This month, we’ve built our value Insiders’ pack around the changing seasons. For the last of the cold, wintery nights, we’ve picked out a Cabernet from one of the Cape’s stellar estates and the excellent 2017 vintage, as well as a delicious Dolcetto (meaning ‘little sweet one’) newly imported from Alba, Piedmont. When the sun comes out and temperatures rise, we’ve got you covered with two fantastic Chenins, both of which are Wine Cellar staff favourites, and a Grenache Blanc from Cape legend and Young Gun alumnus, Donovan Rall. Finally, for those in-between days, we’ve included a light and flavourful red that can be enjoyed slightly chilled.
The 2019 Sur Lie Chenin Blanc from Laibach is an absolute standout Stellenbosch Chenin in terms of value. With leesy complexity, it’s the perfect wine to accompany any of your midweek dinners. Donovan Rall’s 2019 Grenache Blanc is a little fleshier than the 2018 with great fruit purity balanced by a fine, mineral undertow. From Piekenierskloof bush vines, it is a great expression of this rugged terroir. A string of Platter’s 5-star accolades proves that Attie Louw of Opstal knows a thing or two about making top-end Chenin. The 2019 Opstal Chenin Blanc could easily sell for double the price and has fast become a staff favourite.
The 2018 Myburgh Bros Cinsault makes for deliciously light springtime drinking. Described in the Platter’s Guide as having a ‘hint of dried herbs and juicy texture courtesy of 1/3 whole-bunch ferment’, we suggest you enjoy this one slightly chilled. Consistently recognised as one of SA’s top wineries, Tokara’s 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon not only comes from the much-lauded 2017 vintage and a property with a longstanding track record, it also offers unbelievable value and charming drinking. Finally, the 2018 Dolcetto d’Alba from GD Vajra is a classical Italian red loaded with typical Dolcetto flavour and structure. ‘This is such a gorgeous wine,’ writes Antonio Galloni, summing it up as a ‘supremely delicious Dolcetto’.
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 focussed 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
Rall, Grenache Blanc 2019
From Piekenierskloof grapes. The nose shows a little reduction before lemon, naartjie, stone fruit, cut apple and a little nuttiness. Rich and broad with seemingly quite moderate acidity, round without being too leesy, this is a more generous vintage than usual. – Christian Eedes, 92/100
Opstal, Chenin Blanc 2019
We have Chenin planted on various sites on our farm and this wine is a mash-up of the best of these sites. It has a great balance of zippy freshness to go with its aromatic complexity. Attractive aromas of pineapple, peach and citrus are well held together with a subtle spice and leesy complexity from the 8 months spent in large French oak Foudres. – Opstal
Myburgh Bros, Cinsault 2018
Fruity 2018 hits the summer drinking mark with soft red berries, hint of dried herbs & juicy texture courtesy of 1/3 wholebunch ferment, restrained 12.5% alcohol. Serve lightly chilled. – Platter’s Guide, 4*
Tokara, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
This wine has a beautiful garnet colour. There are aromas of dried cranberry, red currant and subtle cassis on the nose complimented by underlying notes of fresh herbs and tobacco spice. The palate is packed with delicious berry fruit interwoven in spice and light toasty notes from the barrels. A tannin profile reminiscent of dark chocolate and hints of baking spice follow on the finish. – Tokara
GD Vajra, Dolcetto d’Alba 2018
The 2018 Dolcetto d’Alba is a super-classic wine loaded with varietal flavors to match its mid-weight structure. Soaring aromatics and plush red and purplish berry fruit come through loud and clear in this refreshing, supremely delicious Dolcetto from the Vajra family. This is such a gorgeous wine. – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 90/100