Being based in Cape Town and well past my days of partying it up with the students, I rarely give enough attention to establishments in Stellies passing through the place on my way round the winelands, only occasionally stopping to pick up a quick bite to eat or some cheese at the Simonsberg factory shop. But given that one of the regular panel members is based there, we thought it only fair to expand our horizons and look beyond the lights of the big city for our next WhiteStickSips tasting. And so it was, that we saddled up, being all environmentally friendly sharing rides, braved the rush-hour Tuesday traffic and made the mission through to Osetra Tapas and Champagne lounge in Stellenbosch. Our celeb tasters for the evening were Andrew Harris, Wine Business Manager at Alluvia and Neil Bent, chairman of the Maaties Wine Society.
I’m not sure if I’m jumping the gun here but there seems to be a trend emerging amongst the wine bars/restaurants we have held tastings at. The restaurants have, thus far, all gone with 2 flights of 4 wines, whereas the wine bars – to be fair there have only been two – seem to prefer serving the wines individually – as was the case at Osetra. At the moment, I have to admit I’m siding with the restaurants here, preferring to be able to taste the wines as a flight and then re-taste them whilst discussing our findings amongst the panel as a whole. In addition, with each wine served individually one loses out on the chance to taste them in a different order – which to my mind plays a critical part in the rating process allowing wines to be compared not only to what came immediately before.
Enough about that though… Here are the details:
1. Buitenverwachting Buiten Blanc ’08 (14.5/20)
Nice tropical notes on nose and palate although the wine seemed a little out of balance with some heat (alcohol?) coming through on the palate. Good finish with lingering acidity.
2. Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc ’08 (15.5/20)
Creaminess to the nose showing asparagus notes that follow right through to the finish. Crisp, clean palate showing evidence of extended lees contact. Little sharp though.
★ 3. Mulderbosch Chardonnay ’07 (16/20) ★
Lovely, complex nose showing signs of bottle age. Good balance on the palate, well-oaked with caramel/candied fruit set against citrus acidity. Strong finish. Definitely the wine of the night and what I’d be drinking if I ever went back.
4. Waterford Rose-Mary ’09 (13.5/20)
Only slightly pink in colour. Watery, acidic palate. #FAIL
5. La Motte Millenium ’07 (15/20)
Meaty, stewed fruit nose. Young green palate that didn’t live up to the nose. One to drink in a couple years time. Wine was also served far too warm – as were all the reds for the evening.
6. Waterford Pecan Stream ’07 (14/20)
Shy nose; hints of coffee and boiled sweets but still green. Big chewy palate. Nice… but… tannic through to the finish. Initially thought it should lie down but in retrospect it’s probably past its best.
7. Dornier Cocoa Hill Red ’07 (15/20)
Thin palate albeit slightly herbaceous with lots of berries. Seriously tannic finish.
8. Bilton Cabernet Sauvignon ’06 (16.5/20)
Lovely jammy nose, boiled sweets. Good structure to the palate but had this slightly sour note to it. Could definitely lie down a couple years.
Overall, the evening was a success and after the tasting several of us decided to make more of a night out of it staying on for a couple more bottles. I must admit, that coming from Cape Town where markups are frequently in the 300-400% range, the prices were a breath of fresh air and I think my personal average of 15 is a fair reflection on a selection of good value, drinking wines; although they really could do with serving their reds slightly cooler.