The Fantastic Four: Highlights from The Sommelier Selection Awards 2017

The Fantastic Four

Highlights from The Sommelier Selection Awards 2017

Hero of the people, Joakim Blackadder, and his team of thirsty somms from The Sommelier Selection sampled almost 400 wines before they were able to compile the 2017 #SommSelect winelist. While we didn’t get to taste them all, here are four highlights that are very much worth seeking out.
Leeuwenkuil Grenache Noir 2015

Price: R115 Score: 17/20 Value: 4/5.
If you love your Grenaches (or is the plural “grenaux”?) to be like your dinner dates, then this is Elton John in a cherry red tux, sporting a velvet plum coloured top-hat. It is in no way heavy, brooding, or serious. What is it, though, is fantastic.
An notably unapologetic nose of delightfully sweet, fresh berry elements. These segue onto the palate where the light, sweet, fresh berry fruit is joined by ripe black plum notes and, more importantly, some gloriously pronounced raspberry acidity.

Opstal Estate Carl Everson Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2016

Price: R165 Score: 17/20 Value: 3/5.
Winemaker Attie Louw is on a ridiculous purple patch with the last three vintages of his Carl Everson Chenin Blanc. It’s like he’s baking heavenly bread-&-Butter pudding, served with fresh cut pears and apples. Which sounds weird, I know, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Mouthfeel is superbly full & lush, with apples, pears & delightfully lengthy honey sweetness. Add to this tastefully prominent oak & lashings of leesy goodness, and you have a carnival for the senses.
Certainly not for minimalist dullards.

UniWines Daschnosch Steen 2016

Price: R115 Score: 16/20 Value: 3/5
While being weirdly hard to find, the UniWines Daschbosch label produces the odd gem worth shouting about. This rich and layered is one of them.
On the palate, leesy elements play nicely with gentle melon notes, producing a wonderfully textured creamy mouthfeel, carrying fairly persistent fruit.
Acidity was not particularly standout, but pleasant grapefruit elements keep things interesting on the tail. Then, just when you think the show is over, an ever-so-subtle hint of toasty oak emerges to whistle a ditty before going back down below.

Mt Vernon Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Price: R240 Score: 18/20 Value: 3/5.
This wine is like the love child between Dolf Lundgren and Gerard Depardieu. Huge nose; loads of brawn; exquisitely intense.
Unlike a Dolf Lundgren film, this wine will get better in time.
Vanguard aromas explode out of the glass with ripe cassis fruit, mint leaf & sweet black cherries. 
All this carries onto a gargantuan palate of thick black fruit – plums, cassis & maraschino elements. 
Tannins are a truly formidable bunch, but appropriately so, given the wall of fruit that it boasts.
It was tank-fermented for 21 days before being matured for 18 months in French oak.