Jono Le Feuvre is not a bean counter. He is a bean roaster. Bean roasters carry far more street cred & get to speak at bizarre niche gatherings of enquiring-but-unhinged-minds. They also usually have addictive tendencies. When he is not roasting beans he is pulling corks. Or deftly removing screwcap enclosures. But you can read more about him here.