Julian’s South African Lunch

One of those ocassions where I am struggling to describe how good it was - superb being too scant description, the company, food, ambiance, wines and wine service were fantastic. Massive thanks to Julian for organising and Wild Flor too, Rob et al.

I am obviously suffering a bit this am, some 8.4% craft cider afterwards and an ill advised pit stop at Fratton Wetherspoons not helping. ;-)

Anyway heres some photos and I’ll add notes during the day as I can.

Pol Roger 2002 - lovely mature Champagne. Mid buttery yellow. Superb nose with autolysis and that aged hay and undergrowth on a June evening vibe. Not a lot of mousse but a lovely rounded but still mineral taste, great length. Wonderful. 95.

Lismore Chardonnay 2017 - decent New World style a bit angular to start, very much the squonky lime notes I get from a lot of NW chards but all in balance and a tad on the young side. Good now but has upside I’d say. 90-91 now, probably 92-93 in time?

Mullineux En Passant Chardonnay 2015 - lovely ripe buttery Chardonnay with an inky blue edge that I often find in good Meursault. Reminds me of a Lucien Le Moine 1er. Really good stuff. 94-95.

Alheit Cartology 2019. Needs a bit of time in glass and to warm up. Young but drinking nicely already, quite a bit going on here with stone fruits, a dryish rasping streak to balance, and almost a quince lick on the end. 92 now a point or two more in time?

These are all from memory so apologies if I get a bit wrong.:)

Newton Family Reserve Pinot - I liked this but wasn’t quite so taken with this as perhaps Julian and a few others were. Quite a ripe New World style for me, though not candied or ridiculous like I find a lot of NW Pinot. Lacked a bit of grip and tension for me but perhaps I’m being picky. 90 ish. (others certainly would score higher.

Meerlust Rubicon 2009 and 2006 - I have drunk the odd bottle over the years but never this aged. The 09 was ripe and nice but compared with the 06 was just a nice broad rather unfocussed but very decent mouthful. The 06 I thought was just the ticket. Structured, aged, complete, maybe a touch on the austere side when drunk on its own but superb with the Oxtail pie and it complemented it brilliantly unlike the 09 which was “just” a nice mouthul with the pie in comparison. 91 ish and 95 ish for 09/96.

Lismore Syrah - This confused me a bit. Interesting nose but a bit reticent, palate fatigue maybe setting in a bit. This was very drinkable but not very Syrah like to me, almost tasted as though it were co-fermented not with Viognier as in Cote Rote but with Riesling or something as they do in Aus. Nice smooth fruit, good acidity, very little obvious tannin. A nice wine but to me not very Syrah like. 92.

A sauterns 09 - served blind. I’m not a great Sauternes drinker and this was nice but a bit soft for me.

A Loupiac 09 - again served blind, a freebie from Wild Flor, for me this was more interesting than the Sauternes, with more structure and grip and verve.

Warre Otima 20y - I love a good Tawny as many of you will know, and 20yo is my sweet spot. This was a nice treat but it wasn’t up to one of the top 20 yo for me.

Apologies if I’m coming across negative or picky because all of them were a joy to drink.

We finished with Julians Heidseick NV (2016) - I dont need to say how good CH is usually and this was on form, quite strict but in a good way, really good at the end of the meal, power and presence. 93 now but some upside certainly. I just wish theyd change the label design back to the one they used in the eighties/nineties with the man himself shown.
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Thanks all for coming. I cannot overstate how well Wild Flor looked after us once again. All of my food was excellent and the service exemplary. Riedel glassware all the way through and no reusing of glasses for multiple wines - few restaurants can do this for us and it makes such a difference.

I did really enjoy the Newton Johnson - it reminded me of the sort of Pinot you get around Santa Barbara which is probably why! I thought the chardonnays were very classy, Cartology young but promising, Lismore Syrah had a lovely crystalline quality, Rubicons justify their place as one of the best BDX blends out of France. My memory gets hazy with the stickies but all extremely enjoyable.

On the whole we did really well, not a single dud and my word did we drink a lot of wine! All of which reaffirmed South Africa’s position of criminally underrated on the stage of world wine. I am also very appreciative of Mike stepping in at the final hour with a fabulous 2002 Pol Roger.

Multiple pints over the road afterwards were perhaps ill advised but very enjoyable.

I look forward to the next one.

Tom Cannavan

Not meaning to hijack this thread, but the glorious photo of Julian at the top of this thread, fast asleep bless him, reminded me that every time I see photos that include the participants in an offline, I wish someone would label them, putting names to faces of forum participants. I certainly don't know everyone despite having attend numerous London events over the years, but there will be plenty of other forum regulars who cannot attend events for a variety of reasons, and how nice it would be to know who's who, especially if they then contribute notes to the thread. We all know each other virtually, so this would allow a little bit more 'real' connection.
A lovely selection of wines , which represent some of the very best wines South Africa has to offer. A tad surprising perhaps that you did not have a S.A. sweetie such as Vin de Constance or the magnificent Mullineux Olerasay . Would love to attend the next one you hold, assuming it will be in the summer .
Looks like a lovely lunch. Interested in those Lismores as I picked up quite a few of the Syrah & Chardonnay in Majestic’s bin end sale. I also tuck away a case of the Meerlust Rubicon every year - always a good new world Bordeaux blend for the price and great with about 15-20 years age on it too.

I haven’t had enough of the Mullineux wines but the syrahs I’ve had have been fantastic. Must try more.
Really marvellous lunch organised by Julian. Such a pleasure to spend a few hours working through these wines (and then the beers) with excellent company. I will try to get down some brief impressions of the wines at some point. But there wasn’t a dud. I think the stand out for me was the Leeu Passant - really classy, refined chard. The sneaky Loupiac produced by Rob at Wild Flor (really impeccable wine service) was a surprisingly sophisticated little package.

Hopefully the second of many (now that I live 10 mins walk away).