(2024) In the funky wine spectrum for sure, this non-vintage wine is 82% Chenin Blanc and 18% Grenache Blanc, 60% from the 2022 vintage, the rest from components going back to 2016. Some portions saw skin-contact, others were deliberatly maderised or aged under flor. Lemony in colour, the nose has butter and lanolin notes, considerable complexity with ripe golden delicious apples and subtle nuttiness too. On the palate a richness to the texture, fat lemony fruit and a delightful balance between fruit ripeness and sheer, sherbet lemon acidity. A lovely, dry, gastronomic finish.
(2023) This is 100 Grenache, from the Gabb family and vineyards in the Western Cape, specifcally around Citrusdal next door to Swartland. Pale in colour and with just 11.5% alcohol, it has a bon-bon nose, a little suggestion of passion fruit too. On the palate more than a hint of sweetness and a fairly light character, perhaps verging on feeling slightly dilute. £7.99 as part of a mixed dozen.
(2023) This is nicely vibrant and tropical-fruited Sauvignon Blanc, with grapes sourced from cooler climate vineyards in Elgin, Walker Bay, Darling, and Stellenbosch, as well as selected parcels from the Breedekloof region. Perhaps it's that blending of soils and climates that gives the wine both body and ripeness, and plenty of keen acidity. It sees no oak, but is aged on the lees for a few months, which undoubtedly adds an edge of richness to the texture, the succulent mango and lychee exotic fruit flowing into limey acidity at the finish. Nicely done. On offer in Sainsbury's at £7 at time of review. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2023) The Dynamite red is 100% Shiraz grapes, mainly from vineyards in Swartland, Perdeberg, Wellington, and Paarl. From soils predominantly made of decomposed shale and granite, the fruit of the cooler 2021 vintage was harvested two weeks later than average and a portion of the wine was aged in 225-litre barriques, French and American oak, for 12 months. It's a meaty and yet juicy Shiraz, with bags of plummy flavour and a spice kick of tannin, and probably a good contender for summer barbecues.
(2023) This is a wine from the Western Cape of South Africa, most of the fruit sourced in the Franschhoek valley. It's a very European-style Sauvignon, with little trace of the more pungent, herbaceous aromas of some, but majoring more on ripe orchard fruits and a fat lemony freshness. It has good texture; a surprisingly creamy edge to the mouthfeel, and again that ripe, pristine fruitiness that is well-balanced through to the finish. An ideal 'cellar defender' - one of those modestly priced bottles to pull from the rack on a Tuesday evening without having to worry too much about it. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) From selected cooler sites in the Western Cape, this was delibrately exposed to oxygen at specific times during vinification, which is far from the usual recipe for Sauvignon Blanc. What that has supressed in pungent and fiery aromatics it has gained in a more complex, layered set of aromas with a little breadiness and bruised apple character. In the mouth there is plentiful sweet fruit, very much more orthodox SB in a way, with punchy nectarine ripeness and limey acidity coming together for a ripe but balanced style.
(2022) This is an 'MCC', the designation for South Africa's quality, traditional method sparkling wines. It comes from the fizz-dedicated Graham Beck operation, a blend of mostly Pinot with Chardonnay, where the delicate pink hue comes from short contact of Pinot skins pre-ferment. With 9.8g/l of residual sugar it is certainly not sweet, but it is easy-going and approachable, the red fruits touching pulpy strawberry and raspberry, the mousse not too aggressive and the finish well balance. Better value at £14.99 on a Majestic deal, though there are numerous outher stockists - see the wine-searcher link below. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) This South African Cabernet can be had as cheaply as £6 for Tesco Club Card holders, which does qualify it as a 'buy', even though its a wine with no real distinguishing features for me: fairly generic black fruit, made with French oak (though possibly staves rather than barrels?) it is juicy enough, a little bit raw feeling and whilst decent, just doesn't press my buttons. I slightly preferred the Chardonnay in the range at the same price from Tesco.
(2021) About 90% Shiraz with a dash of Malbec, this ruby-crimson wine has loads of smokiness on the nose, charred meat and bonfire ash to the fore. In the mouth a big, sweet and substantial mouthful, loaded with sweet black fruit and creamy in texture, that smokiness and slightly harsh acidity in the finish. I guess there's no denying it is a lot of wine for £6 in Tesco, on promotion November 15th to December 5th 2021.
(2021) In some ways this Sauvignon Blanc blended with a touch of Shiraz to give it its pink colour is more 'Sauvignony' than the straight SB. It certainly has the herbal, grassy and elderflower punch going on, some dry and pithy acidity making it feel a touch drier too. There is a little bit of confectionary sweetness towards the finish, that maybe jars slightly against that acid. £5.75 in Asda until the end of 2021.