Ouwingerdreeks Skurfberg Olifantsrivier 2009

Going strong.

Going strong.

Another post on the topic of when SA’s best wines provide optimal drinking. Skurfberg is a Chenin Blanc from Olifantsrivier grapes and part of Eben Sadie’s Ouwingerdreeks and when I drank the 2009 vintage some three years ago, I suggested that it was “very fine but short of greatness”, scoring it 16.5/20, which is roughly equivalent to 88 on the 100-point scale (see here).

Over lunch yesterday, Grape.co.za editor and contributor to this site Tim James kindly provided another bottle. My tasting note was similar – bruised apple, stale beer, gentle spice, a certain waxiness on the nose and palate – but I was more inclined to be impressed by it.

The richness it has always had really is quite imposing but the wine is holding very well and there’s no shortage of detail – with food, more primary fruit came to the fore including citrus, peach and fresh apple.

I am sure the wine will provide drinking pleasure for a while yet but the point does have to be made that the primary fruit will gradually dissipate while the honeyed, nutty notes which come with bottle age will increase. To some extent when to drink this wine will depend on your individual tolerance for developed characters.

Score: 92/100.

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One Comment

  1. KwispedoorOctober 21, 2014 at 11:39 amReply

    I love the 2012 of this wine, so it was really nice to read about the 2009.

    “…the point does have to be made that the primary fruit will gradually dissipate while the honeyed, nutty notes which come with bottle age will increase.” In my experience, this is not always exactly true regarding all wines.

    It’s true that developed flavours or bottle age character increase over time, but it happens over a fairly rapid sliding scale for some wines, while it’s a very slow and gradual process in others. The same can be said of the softening of acidity and the integration of wine’s many components.

    Fruit, however, is another story. Most wines will start off with a measure of fruit intensity and estery fermentation character which will steadily decline with age. However, some very good wines will start off fresh enough, but rather shy and tight, even unyielding. Over time, they will retain a level of freshness, but their fruit will unveil itself and the wine will truly blossom (Cape Point Vineyards’s best whites are just one case in point).

    I’ve had non-vintage Champagne that was matured for more than two decades (who does that?) that was positively bristling with opulent fruit – a far cry from its linear, crisp start. There are too many other examples to mention here.

    The ageing process of wine is truly complex. Some wines NEED proper age to show their best fruit, it’s not always about a steady one-way decline. We’re only talking about really good wines from the outset here, of course, and I’m admitting the Russian Roulette factor in the whole scenario as well.

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Wine magazine was published from October 1993 until September 2011 & now lives on in digital form as Winemag.co.za. We cover everything to do with SA fine wine.

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