Graham Beck The Game Reserve Shiraz 2009

April 4, 2013
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 4 Comments
Bang for your, um, buck.

Bang for your, um, buck.

Graham Beck wines has a new tier to its range called The Game Reserve range – each bottling featuring one of the many indigenous animals and plants found in the Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve situated in Robertson.  On the whole serviceable rather than irresistibly attractive (the Shiraz is the best of the bunch) but expect to be available from every bush lodge in the country.

Chardonnay 2010
Price: R75
W.O. Robertson. Lemon plus an overt but not unattractive leesy note on the nose. Medium bodied with fresh acidity and a savoury finish. Has interest but drink now.

Score: 85/100.

Chenin Blanc 2012
Price: R60
W.O. Coastal. Reductive on the nose. Citrus and peach flavours. Clean and fresh but no real complexity.

Score: 84/100.

Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Price: R60
W.O. Coastal. Dusty pyrazine note on the nose. Lime fruit, mouth-puckering acidity. Lean and green.

Score: 83/100.

Viognier 2010
Price: R75
W.O. Robertson. Peach and orange, oak-derived vanilla and buttery, leesy notes. Rich on the palate with moderate acidity. Showing some development and rather quirky overall.

Score: 84/100.

Rosé 2012
Price: R45
W.O. Robertson. Cherry pink in colour. Shy nose but plenty of cranberry (reminiscent of a Cosmopolitan cocktail!) on the palate. Quite substantial (RS 5.8g/l) with well integrated acidity (TA 7.3g/l). Nice dry finish.

Score: 84/100.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Price: R85
W.O. Stellenbosch. Cassis, mint and milk chocolate on the nose and palate. Lacks concentration, no real structure and overt “green” character.

Score: 83/100.

Merlot 2010
Price: R85
W.O. Coastal. Ripe red fruit and overt cinnamon note. Light bodied with fresh acidity. No great complexity or concentration.

Score: 82/100.

Pinotage 2010
Price: R75
W.O. Coastal. Red and black cherry and attractive fynbos note on the nose. Sweet ripe fruit and soft tannins. Pleasant but straightforward.

Score: 84/100.

Shiraz 2009
Price: R85
W.O. Stellenbosch. Red and black fruit, hints of pepper and spice. Very approachable with good fruit definition, fresh acidity and fine tannins. Medium bodied and well balanced.

Score: 88/100.

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  1. ChristianApril 5, 2013 at 1:33 pmReplyAuthor

    Why the 100-point system? First, let us accept that the rating of wines is a necessary evil – in a hugely over-traded market, consumers need assistance when it comes to making a purchasing decision. The question then becomes what system has the most resonance with said consumers. A switch to the 100-point system is not about the “exquite sensitivity” of my palate but rather about adopting the international standard – if South African wine wants to be taken seriously by a global audience, then we need to abide by the conventions that prevail in the market place. Crucial thresholds now become 80/100, 90/100 and 95/100. Below 80 being rubbish, 90 and over being very good (“red ink” in Platter’s) and 95 and over being world class. I think South Africa’s best wines are going to be bunched in the 90 to 94 range for the meantime but as the industry continues on its steep improvement curve post political transformation, we will start to see more and more wines in the magical 95-plus bracket – Columella 2010 sits there quite comfortably by my reckoning, for instance.

  2. KwispedoorApril 5, 2013 at 9:37 amReply

    The ghastly 100-point scoring system is even more stupid than the 20-point scoring system. If you read someone like Jamie Goode’s blog, 95% of the wines score between 88 and 94. I can still try and digest the difference between a 16.5 out of 20 and a 17 out of 20, but the difference between a 91 and a 92 is negligible and even pretentious. I can only guess that Christian is doing this to try and find better favour internationally, but for me and the friends I’ve spoken to, the scores are now a bit, well, pointless.

  3. Tim JamesApril 4, 2013 at 9:39 pmReply

    Pardon the typos in the above comment – there seems to be no facility for making corrections.

  4. Tim JamesApril 4, 2013 at 9:37 pmReply

    Hi Christian – I see with some disappointment, though a depressing sense of inevitability, that you’re now using Parker’s 100 point scoring system – presumably to better express the enviable, exquisite sensitivity of your palate than is possible with a less minutely-calibrated system. Can we presume that we can merely divide by five to get the score out of 20, more common in this county? So that these scores in the 80s would be well into the 16/20 territory (easy four stars in Platter)? I ask, because it seems to me that one of the standard concomitants of the 100-point system is that scores start rising rather alarmingly (eg you seemed not wildly enthusiastic about the Spice Route Chakalakas recently, but scored them close to 90/100, which to simple-minded people like me would seem to approximate nearly 18/20 according to the coring system you were recently using).

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