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.