DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009

By , 26 January 2012



A cracker.

How easy is it to tell the superlative from the super-quaffer? That was the theme of a social tasting last night. The line-up was tasted blind, my tasting notes and scores as follows:

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009 – Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2011
Intense and complex. Peach, spice and some leesy notes. Attractive oxidative character. Thick texture offset by zesty acidity. Long finish. Great presence.  Score: 18.5/20

Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap White 2010 – Platter’s Superquaffer of the Year 2012
Wide spectrum of flavour including green melon and yellow apple. Has both breadth and depth. Tangy acidity. Complex and sophisticated. Score: 18/20

Standveld Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 2011, Veritas Double Gold 2011, 5 Stars in Platter’s 2012
Focused and pure. Lime and paprika flavour. Lean in the best sense with racy acidity and a very long, dry finish. Score: 18/20

David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 2008, Veritas Double Gold 2008
Very green on nose and palate. Pyrazine driven – ashtray aroma on nose! Rich and full with bracing acidity and a long, saline finish. Very particular. Score: 17/20

Tokara Director’s Reserve 2010 – 5 Stars in Platter’s 2012
An idiosyncratic wine that appears very ripe on nose and palate. Flavours of green melon through to apricot. Gives a sweet ‘n sour sensation. Tangy acidity. Score: 16.5/20

David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 2011, Veritas Gold 2011
Pyrazine driven – intensely herbaceous on nose and palate. Also green pepper. Great line of acidity and a long, dry finish. A love-it-or-hate-it wine.  Score: 16/20

De Grendel Pinot Gris 2011
Yellow fruit and a touch of spice on nose and palate. Good concentration and zesty acidity. Great drinkability. Score: 16/20

Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Bush Vines Chenin Blanc 2011
Great fruit expression and fresh acidity –well balanced. Should have wide appeal. Score: 16/20.

Bergsig Woolworths [WHAT]? Sauvignon Blanc 2011– Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 2011
Shy nose while the palate shows lime flavour. Clean and fresh but no great complexity, finishes a little short. Score: 15/20.

KWV The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2010 – 5 Stars in Platter’s 2012
Heavily reduced. Rich and full but lacks precision. Score: 15/20

Some general observations: The DeMorgenzon 2009 is sensational and a huge improvement on earlier vintages, which I’ve tended to think were clumsy and overdone. This wine is big but perfectly proportioned.

The Wolftrap White (67% Viognier, 19% Chenin Blanc and 14% Grenache Blanc) was not universally liked, some finding it flat and dilute. But at R40 a bottle from the farm , you’d be crazy to be too pre-occupied with its shortcomings. The Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc at R35 a bottle also offers fantastic quality relative to price.

My sense about the Tokara Director’s Reserve 2010 is it is a wine were winemaking trumps terroir, not that this necessarily detracts from it…

Three examples of Sauvignon Blanc from Elim. The Strandveld 2010 is a complete wine and no surprise that it’s triumphed in pretty much in every forum it could have while the two vintages of David Nieuwoudt are extreme in their green-ness and I’m not sure how much currency this style still has.

I rated the De Grendel Pinot Gris only 2½ Stars when I reviewed it for Platter’s 2012, but based on last night’s showing, it probably deserved more. Softly be it spoken but perhaps there is a future for this variety locally…

Bergsig Woolworths [WHAT]? Sauvignon Blanc 2011 appeared pretty humble in this line-up and must be considered lucky to have placed in last year’s top 10 (yes, I know I’m implicated).

The biggest disappoint of the night was KWV The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2010. A wine with which I’ve previously been very impressed, it showed severe reduction last night. It’s under screwcap which no doubt contributed to its unhappy state and just goes to show that whatever the shortcomings of cork, screwcap as an alternative closure option is not without its complications, too.


8 comment(s)

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  • Christian27 January 2012

    Hi Elias, The definition of 2.5 Stars is “Good everyday drinking” while that of 4 Stars (equivalent to the score of 16/20 which I gave it now) is “Excellent” and I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. At R75 a bottle, the De Grendel team clearly think that this wine is not entirely frivolous but I’d still be inclined to invest in the flagship Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc (R85) before the Pinot Gris.

  • elias27 January 2012

    Still the pinot gris was tasted sighted, thus the 6 months or any amount of maturing should have been foreseen to the best of the tasters ability, the 2.5 stars was then given on a ‘blind’ perception of that moment in tasting… unless you thought the wine would not evolve for the better in a few months time, which I understand? Sorry for the inconvenience, just trying to figure the platter strategy out…

  • Christian26 January 2012

    Hi Richard, Thanks for taking me up on The Mentors Grenache blanc rather than stewing in silence which is what usually happens and I’m happy to be wrong on this wine (previously nominated as one of my top 12 wines of last year). That said, the wine caused a lot of consternation among some pretty seasoned tasters last night and was variously described as showing a terpene character (and hence mistaken for a not very good Riesling) as well as being excessively advanced. Just a poor bottle? If so, how to explain it?

  • Danie Pretorius26 January 2012

    Wolftrap is stupendous value.  Now @ Checkers: Buy 3 red and get white free for R130.  No brainer, get some today. Strandveld 2010 sold out, 2011 will surpass quality of 2010 by October.  Buy now while you still can.

  • Richard Rowe26 January 2012

    Hi Christian,
    The short response to your comments about The Mentors Grenache blanc being reduced, is that you are wrong, and is perhaps more to do with your perception and biases rather than the reality in the glass! Suggest you revisit this.

  • Kwispedoor26 January 2012

    I’ve also wondered what all the fuss was about re the DMZ Res. Chenin. Until I tasted the 2009, that is.

  • Christian26 January 2012

    Hi Elias, the De Grendel Pinot Gris 2011 was tasted for Platter’s in July last year and my over-riding impression then was how primary and unsettled it was – the subsequent six months have been good for the wine. Regarding the old blind vs. sighted debate, my feeling is that they are not mutually exclusive: blind tasting deals with the construction of a wine in a mechanical sense (how well put together it is) at a certain point of time while sighted tasting deals with issues of pedigree and long-term potential. In any event, the size of the undertaking that is Platter’s pretty much necessitates that wines are tasted sighted.

  • elias26 January 2012

    Chtistian enjoying your blog tremendously, thanks! Is the Pinot Gris not a perfect example that platter should be tasted blind if possible?

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