Monthly Archives: July 2015

We Drink: Constantia Glen Three

Contantia Glen is a stone’s throw from the Cape Town city centre, just below the Constantia Nek, in South Africa’s oldest wine producing region.

The estate produces four wines, two whites – a Sauvignon Blanc and a Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon blend, and two reds – both Bordeaux blends, respectively. Constantia Glen is SAWi 2015 High-End Red Wine Producer of the Year Finalist, with an average of 94.22 for its two reds, and a SAWi 2015 High-End Overall Wine Producer of the Year Finalist, averaging 95.08. The Contantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc and Constantia Glen Three are both SAWi 2015 Platinum Award recipients.

The Constantia Glen Three is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The cool coastal climate yields beautifully ripened fruit which is batch vinified. While the 2011 vintage is drinking well, this is a wine to keep for a while and will certainly express its true value with a few more years in the cellar.

Expect lots of dark berries on the nose, with the Merlot distinctive.

Dark fruit flavours dominate the palate, and despite its relative youth, the tannins are well-integrated. There is a pleasant spiciness to the wine which, together with the wine’s superb structure and 14.5% alcohol, points to a fabulous foil to robust flavoured foods.

The excellent mouth-feel gives way to a lingering finish that will hold up well to venison/red meats, smoked food, a hearty stew or another glassful…

Accolades (from http://www.constantiaglen.com/wines/)

Why the Grand Wines Collection Matters

Following the release of the SAWi 2015 Wine Awards Report, Minister Alan Winde, MEC of Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape, labelled the SA Wine Index as “an excellent benchmark for the wine industry.” He went on to say: “It showcases South Africa’s highest quality wines. I’m pleased to see that Western Cape wine farms have through the Index at last received the recognition they deserve”. Read the media statement here.

This excellent endorsement serves to underline the true value of the South African Wine Index – it exists to identify and promote South Africa as a producer of quality wines, able to hold its own on the international vinous stage.

The South African Wine Index is unique in that it distils the collective wisdom of 84 authoritative multi-national wine competitions, reviews and listings to present a single point score representing the perceived value of a wine, stripped of the subjective noise of various judging panels. As such, SAWi can legitimately claim to identify South Africa’s best wines.

These best wines, collectively referred to as the ‘Grand Wines Collection’, constitute an exciting new South African wine calling card and a convincing national benchmark for quality. In addition, the Index has succeeded in pulling together a diverse group of leading role players under one banner.

Within the ‘Grand Wines Collection’ there is scope for further banding according to region, style, Index value etc. This creates a number of marketable sub-sets that each encompass wines of outstanding complexity and consistent character; making them worth a special effort to find, purchase and enjoy.

SAWi’s ground-breaking indexing methodology gives wine enthusiasts the ability to consistently choose sterling wines with ease and confidence. Since this approach is not applied anywhere else in the world, this credible procedure for adjudicating wine quality is set to change perspectives and create global awareness about the sensational local wines South Africa produces.

Using the ‘Grand Wines Collection’, South Africa is able to confidently market itself as a premier international wine producer. Similarly, the world now has access to the finest South African wines, in one collection.

See the full Grand Wines Collection at www.SAWineIndex.com

We Drink: Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013

nullRaats Family Wines is a SAWi 2015 High-End White Wine Producer of the Year Finalist, with an average of 93.86 for its top three scoring whites. The Raats Original Chenin Blanc scored 92.8 points in 2015, earning SAWi Grand Gold status. We taste the Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013 as an example of the producer’s white wines portfolio.

This is a fantastic wine and an excellent example of the often-missed (in SA) value and potential complexity of Chenin Blanc.

In the glass the wine is striking, with a beautiful golden straw colour and distinct notes of pear, white peach and nettles on the nose. As the wine warms, tropical aromas are evident with citrus obvious and just a hint of spice.

With 30% of the wine aged in French oak for 9 months, and the additional 2 months lees-contact the oaked and unoaked components enjoy before bottling, the wine is noticeably full bodied and almost creamy, without masking any of the inherent Chenin Blanc fruitiness.

On the palate the wine exhibits tropical and stone fruit, citrus peel and ginger. There’s an enticing liqourice flavour prominent when inhaling after swallowing. The wine exhibits a perfect medium acidity, leading to a pleasing lingering mineral/lime finish.

The wine is perfect on its own, served cold, and is complex enough to be enjoyed with food – particularly a mild curry/spiced chicken or prawn dish, rocket-based salad, gammon or butternut soup.

Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013 costs R234 per bottle from Wine.co.za.

Accolades (according to the Raats.co.za website)
2013 – scored 90 points by Stephen Tanzer (June 2015).
2013 – 4½ stars John Platter 2015.
2013 – scored 92 points by Neal Martin from The Wine Advocate (0ct 2014).
2012 – scored 89 points by Wine Spectator (August 2014).
2012 – scored 93 points by Tim Atkin (July 2014).
2012 – 4½ stars John Platter 2014.
2012 – scored 89 points by Neal Martin from The Wine Advocate (October 2013).
2011 – scored 91 points by Wine Enthusiast (July 2014).

See technical and other details here.