The Great Pork Belly Party – the whites

By , 5 September 2011


Lunch was to be slow roasted pork belly and guests were required to provide wines accordingly. The wines were tasted blind before the meal was served, and here are my tasting notes and scores:

1. E. Guigal Hermitage Blanc 1993 Complex nose showing citrus, peach, apricot and some aged nutty character. Paradoxically both fresh and evolved. Thick textured, gentle acidity, great phenolic grip. Profoundly good. 19/20

2. Testalonga El Bandito 2009 From Chenin Blanc. Blue orange, apricot, fynbos and spice on the nose. Overtly oxidative but in an entirely compelling manner. Good line of acidity keeps it from becoming listless. 18/20

3.= Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 1986 Citrus, asparagus, mushroom and nutty notes. Riveting acidity. The wine that wouldn’t die… 17/20

3.= Peter Lehmann Margaret Barossa Semillon 2005 Lime, green apple and Riesling-like petrol notes on the nose. Focused and pure with fresh acidity.

5.= Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc 2006 Lime, white peach and pear as well as a Riesling-like petrol note on the nose. Sweet and relatively lacking in concentration. 15.5/20

5.= Scali Blanc 2007 Dried apricot and a mushroom-like note  on the nose. Rich, full and yeasty. Vague spritz. Technically problematic but plenty of interest. 15.5/20

The Guigal Hermitage Blanc 1993 was quite simply spectacular.  Sourced from my late father’s cellar, it wasn’t difficult for me to spot. The rest of those assembled came nowhere close to guessing its age, most mistaking it for a Swartland white of six or seven years in age.

The Testalonga El Bandito 2009 is real wine geek stuff (carbonic maceration for some four weeks and then kept on the lees for nearly two years). Easy to become enamoured with it when you’re in the presence of its enthusiastic originator Craig Hawkins (winemaker at Lammershoek) but great to see it shaping so well when tasted blind among some pretty smart company.

The KC Sauvignon Blanc was a bit of a ringer included by me, never really intended to accompany slow-roasted pork. I’ve had a few bottle past their best in the last two or three years but this was one kept under very good storage conditions and it didn’t disappoint.

Though the gathered assembly were hardly unknowledgeable about wine, the Peter Lehmann Semillon and Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc had just about everybody thinking that they were examples of Riesling on account of the petrol-like character they both displayed. The debate over lunch about terpenes in whites was animated but utterly inconclusive.


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