Our October Insiders’ pack is geared for summer! With a bottle of rosé from one of the Cape’s most-loved weekend getaways, a complex white blend from the Hamilton Russell Vineyards portfolio, a fresh Sauvignon Blanc and a terroir-driven Grenache Blanc, you’re all set for this month’s al fresco lunches and long, sunny weekends.
As the evenings get longer and our meals become less hearty, we’ve included an elegant and highly-rated Syrah from the Swartland as well as a fresh, pretty, French Pinot Noir from Alsace. We hope you enjoy these wines as much as we do and, once you’ve tried them, we would love to hear your thoughts.
The 2020 Babylonstoren Mourvèdre Rosé is an elegant and dry pink – perfect for your summertime drinking. With raspberries and rose petals on the nose, and rhubarb and watermelon on its fresh palate, what’s not to like?
The 2019 Ashbourne Sandstone, from the Hamilton Russell Vineyards stable, is a Sauvignon Blanc-based blend with Sémillon and Chardonnay. Tim Atkin MW describes it as ‘salty, complex and nuanced, with grapefruit and lanolin notes and some underlying tannic grip’. The 2018 Doctor’s Journey Sauvignon Blanc from Usana is lively and fresh. The lees contact has added wonderful texture to its palate. You could drink it on its own or partner it with al fresco lunches featuring salads, fish and chicken. Olifantsberg’s 2018 Grenache Blanc is a delicious, yet elegant wine with a wonderful leesy character and deftly-used oak. In last year’s report, Tim Atkin raved about its ‘focus and palate length’ and scored this ‘brilliant, terroir-driven white’ 95 points.
The 2018 Innocent Syrah from Lammershoek is just the sort of super-satisfying, yet elegant Syrah we like at Wine Cellar. On the back of last year’s Winemag Top 10 award for the 2017, the 2018 trumped pricier competition and placed, yet again, in the Top 10 of this year’s Winemag Prescient Shiraz Report. At this price, it’s definitely a ‘value pick of the year’! We are honoured to sell the wines of Maison Trimbach. The 400-year-old family business, based in Alsace, produces arguably the single most admired dry Riesling in the world. Each year, we get limited quantities of their Pinot Noir Réserve and the 2017 is flinty, fresh and savoury with fine tannins and good balance.
Babylonstoren, Mourvèdre Rosé 2020
An elegant, dry wine of a sophisticated salmon colour and delicious hints of raspberries and rose petals. A single sip leads to the delightful discovery of creamy rhubarb, the sweet freshness of watermelon and a subtle punch of acidity. – Babylonstoren
Ashbourne, Sandstone 2019
I tasted this last year, but have significantly increased its score now that it’s had an extra year in bottle. Entirely amphora-fermented, it’s a judicious cuvée of Sauvignon Blanc with 51% Semillon and Chardonnay. Salty, complex and nuanced, with grapefruit and lanolin notes and some underlying tannic grip. Drink 2022-27. – Tim Atkin MW, 92/100
Usana, The Doctor’s Journey Sauvignon Blanc 2018
The Usana Sauvignon Blanc has a lively acidity with a nice fresh finish. On the nose and palate there are hints of fig, gooseberry and passion fruit. The lees contact adds lovely texture to the palate. The Usana Sauvignon Blanc is a superb wine for drinking on its own on a nice warm summer afternoon or it can be perfectly partnered with salads, fish and chicken dishes. – Usana
Olifantsberg, Grenache Blanc 2018
Made with grapes from a comparatively young vineyard, planted on quartz and shale soils in 2013, this is a superb wine from an increasingly recognised talent. Mealy, leesy and elegant, with fine, scented oak and incredible focus and palate length. A brilliant, terroir-driven white. Drink 2019-26. – Tim Atkin MW, 95/100
Lammershoek, The Innocent Syrah 2018
A variety of fermentation techniques used including some 20% whole-bunch before maturation lasting 11 months in a combination of concrete tanks, wooden foudre and old barrels. Wonderfully distinct aromatics of red and black fruit, flowers, herbs and cured meat while the palate is wonderfully juicy and fresh with some crunch to the tannins. – Winemag Prescient Shiraz Report 2020, Top 10
Trimbach, Pinot Noir Réserve 2017
Medium ruby. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, flint and powdered rocks. Fresh, clean and pretty, displaying savory nuances and polished tannins on the fresh, long finish. Already showing lovely balance, and it will no doubt develop well in the bottle. – Ian D’Agata, Vinous, 90+/100