A beautifully defined flight of 4 wines (highlighted out of 6 flights from the Constantia Fresh afternoon tasting) illustrating maturity of Bordeaux styles from Bordeaux, South Africa and the USA
01 – Buiternverwagting Christine 1995 (2008 – R270 per bottle)
Translucent and rusty to the eye, the nose immediately takes one to Bordeaux style it has dark fruit, fynbos, charred barrel, braai-ed meat, and a classic cedar tone. The palate is a power punch of elegance. Tannin prominent in the maintenance of structure, there is a green component on the front with a sweet underbelly, the wine finishes sweet and sour, it lingers green fresh and flavour rises on a salivating finish. Extremely impressive this wine is very complete and elegant.
02 – Dominus Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (2008 – approx R1350)
Darker colour shyer nose, berry pie smells ripper , Blue berry cakes and dark chocolate(made me think there is a lot of Malbec, alas there is none). Quiet fat and plump, very plush with generous mid palate weight, following on from the nose very caresive texture with powdered tannins and a sense of regalness. speckled tannin and acid on finish , obvious in New world character with confirmation by the ripe alcoholic finish.
03 –Klein Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon 1988 (2007 – awaiting price)
It too has a translucent rusty colour. Very earthy, French pong, barnyard, green herbaceous, fern. Vegetal through to the palate with a rim of red fruit. Tannins have become smooth there is a distinct fruit sweetness, with a berry sherbet on the finish, and a bit of dried out plank on the end. …. Just passed its drinking date.
04 – Chateaux Leoville Barton 1998 (2004 – R950)
Darker colour, a lot of layers on the nose, black fruit, charred coal, pepper ash lead pensil. The palate is beautiful and solid with a uniformed tannin structure, still balzy. There is savoury fruitcake on the on the mid palate. It has great freshness, reflected it the crunchy juiciness. Wonderful conservative length.
Unanimously the tasting group of +/- 40 pax were divided between 1 and 4. The star of this flight for me was the Buitenverwagting Christine 1995 on position number one. What this flight translates to me very clearly, the ability of our top estates to produce wines of age ability, with great vintages like 1995 creating outstanding quality. Given the extra mileage of the 1988 and records of it being a difficult vintage, put it at a disadvantage. If Regal Vulgarity is your thing than Dominus is your wine with an even bigger price point. Classis, refined and delicious the Leoville Barton too shined brightly, and reminds us of heights to be reached.
With all said and tasted in order to drink the wine one must purchase it with price point adding accessible perspective. Buitenverwachting Christine is most definitely a wine to lay down and reap the hedonistic rewards of matured drinking.
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