Last night a meeting of our social tasting group, the theme of the evening sweet wines.
We tasted blind and here’s how I scored the wines using the 20-point system.
1.= Cape Point Vineyards Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2000 18/20
1.= Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 1988 18/20
3.= Inniskillin Icewine Vidal Oak Aged 2002 17/20
3.= Signal Hill Crème de Tête Muscat d’Alexandrie 2003 17/20
5.= Nederburg Auction Reserve Edelkeur 1999 16/20
5.= Neethlingshof Lord Neethling Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2006 16/20
7. De Trafford Straw Wine 2001 14.5/20
8. Nederburg Auction Selection Eminence 1996 14/20
Nederburg Edelkeur 1974 was corked.
The Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 1988, on the wine list at Constantia hotel The Cellars-Hohenort for R6 000 per 500ml bottle, was sublime: Hugely complex on nose with Muscat fragrance, spice, white mushroom and some nuttiness, while the palate showed great focus and freshness. In terms of flavour, an almost peppery intensity before a long, saline finish.
The Cape Point Vineyards was light bodied (residual sugar of 112g/l according to Platter’s 2002 as opposed to well over 200g/l in the case of most other examples of Noble Late Harvest) but had weightless intensity about it that I liked very much. Shades of Sauternes.
The Icewine from Inniskillin on the Niagra Peninsula of Ontario in Canada was also pretty smart. From the French hybrid variety Vidal frozen while still on the vine, the 2002 was highly aromatic on the nose with notes of peach and some floral fragrance while the palate had weight and intensity offset by vibrant acidity.
The De Trafford Straw Wine 2001, rated 5 Stars in Platter’s 2003, was a disappointment showing excessive volatile acidity and generally appearing unduly advanced, posing the question as to whether or not it is worthwhile to age wines made according to this method.