(2017) I've reviewed several of the premium 'Ghost Corner' wines of winemaker David Nieuwoudt in the past, but fewer from his Cederberg project in a remote, high-altitude region where few others make wine. It's a fresh and vibrant style of Sauvignon, very pale in colour but with nettle and asparagus as well as peachy fruit. In the mouth it punches through in nervy, dry style, lots of mineral salts and lemon, just tempered by that hint of peachiness, but all about the steely clarity of the finish.
(2017) I last tasted this wine 'en primeur' in 2011 when I rated it 89 points, so nice to come across it again with six years more in bottle. The estate is managed by Alain Vauthier of the famous Château Ausone, and the wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. There's a gentle floral aspect to the nose, but that's part of a fairly complex picture with savoury, dark fruit and hints of earthiness, green pepper and some cocoa. On the palate it is juicy and lean, the tannins and very plum-skin grip of acidity give it definition, but there's a hint of cocoa and coffee again, and sufficient berry fruit to make it very appealing along with some roast beef perhaps.
(2017) Maybe it's the cool of the high altitude vineyards, but there's a touch of the Sauvignon Blancs about this Chenin, certainly exotic fruit and gooseberry notes, as well as a more expected apple and light lanolin quality. A blast of tangy pink grapefruit reverberates across the palate, a great core of acidity punching through, some melon skin and lime peel bite and texture, and a long, dry finish of some style.
(2017) Production of this Merlot-dominated blend seems to be taken quite seriously, produced only in excellent years when Maltus can source fruit of the correct quality, and stated as having at least five years cellaring potential.
(2017) I've previously reviewed and recommended the St Julien 2010 bottled for FromVineyardsDirect from the vineyards of a famous second growth Chāteau, and I have to say this 2014 Pauillac is equally good. Once again the producer is not revealed, but it is a declassifed Cru Classé, possibly made from the estate's younger vines, or simply a surplus that was not needed in the blend - this wine is dominated by Merlot. It is svelte and plush on the nose, deep black fruit and a hint of graphite and cedar. In the mouth it has tension and structure, a grip of youthful tannin, but the savoury, lightly gamy and meaty presence speaks of the wine's class and heritage, the finish long, chewy, but agile. Though drinking well already, this will cellar for several years.
(2017) I have previously enjoyed the 2009 vintage of this Cru Bourgeois wine from the Médoc, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, that has good, intense fruit event nine years on, currant and plum and a spicy richness. In the mouth the ripeness is apparent, a hint of lush, sweet red berries, but then classic left-bank firmness of tannins and the stripe of acidity give the finish a taut, if very slightly lean appeal.
(2017) A Pinot from the Languedoc, this has certainly retained freshness and edge in the heat of the south, with only 12.5% alcohol and a crisp, herb and red fruit nose. It's a Pinot in an authentically light- to medium-bodied style, fragrant and staying crisp and refreshing. The antithesis of 'blockbuster', but lovely of it's style.
(2017) I see from my database that I have notes for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 vintages of this wine from Clarence Dillon Wines, making it part of the Haut-Brion family stable, so interesting to taste this latest release. It's a typical white Bordeaux blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, the nose clear and brightly focused, with citrus and a touch of riper red apple, maybe even peach, and a light mealiness. Medium bodied, this has a grapefruit and lemon grip, a bit of real steel at the core, draped with taut fruit, the slight chalkiness of the acids giving lovely gastronomic potential.
(2017) A Loire wine for those who don't like their Sauvignon Blanc too tropical or too green, this pale-coloured, mineral example has stony aromas, citrus and the vaguest suggestion of nettle. In the mouth the 65-year-old vines grown on limestone soils give a natural concentration and bit of grip, the fruit taut with melon rind and lemon peel flavours, that little stone and salts note there in the acidity of the finish.
(2017) What a delightful white Burgundy this is, a mini-Chassagne from the highly respected Roux family, a beautifully pitched oak component adds nuttiness and cream to the flinty, stony mineral and citrus nose. In the mouth it has lovely definition, the acid framework cleaves through the richness and sweetness of the ripe Chardonnay fruit, but it's that flinty terrroir aspect and lick of salts that gives such class and such interest.