The annual wine harvests are in, grapes processed and new wines maturing away in their barrels and tanks, so now it’s time for new releases to hit the shelves, whether it be fresh 2017 whites, or red wines that have been maturing away and are now judged ready for drinking.
Baleia Wines may be young and pioneering a relatively new wine region – their first harvest was in 2011 in the Vermaaklikheid area of the Cape South Coast – but their wines have already attracted plenty of attention in awards tables and ratings.
Young owners Jan-Hendrik and Lindi Joubert, both descended from Huguenot wine-farming stock, are focused on laying down traditions and making wines of substance and ageability on the family farm where Jan-Hendrik is third-generation farmer on land traditionally devoted to sheep, cattle and grain.
Their flagship wines are named after their twin children – little Inge has the chardonnay and son Erhard the pinot noir, of which the 2014 vintage has recently been released.
The wine is everything a pinot noir should be – from the deceptively translucent colour to the intense flavours of red berries, herbs and earthiness. Layers of different cherry flavours reveal themselves with each sip, backed up by underlying savouriness and soft richness, and it evolves beautifully in the glass and the mouth, delivering lovely lingering flavours.
The winemaker suggests decanting it for best results if drinking now, and ageing the wine for up to 10 years. Hopefully that means young Erhard will get to taste “his” wine one day, as it’s really fabulous now and shows potential to only get better.
The wine is R180 from the cellar door or website, and if you’re driving to Cape Town it’s really worth a stop for a tasting at their cellar and deli on the N2 just outside Riversdale.
With a history dating back over two centuries, Neethlingshof has no shortage of heritage and tradition.
The Short Story Collection reflects their drive to conserve the estate’s natural heritage, by returning parts of the farm to natural vegetation and creating wilderness corridors through the vineyards. This has seen nature’s pest control squad returning to the land, in the form of owls and the elusive caracal (rooikat) – celebrated in the Owl Post Pinotage 2015 and The Caracal 2014 Bordeaux 2014 blend.
Both are new releases of wines that did really well in previous vintages – the 2014 Owl Post Pinotage took the Abraham Perold Pinotage Trophy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition last year, and the 2015 is an absolute stunner of a proper pinotage (I dare the pinotage haters not to like this!)
The nose is reminiscent of granny’s oak liquor cabinet and the wine is deep and inky with black fruit – it’s more about lean, leathery savouriness than fruitiness, though, with intense concentrated flavours and a hint of vanilla.
The 2014 Caracal is a cabernet sauvignon-led blend with merlot and petit verdot rounding it out with their fragrance and soft chocolatey notes. Full-bodied and sleek with soft velvety tannins and luscious ripe fruit, it’s a real treat.
Both wines are R179.99 at Preston’s.
So, get out there and try something new this weekend!
- VINE TIME wine columnist Samantha Venter shares her favourite tipples with Wekend Post readers every Saturday