Wednesday, November 09, 2005

South African Soiree - and tasting notes!

Well, the tasting went wonderful....I had so much fun! I always have a great time at these wine parties, since I'm so not shy! I love encouraging people to sample and educate them on what they're tasting in a fun way. And - I was concerned that my South African knowledge may not be as strong as it should be, so it was quite comforting when the Consul was there, and he complimented me on my "excellent grasp" on the nuances on the wines and the reasonings behind them (e.g. climate, American culture, grape blends) etc. Whew......

So, for those of you who would like to know what we tasted, here's a brief "in a nutshell" breakdown/description. Consider it a "virtual sip", if you will.

Graham Beck Railroad Red Reserve Shiraz 2003: This Shiraz is not as big as most Shiraz' tend to be. It's rich in color, but falls short on the big round taste that it's Australian cousin has. This Shiraz leans more towards it's other cousin, Syrah - and this particular Shiraz actually pairs better with lambs, stews and game foods which is more typical of Syrah; whereas an Australian Shiraz pairs great with barbecue and hearty beef. If you like Syrah, this SA Shiraz is your choice.

Wildekrans Pinotage: Pinotage is the signature wine of South Africa. Either one likes Pinotage, or one doesn't - very few fall in the middle. This particular Pinotage is softer than most - it's been blended very well so that it suits American palates moreso than other Pinotages. This style of wine usually has a "twist" - it dances on your tongue (I love Pinotage). However, this particular Pinotage is something you would enjoy if you enjoy Merlot.

David Frost "Gene Sarazen" Cabernet Sauvignon 2000: This is a good tasting Cabernet, however, it is not a big one; so if you are a fan of traditional Cabernet, you may find this falls short. Pleasant tasting, great color - but just not big. It's sweet and jammy, and after being decanted - it opens up some; but truly should be held a little while longer to drink.

Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc: Not quite as crisp and acidic as a New Zealand SV, but quite nice. A good fruit flavor when served room temperature; chilled- it's a little thin. Pineapple and Melon on the finish. Decent enough, but if you're a classic NZ SV fan - this you will not love.

Graham Beck"Pinno" Unoaked Chardonnay: (I love unoaked Chard!) South Africa is catching on to the trend of steel casking their Chardonnay as Australia and NZ have done. This tastes more typical of a SV than a Chardonnay because it's so full, and has a nice acidity to it. Chardonnay is up and coming in the South Africa wine making circles - it's always been secondary to the Sauvignon Blanc. Unoaking it - will bring it forward in the drinking trends. Crisp, fruity and round. If you'd like to try a very interesting unoaked Chardonnay -not South African - try Kali Hart. Let me know what you think.

Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc: This wine is one that is not being produced much by South African wine farms because it's quite difficult to produce one that is not too thin. This is a very full bodied Chenin Blanc - and for those who don't normally like white wine - this particular Chenin Blanc is a good one to try. It's tight and dry - but sweet.


Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of South Africa....Cheers!

Cheers!

13 comments:

Julia said...

WOW! Thanks for this. I'll have to try some. I've just discovered Sav Blanc and I adore them. Bought a case from Rideau in Solvang, CA -for Christmas presents of course *wink*

What's the difference between unoaked Chard and oaked? I'll try Kali Hart. I'm not a Chardonnay fan. Can you believe it? I just haven't tried one I like. We got one from our wine membership yesterday, but ugh! I was like, why a Chardonnay?? Luckily a Cab Franc came with. Write me! -Julia

McSwain said...

Thank you! This is so cool--in my comment on the last post, I was going to suggest a "virtual wine tasting." And look, you did it!

Rebecca said...

Hi Julia -
Welcome!

Unoaked chardonnay is a chardonnay that has been aged in stainless steel casks, as opposed to oak barrels. It allows for the wine to be crisp and very fruit forward, rather than creamy and oaky. It also makes the wine seem less dry. I'm suprised you like Cab Franc! Very few people enjoy straight Cab Franc - is it a blend? Kali Hart is great - it's smoky with a strong pineapple taste to it. But my favorite unoaked Chard is by Kim Crawford. :)

Rebecca said...

Hey Cheryl! You must've posted as I was posting myself! I do a virtual tasting blog for the store... email me and I'll give you the URL! :)

Julia said...

Hi Rebecca,
Well, in answer to the question you left on my post... ohh, hesitate to write it, but here's some code for you.. think uhm... BREAST cancer.

Love the idea of virtual wine tasting. Count me in!

Julia said...

PS My favorite is Pinot Noir. I love fruit forward wines, so a oakless Chard may be the ticket for me!

clew said...

Rebecca, when we were in Mexico we had some FANTASTIC Mexican wines! Who'd have thought? What do you know about Mexican wines? We tried to remember the names when we got home but we couldnt. I have a semi recognizable label in a photo though :)

Thanks for the virtual tasting party. My mouth is watering!

Rebecca said...

Clew - I know nothing of Mexican wines. We have a fantastic selection of Chilean and South American wines, but I didn't even realize Mexico had exported any! I'd be interested in trying some...

Julia - let me know if you like the Kali Hart. :) It's very different tasting because of the smokiness to it. It's the most unique Chardonnay I've ever tasted.

Jerry said...

Holy Smokes Rebecca you surprise me everyday....with these hidden talents of yours. Let me add "Wine Connoisseur" to the list. Awesome.... She's Beautiful (check)Funny(check) and Talented (check)....wow now to find a Rebecca of my own....The search is on!--thanks for you're comments btw:::smile::::

Laura said...

Well, I'm a vodka girl and not much for wine... On that note, I admire fans who study, remember, and appreciate any form of art and I do see food and drink as art. So I admire you. There I said it. ;) Seriously, sincere dedication to anything is profound and way too scarce these days.

Rebecca said...

Jerry: Muchos Gracias Amigo. I'm not your average blonde! ;)

Laura - Thanks sister! ;) Just as I admire your dedication to staying in touch with what you believe in, and not wavering. :)

Kodijack said...

*Sideways flashback* "I will not drink Merlot!"

I am going to copy this and see what my liqour store has in stock. Thanks Rebecca.

ramblin' girl said...

sure, now I want a glass of wine, and it's not even noon here, yet...