Welgemeend Reserve 1995

Welgemeend Reserve 1995

Worth the wait.

In 1999, I moved into an apartment in the Cape Town suburb of Gardens, the building situated in Welgemeend Street, which runs perpendicular to Hofmeyr Street. The late Billy Hofmeyr of Paarl property Welgemeend was, of course, made South Africa’s first Bordeaux-style red blend in 1979 and was succeeded by his daughter Louise in 1992. She gave me a bottle of her Reserve 1995 to mark my new address, which for sentimental reasons, I have resisted opening until now.

What a joy to drink. The wine has an alcohol of just 12.5% and according to Platter’s underwent “subtle oaking, mainly French, 11% new, some American”. A fantastic nose showing plenty of fruit (red cherry and cassis) but also more elusive notes of fynbos, tomato cocktail, boot polish and some earthiness. As for the palate, extraordinary density given that low abv, the tannins nicely resolved but the wine not soft or short. Just about all you could wish for in a Cab-Merlot blend 21 years on from vintage.

#WinemagRating: 95/100.

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  1. Tim JamesMay 2, 2016 at 10:43 amReply

    1995 was a fine Welgemeend vintage. I know Louise bottled some of them (a bit nervously) without filtration, and I’d guess she might have given you one of those, Christian. I had an excellent 1997 Estate Reserve a few weeks ago, which prompted me to also try a 2000 the other night. That too was still in fine form, rather bigger and riper from a hot year, though I rather think the bad virus in the vineyards was just starting to have too much of an effect. Sadly I have few Welgemeends left – a couple of those great 95s, in fact. This was always an under-appreciated wine – perhaps because of its Paarl address as much as for the modest unshowiness of its restraint. Over the years it always had a distinct character, which I think must have been the terroir, adding to its drinkability. There’s nothing like these Welgemeends being made in the Cape today, unfortunately.

  2. KwispedoorMay 2, 2016 at 8:59 amReply

    Man, I miss those…

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