Jordan Cobblers Hill 2001 vs. Jordan CWG Sophia 2002

October 27, 2010
by Christian
in What I Drank Last Night
with 3 Comments
Jordan Cobblers Hill 2001 vs. Jordan CWG Sophia 2002

Jordan Cobblers Hill 2001 vs. Jordan CWG Sophia 2002

Fiona McDonald came around for supper last night and when two former Wine magazine editors get together, it’s only fitting that some decent bottles get opened. She brought a bottle of Jordan Cape Winemakers Guild Sophia 2002 which she acquired at the 2004 auction when normal wine lovers could still afford to hold a bidding paddle aloft (average price of Sophia 2002 was R208 a bottle while that of the 2007 at the 2009 auction was R546); I was able to match it with a bottle of Jordan Cobblers Hill 2001, which originally sold for R165 a bottle.

The wines proved fine drinking although in a very modern idiom, winemaking duo Gary and Kathy Jordan having studied at UC Davis. The Cobblers Hill 2001 is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% each of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and the wine spent 22 months in French oak, 100% new; 15% abv.

Sophia 2002, meanwhile, is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 8% Merlot, the blend drawn from the best Cobblers Hill barrels and a reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine spent 26 months in French oak, 100% new and abv is again 15%.

Both were big and rich as might be expected from the above. The Cobblers Hill 2001 showed dark fruit, chocolate and a hint of mint with fine, soft tannins; the Sophia 2002 was even more plush, sweet fruited and possessing extremely smooth tannins.

I ever so slightly preferred the Cobblers Hill 2001 to the Sophia 2002 on account of it having more complexity and balance but whether that was because 2001 was a better vintage to 2002, or because the 2002 was just a touch overdone (as CWG wines can tend to be), I’m not sure. To be hyper-critical, both wines lacked a little finesse: ten years ago, Jordan was one of the producers that lead the way in terms of moving away from red wines that showed under-ripe character but the way forward is surely to get the same fruit expression without quite so much power and weight.

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3 Comments

  1. Gary JordanOctober 28, 2010 at 10:06 amReply

    For a difficult vintage, the Jordan Sophia 2002 is still one of my favourite wines from our cellar! The 2005 Jordan Cobblers Hill (Platter 5 star) is a blend of 43% Cab S, 42% Merlot and 15% Cab F, so I ascribe Angela’s ‘meatiness’ to a much higher % of Merlot than usual in Cobblers Hill. The 2001 has 24% Melot and the 02 only 8%. The 2005 also spent 26 months in oak rather than the usual 24 which meant that it went to bottle with a very slightly less intense red colour than some other vintages. That said, Kwispedoor is correct in that we are doing our best nowadays to ensure phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol levels. Our newly released 2006 Jordan Cobblers Hill is only 13.5% alcohol.

  2. Angela LloydOctober 28, 2010 at 9:32 amReply

    I tasted (blind) a range of Bordeaux-style blends yesterday evening, from Bdx, SA and a Craggy Range Sophia 2005; Cobblers 2005 among the SA contingent. It seemed over-advanced for its age with a strong garnet rim and sweet, meaty flavours. I’d be interested to hear whether anyone has had a different experience with this vintage. More generally, it was easy to pick out the SA wines from the French – high alcs, lack of freshness and sweetish on finish – Woolies Neil Ellis cab/merlot 2007, Waterford CWG 2005 and De Toren Fusion V 2007 made up the balance of the SA team.

  3. KwispedoorOctober 27, 2010 at 6:53 pmReply

    Luckily, they did move away from that overdone style. Note the huge differences in all their reds from 2005 to 2006 vintage. No more 14.5% and higher alcohols. I noticed this first when tasting their 2006 Merlot (which won something at the Old Mutual Wine Show, if memory serves) and getting – surprisingly – pyrazines on the nose. The wine was gorgeous, balanced, had 13.5% alcohol and is waiting in my cellar.
    Then I tasted the 2006 CWG Sophia and thought it was one of the best two red wines at that particular year’s CWG showcase, along with a 2003 CWG Auction blend from Chris Keet/Cordoba. When I read through the little CWG booklet afterwards, I found that those two wines were the only reds between the whole lot that had less than 14% alcohol. There was certainly nothing underripe on either of those two wines – I’m so looking forward to more winemakers that realise balance is where it’s at!

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