29-12-2011

A serving of Stellenrust

Stellenrust is well-situated. Not only does it have wonderful vistas of the mountains, including Table Mountain, but of the 200 hectares of vineyards they own, half of it is in the “Golden Triangle” which is considered to be one of the best areas for red wine production in all of South Africa.

Founded in 1928, it was a dairy farm that has been transformed in to a winery. But, in addition to being a large estate winery, they made a large effort to not be one of the “bad apples” that have popped up in the news lately. Instead, they have 72 permanent black South African workers who are the majority shareholders for 100ha of vineyards so they have a vested stake in the company as opposed to being just employees.

While they charge a tasting fee of R 10, it’s only to sample the higher-end wines (and chase off local college kids coming to get drunk for free), so they’re quite reasonable.

Their Chenin Blanc 2009 has a grape and honey nose that’s considerably different from a great many of the Chenin in the region. The body is lightly sweet with just a touch of mineral qualities, although that honey quality from the nose is still there amazingly. The finish comes out wonderfully clean. It’s a good food wine if the dish is a bit acidic or bold in flavors. It most definitely would not be good with anything the slightest bit sweet though. R 38

Their Sauvignon Blanc 2009 has a mineral nose that is at the same time just a touch sweet. These mineral qualities carry in to the body and pick up some lime flavors as well. They quickly clear out in the finish to be pleasing and light at the end. As it breaths, the body becomes surprisingly meaty in some aspects as well. R 42

The Pinotage 2009 has a very subtle nose with soft, soft hints of blackberries. The body carries through with the blackberries and picks up a bit of strawberry that I don’t find all that welcome, but still makes for a nice wine with a smooth finish and good for simple, all around drinking. R 40

The Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 has a nose with extremely light oak that leads in to a touch of vanilla and mint. It’s quite pleasant overall. The body picks up on these flavors and amplifies them with a bit more oak and is somewhat dry as well. The finish is a touch more acidic than I would prefer on its own, but again, would be great with a steak, venison, or boar as well as heavier cheeses not typically had with wine, such as aged cheddar. R 50

The Timeless 2007 is made up of Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Merlot 30%, 10% Cabernet Franc. The nose has a bit of mint in it as well as blackberry. This comes in to the body as well a great chocolate quality, mostly all from the Cabernet Sauvignon components. There’s a nice, meaty quality overall and a fresh, lively finish. R 120

The Picolot 2007, as the name would imply is a blend of Pinotage, Cabernet, and Merlot. They only make a few hundred bottles of it each year. The nose is delicate and very nice. It floats with hints of oak and raspberry. The body is strong with plum elements, but also pleasing flavors of currant. It’s decently dry in the body, but in a very enjoyable manner. As it opens up, the nose gets more buttery. R 105

We talk a great deal more about the wines of Stellenbosch and other Cape Town wineries in our Stellenbosch wine guide.

WINES

Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
93+ 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars