Viljoensdrft River Grandeur Cape Blend 2009

Crowd pleaser.

High alcohols on South African wines has been much debated in recent times but what of the matter of residual sugars which also seem to be creeping ever upwards?

Sweetness can be seductive, the Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 a recent case in point, its RS of over 5g/l (and hence technically semi-sweet) no impediment to it achieving a rating of 4 Stars in a recent category review that I chaired on behalf of Wine magazine. Some will scoff that my colleagues and I were so easily beguiled by the wine but this is an entry-level offering (approximate retail price of under R30) and I think it’s to producer Distell’s credit that it can put such a broadly appealing product on the market for that kind of money.

Where table wine with high residual sugar becomes problematic for me is when it has pretensions to seriousness. Klein Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is generally much celebrated including a rating of 5 Stars in Platter’s 2011 but I find the wine overdone, in particular its RS of 3.2g/l discordant.

Over supper last night, I opened Viljoensdrft River Grandeur Cape Blend 2009, a wine consisting of 66% Shiraz and 34% Pinotage My impression was of a smooth textured wine with flavours of ultra-ripe red and black fruit and a touch of coffee. Fundamentally, however, it appeared sweet and I soon confirmed it has a residual sugar of 3.5 g/l. It rated 4½ Stars in Wine although this time I’m absolved of blame as I did not sit on the panel concerned. On the whole, I thought it passable and priced at R39.50 from the cellar, nobody can accuse those involved in making it of delusions of grandeur. Even so, it did not pair well with food and I was soon reaching for something drier.

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2 Comments

  1. karenJune 3, 2011 at 5:44 pmReply

    Can’t argue with the price of the Viljoensdrift ar R40 bucks/ 4,5* rating!

  2. KwispedoorJune 3, 2011 at 11:42 amReply

    What serendipity! We had BOTH the Klein Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 at my club’s Cabernet tasting last Saturday. It was a blind tasting and these two wines were the two lowest scoring wines on my tasting sheet, out of 13 wines. None of the other Noble Rotters liked them much either and they will probably end up as the two lowest scoring wines of the tasting – even lower than a few of the other wines affected by brett (I have not processed the scores yet). After revealing the wines, the tasters were more forgiving of the Obikwa when they heard it cost just R25.
    In addition, we thought that there was Shiraz added to the Obikwa (in part due to its spicy nose). Due to the ripe fruit juxtaposed with a rather watery palate I actually also thought there might have been added water too (effect: lower alcohol, easier drinkable, cheaper)! Guess I’ll never know…
    My cryptic notes on the KC 2008: Chocolatey-woody. Slight greenness. A bit boring, not showing real Cabernet character or sense of place. Not dry. Unctuous. High alcohol. Typical over-extracted ‘new world’ style.
    To provide context, most of the other Cabernets were older – they were:
    Grangehurst CIWG Reserve 1997
    Clovelly 2007
    Le Riche Grand Vin de Terroir (a ringer)
    Landskroon 2001
    Saxenburg Private Collection 1999
    Knorhoek 2003
    Thelema 2003
    Blaauwklippen early eighties (lost its neck label with vintage)
    Blaauwklippen CIWG 1984
    KWV Cathedral Cellar 2003
    Overgaauw 1999

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