Clos Malverne has for me always been one of those second-tier properties in Stellenbosch which makes satisfactory but not completely enthralling wines. Suzanne Coetzee took over as winemaker in October 2010 and it’s going to be interesting to see if she shakes things up – she got off to a good start with her Sauvignon Blanc 2011 finishing among the winners of last year’s FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 Competition.
Now the release of the Auret 2010 and the Pinotage Reserve 2010, two top-end reds which she wouldn’t have vinified but would have bottled. The Auret is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Pinotage, 9% Merlot and 5% Shiraz and spent 12 months in French oak, 40% new. Red and black fruit, a touch of vanilla, medium bodied, fresh acidity, fine tannins. Very clean and correct. Not cheap at R168 a bottle but probably value for money. Score: 16/20.
The Pinotage Reserve spent 12 months in oak, 80% French and 20% American, around 40% new. It’s a wine which flatters to deceive – there’s lots of upfront sweet red cherry fruit and not too overt vanilla and milk chococolate but the wine lacks real concentration and the acidity is a bit soft. It’s got lots of popular appeal but I’d like a little more intricacy and complexity for a wine which sells for R148 a bottle from the farm. Score: 15/20.