As you know, we still aren’t allowed to deliver wine to your homes but, as soon as the alcohol ban is lifted, we will work as fast as possible to have these wines (safely and responsibly) on their way to your doorsteps.
Our Insiders’ May mixed case offers 6 new value finds that are perfect for autumn drinking. The 2019 Laibach Sur Lie Chenin Blanc is an absolute standout Stellenbosch Chenin in terms of value. The winemaking includes carbonic maceration, lengthy skin contact, wild yeast and old oak combined with portions raised in concrete egg. The 2019 Patatsblanc, made by rockstar Reenen Borman, is a crisp-edged, interesting Colombard-based blend with good fruit weight. You’ll immediately notice the lovely mouthfeel of this wine. The 2016 Joubert-Tradauw Chardonnay is fresh and refined and, as Tim Atkin MW notes, ‘it comes from a hot continental climate, all right, but the diurnal variation is massive here.’
As for the reds, the 2016 Merlot from Hartenberg offers unbeatable value-for-money. ‘The list of really good Merlots in South Africa is a comparatively short one,’ says Tim, ‘but this is certainly a candidate.’ Yalumba’s 2017 Y Series Shiraz is a ‘cheap and cheerful’ South Australian Shiraz with lots of ‘brightness and bounce’ and punches well above its weight! And, finally, the 2019 Dry Red by Rossouw, Gouws & Clarke is, ‘a useful reference when it comes to plotting the way forward for Pinotage,’ says Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za. David and Jeanette Clarke, the folks behind ExAnimo Wine Co., make this fresh, light and delicious new-wave Pinotage with Jurgen Gouws of Intellego and Scholtz Rossouw who farms in the Paardeberg.
Laibach, Chenin Blanc Sur Lie 2019
An absolute standout Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc in terms of value – winemaking includes carbonic maceration, lengthy skin contact, wild yeast and old oak combined with portions raised in concrete egg. Previous vintages have been absolutely stellar, the 2019 came to us quite young, we suggest a few months to settle. Taut and focused but with lots of ‘leesy’ texture and quince plus bruised apple and some baking spice evident. Enjoy on its own or with simple midweek chicken schnitzels, pork chops or light seafood dishes. – James Pietersen
Patatsfontein, Patatsblanc 2019
The blend this year has 75% Colombard (up from 52% last year). The immediate reductive note blows off and is followed by lifted stone fruit, a fresh crispness and balanced by broad-brushed flavours on the palate. One immediately notices the lovely mouthfeel of this wine – whilst crisp and fresh, it has good fruit density and is a super partner for food with a saline, powered finish. Mostly from 30+-year-old vineyards and raised in older, almost neutral oak – James Pietersen
Joubert-Tradauw, Chardonnay 2016
Grown on clay-based shale soils in isolated Tradouw, this is a wine to surprise people with in blind tastings. It comes from a hot continental climate, all right, but the diurnal variation is massive here. This is fresh and refined, with pear and honey flavours and tangy acidity. Drink 2019-23. – Tim Atkin MW, 93/100
Hartenberg, Merlot 2016
The list of really good Merlots in South Africa is a comparatively short one, but this is certainly a candidate, especially in the value-for-money category. Elegant, floral, polished and well balanced, it’s a ripe, supple style with supple tannins and perfumed, 45% new wood. Drink 2020-24. – Tim Atkin MW, 93/100
Yalumba, Y Series Shiraz 2017
This is a cheap and cheerful Shiraz with lots of brightness and bounce, by South Aussie Shiraz standards anyway. It exudes ripe blueberries, grape jelly, crushed violets and a little white-pepper spice. The fruit is less overt on the palate, where the silky, medium- to full-bodied mouthfeel is supported by savory tannins. A dry, oaky note flares up on the finish. – Wine Enthusiast, 88/100
Rossouw, Gouws & Clarke, Dry Red 2019
Wine distributors David and Jeanette Clarke along with Intellego winemaker Jurgen Gouws have for a while made a very palatable Pinotage in a new wave style, which is to say light and fresh. Previously they used grapes grown by Andrew Wightman of Swartland property Môrelig but in 2019 they worked with Scholtz Rossouw who also farms in the Paardeberg, the vineyard in question planted in 1968. Winemaking involving carbonic maceration, the nose shows cherry and raspberry plus herbs, spice and a little earthiness while the palate is pure and fresh with crunchy tannins. Perfect for summer al fresco dining, this is a useful reference when it comes to plotting the way forward for Pinotage. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 92/100