The South African Sommelier Association, formed in 2010 “to help uplift and promote the service of wine in South Africa”, holds regular benchmark tastings for its members. Yesterday, sweet wines of the world, 14 wines roughly divided by production technique into four flights, tasted blind.
Could those assembled identify grape variety and place of origin or would technique hide this? Here’s how I scored the wines:
Really difficult to assess blind given how divergent these wines were stylistically.
Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon 2000 (Loire, France)
Citrus, marzipan and white mushroom notes. Relatively lean and still very fresh.
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2008
Floral top note, marmalade, burnt sugar, gentle spice. Huge intensity, coated acidity.
Willi Schaefer Graacher Domporbst Auslese 2012 (Mosel, Germany)
Very primary. Floral top-note, lime and white peach. Lovely bright acidity.
Argolias Angialis 2009 (Sardinia, Italy)
Raisins and honey. Very thick textured with soft acidity. Lacking detail.
What was fascinating about this flight for me was how the two South African wines, outstanding in a domestic context, appeared to lack finesse relative to the Sauternes.
Chateux Doisy-Vedrines 2009 (Sauternes, France)
Overall impression is savoury. Appealing mushroom quality typical of botrytis on nose and palate but simultaneously really well-defined fruit. “Greasy” mouthfeel before a long, dry finish.
Nederburg Eminence 2009
From Muscat. Fynbos top-note. Sultanas, honey and a hint of spice. Rich and super-sweet although zesty acidity provides a counter-point.
Delheim Edelspatz 2012
From Riesling. Citrus and a vague mushroom note. Very concentrated but possesses good freshness.
Hooray for Paul Cluver – SA properly in the mix!
Oremus Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2005 (Tokaj, Hungary)
Dried apricot, mushroom plus an appealing nuttiness. Great intensity and complexity. Rich and suitably thick-textured, lovely bright acidity lending balance. Ends savoury.
Paul Cluver Riesling 2012
Lime and lemon plus mushroom. Great poise – super fruit concentration balanced by really fresh acidity. Years to go.
Nederburg Edelkeur 2009
From Chenin Blanc. Dried peach and apricot, raisins and honey. Big and rich but seemed unduly developed and a bit lacking in finesse.
The wines in this flight were all suitably decadent but none came near having the same complexity that botrytis infection imparts.
Mullineux Straw Wine 2012
From Chenin Blanc. Dried apricots, nuts, spice. Smooth textured with relatively good freshness.
Donkiesbaai Hooiwijn 2013
From Chenin Blanc. Relatively clean and primary. Pear, peach and a touch of red apple, nice line of acidity.
Fetsina Vin Santo Chianti Classico 2003 (Tuscany, Italy)
Aged for five years without topping in chestnut barrles. Caramel, nuts and coffee. Also a sherry-like quality. Super-concentrated, soft acidity.
Meroi Picolit Colli Orientali 2010 (Friuli, Italy)
Funky – an odd “sweaty” note plus a definite raisined character. Smooth textured with soft acidity.
SASA membership is open to all. For more information, see here.