Wines from Stellenbosch

The following wines are a mix of wines tasted by the bottle with friends in South Africa. I tasted these wines with no preconception and minimal knowledge of the producers. Unfortunately for two of these I did not have any appropriate glassware available so they were sampled from a flat bottomed tumbler (unfair I know).

StehuisMorgensterWines: Morgenster White 2012, Sterhuis Merlot 2013, Eikendal Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Morgenster White, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2012.

53% Semillon, 47% Sauvignon Blanc
Alcohol: 13.4%, pH 3.18, RS: 2.33g/l, Total Acid: 5.64 g/l
Tasted from a flat bottomed tumbler.

Appearance: Clear, slightly grassy golden colour.

Nose: Oak on the nose and baked apple.

Palate:  Apple and other fruits continue but the wine felt somewhat unbalanced.  I felt this had too much alcohol for my palate and was potentially over oaked.

I actually ended up looking at a tasting note for this one to try and focus my thoughts; coming back to it I picked up on some minerality I had missed but not much more.  After half an hour the oak was tolerable and I was starting to enjoy the wine but realistically I found this hard work.

Conclusions: I am well aware this was tasted under less than ideal conditions which may have had an impact.  I struggled to pick out what was going on with this one.  I certainly found the oak needed further integration. Potentially this wine will cool down with age and address the balance issues.  I would probably buy a bottle to get the measure of this if I had space.

Score: After drinking quarter of a bottle I was still only somewhere in the ball park of 84-92: as such I will decline scoring this for now (DT).

Sterhuis Merlot, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2013.

1000% Merlot, 15% alcohol.
Tasted from the same flat bottomed glass as above.

Appearance: Intense garnet in colour with a slight brown hue.

Nose: Mix of red and black cherry: think kirsch.

Palate:  Tasty intense sweet cherry hits you first.  Acidity is high and offsets the sweetness well.  Good body and medium tannin.  Underlying the fruit there is complexity with the wine yielding spice and molasses.  There is a hints suggesting chocolate too.

Conclusions: Delicious. OK so it tastes like flat pop (cherry coke to be exact) but its pretty darned tasty.  Totally not my normal style but I liked this.  Big flavours, sweetness, spice, good body and focused by the acidity.  To me this is very new world.  I’d love to see what a this does with a few years age under its belt.

Score: 91/100 (DT)

Eikendal Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2013

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, French oak barrels for 16 months.
Alcohol: 14.5%, Sugar: 3.3 g/l, Total acid: 5.4 g/l, pH: 3.56

This wine was thankfully tasted out of a wine glass whilst at a BBQ (or Braai as they call it in South Africa).  As such my notes are very brief and unfortunately I did not get round to recording a score for this one.  (And apologies for the pretty poor photo too!)

This wine was predominantly black fruit in the form of blackcurrant (typical of the variety), with spice and ceder filling out a moderate length finish.  The wine was sweet and the alcohol content was notably high to my palate.  Otherwise it was well balanced.

I noticed when searching for this wine that the 2012 vintage can be bought for as little as £10.82 in the UK at the time of writing and at this price it is a typical warm climate Cabernet Sauvignon and represents good value.  I note that Eikendal advise ageing this wine for up to 20 years suggesting that they are very confident in the quality.  It is also interesting to see the difference between Eikendal’s tasting note and my own.

Looking at the write up from John Platter think I may have missed some of the subtlety on this one – goes to show the effect of setting on perception.  As is obvious a BBQ is not the best spot to pick up on elegance!

Score: Not scored as above (DT)

Eikendal

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