South African wine producers appear to be having a hard time of it at the moment with heavy covid-19 restrictions, based on wine media and industry webinars made available by the Institute of Masters of Wine here. Chenin blanc is a South African white wine paradigm and this wine from Badenhorst in Swartland is a good example of it. It opens to aromas of damp honey, dew and green melon. The palate is dry and full bodied with trademark chenin blanc high acidity. This wine can be approached now or over the next 5 years or more. Rating: Good. Website: https://aabadenhorst.com/. Reviewed: June 2020.
Hamilton Russell is the paradigm South African pinot noir producer from the cool climate Walker Bay region in South Africa. This wine opens to brooding aromas of earth, cherry, spice and undergrowth. The palate is between medium and full bodied, the acidity is very fresh, and the finish has firm, pleasing tannins. This wine is obviously a benchmark and can be approached now, but will benefit from 4-5 years in the cellar. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5. Price: $80. Website: https://www.hamiltonrussellvineyards.com. Reviewed: April 2020.
This is a very savoury chenin blanc from Mount Abora in South Africa. It opens to tertiary aromas of toast, earth and lemons. The palate has racy acidity and is quite a complex rendition of chenin blanc, and South African chenin blanc, in particular. This is a deliciously complex wine that will suit current drinking. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $33. Website: abora.co.za.
Pinotage is a South African speciality, and this wine’s a serious version of it from Simonsberg within Stellenbosch. A deep intensity purple in colour, the 2014 pinotage opens to aromatics of tobacco, earth, redcurrant, sweet cherries and cedar. The palate has light tannins, a full body and very good length on the finish. Overall, this is a very good wine due to its length, fruit which is ripe without being overweight. This may well be the best pinotage I have tasted. (Region: Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, South Africa, Rating: Very Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, Drink: now to 2025, Tasted: June, 2017)
Other vintages reviewed: