Wines made for the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction often get criticised for being overdone but the Waterford Estate Auction Reserve 2005 drunk last night was looking marvellous. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 10% Malbec, it was matured for 23 months in French oak, no indication given by the CWG site as to what portion was new.
The first point in the wine’s favour was that there was very little browning around the rim. On the nose, red and black fruit, a subtle leafiness, some oyster shell and attractive oak spice. A touch of forest floor and the other hard-to-describe savoury notes that come with development but this character not nearly as pronounced as it can be on SA reds 10 years from vintage.
The palate was rich but balanced with optimally ripe fruit, brisk acidity and nicely resolved tannins. Very little decay in evidence. I did wonder whether or not it was going to get very much more interesting from further bottle maturation but rather a year too early than a day too late, as they say.