Doolhof Estate Judges Reserve BDX Blend 2013


Price: R47 (as of Dec 2016)
Winery: Doolhof Estate
Varietal: Red Blend
Wine Region: Wellington
Country: South Africa


Quality: 15/20
Value: 4/5
Ponce Factor: Low. Except it has the word “Reserve” on it, so it sounds fancy.
Occasion: Mid-week quaffer, or even a fancy dinner where there is a decanter handy.

Be sure to check out
If you read nothing else

An economic anomaly, to be sure. At R47.00, I can’t help wonder if this all fell off the back of a Doolhof truck.
Lovely aromas of sweet mint, oaky vanilla & cassis
Palate is a touch thin, but some folk like it that way. Ripe plum & cassis on the palate interact well with red cherry acidity & oaky tannins.
Finish is, admittedly, a touch astringent, marring what has, until then, been a delightfully soft, rounded, multi-faceted experience. Buy a case to bulk up your cellar buffer. You won’t be sorry.

Blind Man’s Bluff

Having hosted numerous blind tastings at the HDS HQ, I had had the opportunity to hear some marvellously uncensored comments from wine newbies, and casual drinkers. My favourite regular comment is:

“Hmmm…this tastes expensive.”

What’s funny about this is that, bizarre as it sounds, people almost always agree on what “expensive” tastes like.

(In case you were wondering, “expensive” tastes like fresh earth, cedar, oakherbs, and dry black fruit, like cassis).

And if you thought it couldn’t get any funnier (I’m in stitches over here), people are always disappointed with themselves when they discover that a wine they deemed “expensive” turns out to be a cheapie.

Playing the Game

Of course, the logical response shouldn’t be disappointment, but rather joy and mirth. After all, you’ve just discovered that this “expensive wine” will cost you less than a backdated bargain bin copy of Monster Hits Volume 2.

The takeaway from this is that people will always love “expensive”, even if they’re not sure what that looks like. So if you’re looking to impress guests on a budget, you’ll want a wine that tastes expensive, but won’t break the bank.

Luckily HanDrinksSolo has wines like this by the bucketload, but the trick is to find a bottle that doesn’t look cheap (even this little Doolhof gem unfortunately looks and feels cheaper than a backrow seat on the Jerry Springer show). And this is why we love decanters…

The cheap red wine above, in its cheap red wine bottle, may taste great, but as humans we are so easily manipulated by visual cues, that you would have to be nigh on Ghandi-esque in your human profundity to not be less impressed with the brown paper label than you would be with the crystal decanter on the right (marble counter sold separately).

 This means that finding a great value wine that tastes like liquid cash is only half the trick. The other half is presentation. So if it seems couter-intuitive to spend money on an elegant decanter in order to save money on wine, then view it instead as spending less on wine, and making a once-off downpayment on your own dignity. There. Don’t you feel better?

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.