The moment the first shower of rain fell, I reached into the wine cupboard to check my stocks of Muscadels and ports, like Winnie-the-Pooh checking his honey supplies.
Winter is my favourite time of the year, wine-wise. It’s when I can enjoy those delicious sweet delights with a clear conscience.
I’m happy to report that my stocks are holding up very well, but like Pooh I felt obliged to check some for quality.
The 2006 Rooiberg Red Muscadel is totally delicious! A couple of years in the bottle have added a mellow softness to its natural raisiny sweetness. My only regret is that it’s in a 500ml bottle, so I shall have to ration myself carefully.
The 2002 Vergenoegd Old Cape Colony (what used to be called port before the EU interfered) is a perfect winter drink, loaded with suggestions of nuts and spice and sticky Christmas pudding. I must remember to get some of their 2004 vintage when I’m next in that area. My single bottle isn’t going to last a long time, that’s for sure.
Port producers tell me it’s actually not economical sense to make a tawny port. After maturing it for years and years, you’ll never get paid enough for it to justify the effort.
They do make it, however, largely for their own satisfaction and the gentle character that develops with age. There’s something so elegant and subtle about a good tawny.
It’s certainly there in my bottle of De Krans Cape Tawny Port (and to hell with the EU) which scored a well-deserved five stars in the latest Platter Guide. What a treat! There are flavours of nuts and toffee, biltong and dried apricots that unfold gently on the tongue, all held together with a clever little “ping!” of acidity.
Port Producers save the name “Vintage Reserve” for the very good years, so I approached the 1997 Allesverloren Vintage Reserve Port with some reverence. Deservedly so, it turned out. This is a big, powerful port, with plum cake character, nuts and raisins, dried fruit and still a grippy little tannic bite to add excitement.
By now, I hardly need say, I was beyond accurate judgement, so I shall write about the other sweet delights in my cupboard some other time.
One thing’s for sure. This is going to be a very happy winter for me.
Roll on the rain!
JOYFUL NEW DUO FROM JORDON
A new release from Jordan Winery is always a happy event, so I was delighted to attend the launch of their two new wines, The Prospector2008 Syrah, and The Outlier 2009 wooded Sauvignon Blanc.
The event was also a celebration lunch to mark the legal victory of Stellenbosch wine farmers over the people who planned to “prospect” for mineral in the area.
If it had not been for the alert farmers and their quick action, large chunks of wine farms would have been taken over for mining. The sneaky attempt at what was actually no more than a land grab was spotted just in time and fast legal action and a strongly worded petition, combined with plenty of press publicity halted the miners in their tracks.
Well done Jordans and Stellenbosch. May your efforts spur the Karoo anti-fracking farmers to greater efforts. You’ve shown it can be done.
The Prospector (rather an ironic name, considering), is typical of the care and thought that goes into a Jordan wine. It has the warn spicy notes one expects from a good Shiraz, laced with dark chocolate notes, some black cherry flavours, plums and a clean, chalky edge.
Already three years old, it’s just reaching easy drinkability now and should continue to age gracefully for a good number of years still.
The Outlier 2009 wooded Sauvign Blanc was my favourite of the two. Fermented in barrels, it has managed to keep the wood flavours well hidden under the fresh tangy fruit character. The overall character is one of bright freshness – fruity without being pushy, exciting without any aggression.
I kept coming back to my glass and discovering new subtle layers of flavour.
This is a real charmer.