The June issue of UK magazine Decanter has the results of a blind tasting of “Cape Mediterranean Whites” – 65 wines, blends containing no more than 75% Chenin Blanc and no more than 25% Chardonnay and/or Sauvignon Blanc plus single-varietal wines from Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Palomino and Viognier.
The results? Two wines rated “outstanding” (both with scores of 95), 11 “highly recommended”, 49 “recommended” and 3 “fair”.
“This tasting showed one of the challenges for South Africa: diversity. Of styles, tastes and winemaking philosophies. Some wines will polarise people; we saw that even among ourselves. That doesn’t mean producers aren’t making good wines; it just means consumers might be a bit shocked by what they get,” commented Adrian Garforth MW and panel member. Big-name name wines which fared poorly included Fable Jackal Bird 2013 which scored 83 as well as Fairview Nurok 2013 and Sequillo 2013 both 84…
The two top performers were Rall White 2013 (previously reviewed on this site here) and The Grande Provence 2013.
The Grande Provence 2013 is a blend of 60% Chenin Blanc from 32-year-old vines, fermented and matured for 12 months in large-format old oak plus 40% Viognier, fermented and matured for 12 months in barriques, some new.
It’s a remarkably understated affair. On the nose, pear, white peach, a touch of pineapple and a hint of spice. The palate meanwhile shows good fruit purity and freshness, the finish long and dry. A clean and correct sort of wine but perhaps a bit short of detail. Price: R350 a bottle.