Marianne in Stellenbosch was established by prominent Bordeaux producer Christian Dauriac in 2004, the resulting wines have tended to be in a rich, big style – Dauriac is friends with consultant Michel Rolland and his influence shows.
Somewhat curiously then Francois Haasbroek, previously of Waterford and now making his wines under the label Black Water, was called in to supervise the 2013 harvest – you wouldn’t necessarily call Haasbroek a reactionary relative to Rolland but his wines typically demonstrate elegance rather than power.
In any event, Haasbroek has produced two rather smart reds which are about to hit the market, a Merlot and a Shiraz, tasting notes and ratings as follows.
Marianne Merlot 2013
Matured for 18 months in French oak, one-third new. A very expressive nose of red and black fruit, oystershell, violets and a little fynbos. The palate is medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins, the finish nicely dry. A subtle and refined rendition of this often difficult variety.
Marianne Shiraz 2013
Matured for 22 months in French oak, 60% new. Red and black fruit, purple flowers, spice and white pepper on the nose. The palate is not slight like many of the acclaimed cuvees coming out of Swartland but it remains pure and fresh with lovely fine tannins, the finish gently savoury.
Haasbroek end his relationship with Marianne towards the end of 2014and Rolland acolyte Thierry Harberer took over as consultant, the Sauvignon Blanc 2015 suggesting a return to a more full-on style.
Marianne Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Matured for nine months in French oak, 50% new. Citrus, white peach and tropical fruit plus hints of vanilla and spice on the nose. The palate shows good concentration with coated acidity – powerful but compelling. More “Bordeaux white” than “New World Sauvignon Blanc”.
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