(2021) South Africa's most famous exponent of Chenin Blanc, the Old Vine Reserve from Ken Forrester comes from vineyards planted in 1976, and is made in a nicely balanced style where partial barrel fermentation (20% new French oak) adds a lustre to the aromatics and palate, creaminess, light toast and almond over ripe and honeyed fruit. In the mouth there is an expansive texture, creaminess again, but pristine flavours of crisp apple melt into more sweet, tropical tones, before a vivid core of acidity powers the finish. Delicious stuff and versatile: watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. On offer at £13.30 at time of review.
(2021) From a vineyard planted between 1998 and 2000 and a vintage with a cool summer and very little rain, this is 100% Merlot, naturally fermented and matured for 18 months in French oak barrels, 30% of which were new. A bold, youthful ruby- to crimson, the nose is a little earthy and gamy, lightly spiced, the fruit savoury with some tobacco notes. In the mouth there's a real creaminess to the texture, but its a Merlot with some seriousness and substance. Yes, there is a sweet edge to the fruit, plums and tart black berries, but the chocolaty density of tannins and the good cherry-skin acidity gives gastronomic juiciness.
(2021) From vineyards planted between 1985 and 1986, this is fermented in 228-litre French oak barrels (one third new) and aged for a further 10 months in barrel. It's a lovely style of Chardonnay that balances flinty, complex sulphide character with gently smoky notes and ripe, juicy orchard fruit. The nose has that gunflint and stone quality with a hit of vanillin oak, but fruit is bold too. On the palate a medium- to full texture and creaminess, nuttiness and savoury qualities, plus lemons and apples providing clean fruit and acidity. Quite long too, finishing with tang and vibrancy.
(2021) From vineyards in Stellenbosch, this is noticeably less green and pungent than the Sutherland bottling from Elgin. There is a touch of gooseberry and elderflower, but its more about nectarine and grapefruit, the palate sweet with a lusciousness and mouthfilling texture and juicy stone fruit fleshiness. A nice touch of saltiness adds to the freshness of the finish in a stylish Sauvignon.
(2021) The vineyards here were planted in 2000 and 2001, and the wine comes from a season that began cool, but warmed up during the peak harvesting period with very little rain. It spends 18 months in French barrels, 30% new. It has a meaty, maybe slightly herbaceous character, not too distinctive in terms of fruit profile, more spicy and a touch green. In the mouth it has black fruit, cool acidity and a stripe of tannin that keeps it savoury, if rather lean.
(2021) A Cape blend, majority Pinotage (70%) with 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot aged 15 months in 80% French and 20% American white oak, 48% of which was new. Rich ruby in colour, there is some nice softening development here in a five-year-old wine, and though there is plenty of custardy oak on show, there's a nice depth of black fruit too, with some spice and tobacco. Nicely mature palate, that for me straddles Bordeaux and Rhône in character and flavour, with plenty of black fruit, some meatiness and a nice balance of pepperiness, smooth, chocolaty tannins and cherry acidity. Drinking really nicely.
(2021) A very nicely pitched Sauvignon Blanc this, with a touch of pea shoot and asparagus pungency, but not too much, with fruit too, hinting at the tropical. In the mouth that edge of grassiness keeps it fresh, as does plenty of cool citrus and apple acidity to given it a dry finish, but through the mid-palate there are more nuances of that tropical mango and pineapple to give it plenty of charm and appeal.
(2021) Last tasted January 2019 in the full Vergelegen line-up at the winery, this was a cracking Chardonnay then, and is again now. I do however feel my score should be tempered by a point or two, simply because the overtly toasty oak (that I dis not object to) still feels just a little strident in this. There is plenty of oak, vanilla and toast, spice and a pure limey fruit beneath. On the palate the butteriness of the oak again, a nice saline acid streaking through all that pithy citrus and little mid-palate fatness of more peachy fruit. Lovely - but you must like the overt oakiness.
(2021) From a very good vintage, berries are hand-sorted and, after fermentation, racked to French oak barrels (45% new) for 18 months. The nose is gorgeous, hinting at mint but suffused with crushed red and black fruits, and so elegantly touched by graphite and Sandalwood, also touches of kirsch and bright cassis, even moving into Parma violet. The palate is pure silk, glossy and ripe, with concentrated black fruit and again that elegance, not just the cedary touches, but huge juiciness to the acids and a real lick of salty minerality. Long and fabulous wine, delivering loads of bangs per buck. Will cellar for a decade surely.
(2020) The Pinotage component of this wine was strikingly obvious to me on tasting, but in fact the blend is 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Pinotage, with the remaining 26% made up of Cinsaut, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Shiraz. It sees a little oak. Blackcurrant, brambles and lots of fruit on the nose, a touch of leather and yes, a little touch of the 'rubbery' character of Pinotage, but crucially not too much, actually adding additional interest here. In the mouth sweet and slick black fruit, a nicely rustic grip of tannin to give savoury appeal and very good balance too in an easy-drinking and enjoyable red, perfect for pizza, chilli con carne or lasgne.