JUST THE FACTS
Price: R50 (as of April 2017)
Winery: Cloof Wine Estate
Varietal: Red Blend (BDX)
Wine Region: Darling
Country: South Africa
Ponce Factor: Low
Occasion: Any time you need to test out a new decanter.
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Tasted blind alongside its double gold-winning older sibling.
While not quite as rounded as 2015, the value is still remarkably high.
Colour is a vibrant youthful crimson in the glass.
The vanguard aromas carry blackcurrant, ripe berries & violets. A delightfully fresh nose.
The ever-so-slightly ragged mouthfeel betrays its youth, but the otherwise abundantly fruit-forward palate presents with moderate weight & length.
While it’s no doubt intended for immediate consumption, the 2015 has shown it can handle a brief sojourn in the cellar. I’d back the 2016 to enjoy a little solitude, too, so don’t be afraid to lay it down for a year or two.
Can cheap wines age?
Poorly-made wines are a little like action hero actors. Waiting for them to get old will not turn them into award-winning specimens. Are we’re all waiting for Jean-Claude Van Damme to bring home that Oscar just because he turned 50? No.
Luckily for us, cheap wines are not always poorly-made wines. And the Cloof Duckitt Bordeaux blend is proof of this.
So, if a wine is cheap, but pleasant to drink, how do we know if it will get even better with a little bit of time in the cellar?
Here are two factors one can check when trying to decide how long a wine can age.
Anything deep, dark and dense is more likely to survive a year or so in the cellar (you can read more on that here). But if the colour has less intensity than Kristen Stewart on Xanax, then the chances are that your wine is only going to get worse over time.
Whether it’s suede, sandpaper, cotton wool, or maxi-pads that we use to describe the astringency of tannic compounds in our mouths, the sensation is one that lives on a knife edge between “Delightfully structured” and “Dryer than an Arizona cat box”. If the wine you’re sipping leans more to the catbox genre, there is a chance that a little bit of RnR in a deep, dark cellar may do it some good. If, however, it is already drinking like a super-soft juicebox of Ribena (void of any sort of tannic astringency), then it is unlikely that the wine will make like Helen Mirren and get more interesting with age.
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.