A tasting of ten examples of Viognier, the line-up including wines that have come to the fore in one context or another as among the best in category.
I reviewed the wines with James Pietersen, regular taster for Platter’s and beverage manager for Belthatzar and Balducci’s restaurants at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Using Riedel Restaurant Series stemware, we tasted blind with scoring done according to the 20-point system and here’s how the wines ranked (individual taster’s score below each wine):
1. Flagstone Word of Mouth 2008
Western Cape (Elgin/Elim), abv 13.5%.
Peach, buchu and a burnt matchstick note on the nose. The palate shows juicy fruit and lively acidity flavours of citrus and again peach. Focused and precise.
CE 17.5 JP 17
2. KWV The Mentors 2010
Paarl, abv 14%.
Apricot and peach aromas. The palate is medium bodied with optimally ripe fruit and a good line of acidity. Flavours of peach, pineapple and peach kernel. Great balance and length.
CE 17 JP 17
3. Fort Simon Platinum Collection 2009
Stellenbosch, abv 14%.
Intense peach and apricot on the nose and palate. Rich and concentrated with well handled oak and tangy, almost tart acidity. Has good palate weight.
CE 16 JP 16.5
4. Fleur du Cap Unfiltered 2009
Stellenbosch, abv 14.5%.
Hint of white fruit on a generally shy nose. The palate is big and rich but balanced by zesty acidity; intense peach and vanilla flavours; well put together.
CE 16 JP 15.5
5.= Eagles’ Nest 2009
Constantia, abv 13.5%
Subtle peach and honeysuckle on the nose. Sweet on entry to the mouth and the acidity appears somewhat soft. Pretty but lacks excitement.
CE 14.5 JP 15.5
5.= Elgin Valley Vineyards 2008
Elgin, abv 14.5%
Controversial in that the wine shows volatile acidity, which I felt added to the wine whereas JP considered border-line faulty. Peach, honey and spice on the nose and palate. Good complexity and a long finish.
CE 17 JP 13
5.= Sterhuis 2009
Bottelary, Stellenbosch, abv 14%.
Vanilla and some oxidative character on the nose. The palate is rich and full bodied with good texture. Flavours of peach and honey as well as some leesy notes. Winemaking technique arguably obscures varietal character.
CE 15.5 JP 14.5
8. Creation 2010
Walker Bay, abv 14.2%.
Subtle blossom on otherwise shy nose. The palate is rather dilute with aggressive acidity.
CE 14 JP 14.5
9. Tamboerskloof 2010
Stellenbosch, abv 13.5%
Shy nose. Juicy fruit, bright acidity. Rather light bodied and insubstantial.
CE 14.5 JP 13
10. Radford Dale 2009
Stellenbosch, abv 13%.
Overtly oak on the nose and palate. Lacks fruit purity with JP detecting a non-specific dirty quality.
CE 14 JP 12