Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Reserve 2009

Big bang theory from Blaauwklippen.

Yesterday the launch of two top-end wines from Stellenbosch winery Blaauwklippen, a Shiraz Reserve and a Zinfandel Reserve, both from the 2009 vintage and both with a cellar door price of R300 a bottle.

From high-density vines planted in 2005 and 2006, the Shiraz Reserve spent 18 months in new oak, a combination French and Romanian (the latter for extra spiciness). It’s rich, full and very smooth textured – what I suspect many people think expensive wine should taste like but I find it a little anodyne.

The Zinfandel Reserve, meanwhile, is a more interesting proposition. From a vineyard planted in 1982, it also spent 18 months in new oak, although all French. The wine is also big and powerful but more aptly so than the Shiraz. The nose is very expressive with aromas of raisin (in the best sense), chocolate as well as dried herbs and spices while the palate is broad with soft but comforting tannins. It’s a bit of an oddity but the world of wine is the more interesting for oddities like this.

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3 Comments

  1. ChristianJuly 14, 2011 at 9:17 pmReplyAuthor

    According to Blaauwklippen winemaker Albert Basson, the Zin Reserve’s abv is stated as 15.5% on the label and is in fact 16%. If you’re looking for delicate and ephemeral, then this is probably not your wine…

  2. DieterJuly 8, 2011 at 2:31 pmReply

    Ouch, R300 for the Zin puts it in the same price bracket as those from Ridge (CA). I’d be interested to know what the abv is since this variety produces notoriously high alcohol, particularly the few Aussie examples?

  3. Fat GaryJuly 8, 2011 at 10:39 amReply

    I used to work right next door to Blaauwklippen estate, what a beautiful part of the world. Interesting that they are producing Zinfandel – here in the UK the supermarket shelves are full of Californian Zin, usually fairly big and rich, although examples I’ve tried have often been overoaked mercilessly. The grape obviously enjoys the warm climate, originally hailing (I believe) from Croatia.

    On a trip to Croatia last year, I had the pleasure of trying wine made from the ancient Croatian grape Plavac Mali, in fact a cross of Zinfandel and Dobričić grapes which is grown on the Dalmatian cost. It makes for a truly wonderful wine, intensely aromatic which I can best describe as drinking a bowl of pot pourri (in the best way possible).! Dried violets are what I remember most, and it’s possible to smell the wine from across the room, truly incredible. I would love to see SA winemakers experimenting with this grape.

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