Best of Franschhoek: 12 wines you have to try
By Christian Eedes, 19 November 2019
Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2016
Price: R600 per 375ml bottle
Picked in late May involving several passes through the vineyard to ensure 100% botrytis. Matured for 30 months in 100% new oak. The nose is initially quite perfumed with notes of potpourri and dried herbs before revealing dried pear and peach through to mushroom. The palate is subtle and understated – smooth textured but not weighty, the fruit is surprisingly pure and intact, the acidity quite moderate.
Boekenhoutskloof Semillon 2017
Grapes from three different Semillon vineyards, planted in 1902, 1936 and 1942 respectively, plus 2% Muscat d’Alexandrie from a 1902 vineyard. An immensely complex nose with a floral top note before citrus and peach plus some bread-like character, a little waxiness and spice. The palate is relatively lean and fresh (alcohol: 13.8%) while also managing to be gently grippy on the finish. This has a terrific tension about it and should age with benefit.
GlenWood Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2018
80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon. Flowers, fynbos, white peach and apple on the nose. The palate is relatively lean with bright acidity and savoury finish. A nicely balance, understated drop.
Haut Espoir Shiraz 2012
Matured in French oak for 42 months. The nose shows red berries, olive brine and pepper while the palate has a pleasing sweetness about it and relatively soft tannins – alcohol is a hearty 15.57%. Not exactly classic but plenty of interest.
Holden Manz Cabernet Franc Reserve 2016
Matured for 16 months in French oak, 60% new. Red and black fruit, a hint of incense and pencil shavings on the nose while the palate is dense and creamy in texture – plenty of glossy fruit upfront but not without tannic grip, the finish long and dry.
La Bri Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Matured for 24 months in French oak, 100% new. Red and black fruit, an appealing leafy note plus attractive oak-derived notes on the nose. The palate is medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins, the finish super-dry and long. Not too flashy and all of a piece.
La Couronne Viognier 2017
Matured for 11 months in older oak. Citrus and peach plus vanilla and spice on the nose. Pure fruit, fresh acidity and a savoury finish. Full and flavourful, this is a remarkably well-balanced example of the variety that all too often makes for rather blowsy wines.
La Motte Syrah 2017
Includes 15% Durif. Matured for 18 months in French oak, 30% new. A hint of smoky reduction before red and black fruit plus fresh herbs and some spice. The palate is light-bodied and well balanced – pure fruit, fresh acidity and crunchy tannins. Alcohol is a moderate 13.69% which helps make this extra approachable.
Mont Rochelle Miko Syrah 2010
Matured for 22 months in French oak, 30% new. Red and black fruit to go with notes of tar and malt, pepper and spice. Sweet, rich and ripe on the palate – alcohol is 15.3%! Impressive fruit density, the texture particularly smooth.
Môreson Mercator Chardonnay 2017
100% malolactic fermentation and matured for 12 months in French oak, 40% new. On the nose, there is a hint of reduction before lots of lime and lemon plus some floral perfume in the background. The palate displays pure fruit and punchy acidity before a savoury finish. A dramatic wine that’s nevertheless balanced and flavourful and will appeal to those that feel that the current crop of Chardonnays are in danger of becoming too lean.
Old Road Wine Co. Stone Trail Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2018
There’s not much Chenin Blanc planted in Franschhoek, but DGB off-shoot Old Road Wine Co. has secured access to a small block, some 35 years old, the 2018 matured for 12 months in a combination of mainly old oak as well as amphorae. The nose shows citrus, white peach and some struck match reduction while the palate is relatively lean and fresh with a pithy finish. Tightly wound yet possessing a dense core of fruit, this should reward time in bottle.
Rickety Bridge The Pilgrimage Semillon 2017
Grapes from a block planted in 1905, The Pilgrimage Semillon 2017 was matured for 11 months in a combination of foudre and older 500-litre barrels. The nose shows subtle peach and some bread-like character with notes of earth, hay and dried herbs in the background. The palate has layers of flavour combined with great mouth-feel, the fruit dense and providing plenty of side palate. Slightly less oxidative than the celebrated 2016 and just beautifully balanced.
Sponsored: This content was paid for by the Vignerons de Franschhoek.