The Wines We Drink: Newton Johnson Granum 2012

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On Sunday evening an all too infrequent (these days) excursion to La Mouette in Sea Point. A special occasion justifies a unique wine and up steps the Newton Johnson Granum 2012.

We’ve long been big fans of Newton Johnson’s wines and I’ve made no secret in the past that they are my favourite local producer of Pinot Noir. The main reason for that being that their wines are elegant and relies on purity of fruit, expression of site and not on heavy extraction, very ripe fruit and oak to prop up the wines.

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Riscura’s White Hot Wine Awards is H-O-T

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White Bordeaux style wines will always fall into the “niche” category in South Africa, making them almost invisible to the supermarket crowd and a little intimidating to people starting out their wine exploration journey.  The Christian Eedes and Riscura White Hot Wine Awards (now in its second year) aims to recognise these wines and award the wine makers who keep producing these wines that surely are not at the top of any wine farm accountant’s profitability list.

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This year’s entries were judged by the now familiar panel of  Christian Eedes, Roland Peens and James Pietersen (our very own The Navigator was an associate judge on the panel).  They had the heart breaking task of selecting the top 3 wines from 41 Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends submitted.  The Top 3 wines (all awarded 5 stars) are: More

The wines we drink: Hartenberg Tenacity Riesling 2011

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Riesling is one of the noble grape varieties that can produce a vast range of wine styles.  South African wine makers, having only figured out how to separate their Crouchen Blanc from their Rhine Riesling very recently, are now producing a few good examples of the variety.

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Hartenberg Estate in Stellenbosch produces a few Rieslings in different styles that are quite delicious.  The Tenacity Riesling 2011 (only available at the farm) is made in limited quantities (only 935 bottles for the 2011).  The wine is fermented dry, on the lees, for 8 to 12 months in small French barrels.   More

The wines we drink: Ernie Els Proprietor’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

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We were recently invited to Ernie Els Wine Estate to participate in the planting of the CS 412 “Gironde” clone of Cabernet Sauvignon; a first in South Africa.  Being lovers of anything remotely wine geeky, we lapped up all the information Louis Strydom (winemaker) generously shared about Cabernet Sauvignon plantings in SA and the style of wine the different clones produce.

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We’ll probably have to wait until 2021 to see what CS 412 will be like in the bottle, if the vines we planted survive being manhandled by amateurs!  In the meantime, we’ll have to “make do” with the delicious Proprietor’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2011; still an infant in the greater scheme of Cabernet ageing. More

The wines we drink: Mulderbosch Single Vineyard Series Chenin Blanc

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Single vineyard wines are interesting creatures.  It is a reflection of the best wine a winemaker can produce from a single site; it’s not about making the best wine from a specific variety or showing off your prowess as winemaker.  This makes for unique stuff in the bottle.

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Mulderbosch has released a Single Vineyard Series Chenin Blanc to showcase 3 single vineyards and maintained the same winemaking practice for each (free run juice, neutral barriques for fermentation and spontaneous ferment, 10 months’ maturation in barrel). More

The wines we drink: Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2013

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Jordan Winery in Stellenbosch is synonymous with quality wines and the 2013 vintage of Nine Yards Chardonnay is no exception.

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Situated between 250 – 280m above sea level, the 24 year old vineyard is planted to both Burgundian and Davis clone Chardonnay. East-facing soils, canopy management and low crop levels ensure that the vineyard produces smaller berries with concentrated citrus flavours.

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The wines we drink: Vilafonté Series M 2011

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We finally succumbed to temptation and joined the Vilafonté Wine Club, affording buyers a 20% discount on purchases.  The idea was born at the annual Wade Bales Trade Tasting, where we simply could not leave winemaker Martin Smith’s booth – the wines were so enthralling!  Our idea was simple: Purchase some Vilafonté wines and put them away for a few years.   Well, everything did not go to plan…

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The wines we drink: Vondeling Chardonnay 2010

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I’ve waxed lyrical about Vondeling Wines before when I wrote about the Babiana white blend. It is no secret that we are big Chenin Blanc lovers (the major component in the Babiana blend), but a lesser known fact is that I will happily sell my soul, one of my kidneys (on the internet) and give up exercise for a decent Chardonnay.

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The Voor Perdeberg winery has become synonymous with excellent value for money wines.  I’ve often in private conversation aired the view that they can ask at least 40% more for their wines and I’d still happily pay for them. They really are that good. I caught myself that I was writing a rather involved tasting note about subtle power, complexity and amazing palate weight, but that is not what this short blog is about.

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…and now for Something Completely Different…

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Here at Batonage dot com we do enjoy the finer things in life and a good whisky (or whiskey, depending on where in the world you are and how much of the spirit you’ve had) now and then can surely be classed as such.  A whisky loving friend recently visited the British Isles and came back empty handed because “the whisky is far more affordable at home!”…

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Checkers has now entered the fine whisky market with new offerings of Single Malt Whiskies from the Private Barrel Co in Scotland.  Check out the whole range with detailed information and beautiful pictures here. More

The wines we drink: Carl Everson Chenin Blanc 2013

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The Carl Everson Chenin Blanc is the first addition to the Heritage Range at Opstal  in the Slanghoek valley.

Carl Everson was the visionary 4th generation farmer at Opstal Estate and wine maker Attie Louw’s great grandfather.  This wine is a tribute to him, made from a single, 30+ year old Chenin Blanc vineyard utilising spontaneous fermentation, old French barrels and very little else.  Minimal intervention is the name of the game here.

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