Towards the end of last year, Vin de Constance 2007 was rated 97 points by Neal Martin on eRobertParker.com., then the highest score ever awarded to a South African wine. Is it that good? Today a blind tasting hosted by Klein Constantia of local and international benchmark sweet wines and the Vin de Constance showed very well indeed for me – it’s not classic but it’s certainly distinctive.
A happy discovery for me was the Grain Noble Marsanne Blanche 2009 from Marie-Thérèse Chappaz, known as the queen of sweet wine in Switzerland, while I liked the 2005 vintage of Yquem more than the 2001, the latter a wine which was rated 100 points by both Parker and Wine Spectator but which I thought was a touch overdone. The Tokaji from Disznókö was rock ‘n roll.
Scores and tasting notes below:
Chateau d’Yquem 2005
Earthy, some mushroom on the nose and palate. Intricate and subtle, the overall flavour impression being savoury. Pleasingly dry on the finish.
Disznókö 6 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszú 2000
Complex nose – potpourri and some mushroom. Rich and full with layers of flavour offset by bright acidity.
Marie-Thérèse Chappaz Grain Noble Marsanne Blanche 2009
From the queen of sweet wine in Switzerland. Great fruit expression as well as some mushroom and a hint of spice. Poised and focussed.
Vin de Constance 2007
Overt Muscat fragrance. Rather forceful with intense citrus and spice. Lots going on. Good line of acidity and a long finish.
Chateau d’Yquem 2001
Dramatic wine with notes of dried apricot, mushroom and spice on the nose and palate. Some not unpleasing V/A. Good flavour intensity, bright acidity.
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2010
Complex nose showing ripe citrus and some floral fragrance. Clean and fresh, good line of acidity.
Mullineux Straw Wine 2011
Advanced, rather nutty nose. Rich, full and thick textured but balanced by zingy acidity.
Boekenhoutskloof Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2009
Slight mushroom quality on the nose. Well balanced but not hugely intense on the palate – more savoury than sweet.
Quoin Rock Simonsberg Vine Dried Sauvignon Blanc 2011
White peach on the nose and palate. Clean and fresh with a dry finish. Carefully conceived.
Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2012
Citrus and rather pronounced vanilla. Intense but lacks finesse.
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2011
Shy nose. Concentrated apricot and peach, fresh acidity. Well assembled but no great complexity.
Neethlingshof Maria Noble Late Harvest 2012
Dried apricot, hint of mushroom on the nose and palate. Thick textured and very sweet.
Paul Cluver Rieling Noble Late Harves 2011
Gently fruity on the nose and palate. Understated and subtle.
Domaine Cauhapé Symohonie de Novembre Juranço 2008
Dirty nose. The palate shows concentrated fruit but lacks purity overall – a bit rustic.
Rudera Noble Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2010
Waxy, leesy nose. Lighter bodied and rather straightforward.