Eikendal, with Nico Grobler still relatively new as head of viticulture and winemaking, is on a roll and 2013 has been a particularly good year with Charisma 2011 judged best Shiraz-based blend at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show and Bordeaux-style red blend Classique 2011 being rated 5 Stars in Platter’s 2014.
Yesterday a tasting of most of the current release wines. All the wines impress on account of the fruit purity and finesse they show but the Chardonnay Reserve 2012 (R103 a bottle) and Classique 2011 (R205) are particularly noteworthy.
The Chardonnay spent approximately 12 months in 500-litre barrels, 20% new and is most definitely one of the lighter, more elegant premium examples of the variety around (HRV would steam-roll, it let alone Glen Carlou Quartz Stone).
Blossom, lime and lemon on the nose. Clean and fresh on the palate with a finish so pithy as to be austere. Hugely primary now, my instinct is that it’s 24 months off drinking at its best.
On to the Classique and while this blend traditionally featured very little Merlot, Grobler thinks he’s got pyrazines (the green character that marks many local examples) beat and is inclined to use it more and more. “No other farm in South Africa has done as much research on Merlot. It’s not just about opening up the canopy. It’s how you fertilise, how you irrigate and so on.”
The 2011 is compelling. A blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc, it spent 16 months in French oak, 60% new. Beautiful fruit expression (cherries, strawberries, black currant, even mulberries) plus a note of pencil shavings. Pure and true, possessing wonderful freshness and fine tannins, it’s one of those wines which is worthy of contemplation but goes down all too easily.