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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES #172 (article first published : 2007-04-24)

Because of the present global oversupply of wine, South African exporters have battled a bit in recent times, with wine exports falling 4 percent last year, the first drop in 13 years.

It is therefore particularly good news that many wines from the Cape continue to earn high praise from the experts in the overseas markets.

For example, the 2001 vintage of Perold, the prestige wine of KWV, the South African wine and brandy company, has received a top rating in Canada’s leading wine publication, Wine Access.

The wine, produced entirely from shiraz grapes from a small vineyard high on Paarl Mountain, was given a rating of 92 points out of a possible 100 by the wine critic and judge Steve Thurlow. He wrote: “A soaring nose … rich and full-bodied but not heavy on the palate… great balance and nice oak integration. Best from 2007 to 2020, maybe longer”.

This wine is named after Professor Abraham Izak Perold, one of the pioneers of South African viticulture. When the 1998 vintage was released in South Africa four years ago it retailed at R800 a bottle and was probably the most expensive red wine ever to emerge from the Cape vineyards.

The 2001 vintage retails in Canada for the equivalent of about R700 a bottle, which I suppose is a reasonable buy in terms of Canadian dollars.

Various other South African red wines have won distinction in Canada, at the Selections Mondiales wine show in Montreal. A grand gold medal, one of just ten awarded to the 1,700 wines entered for the show, went to the 2003 Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvignon. The Jacobsdal estate at Stellenbosch, established nearly a hundred years ago, is probably best known for its pinotage, but obviously its cabernet is also of the highest quality.

Gold medals at this show went to the 2004 Alto Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2003 Neethlingshof Shiraz and the 2001 Stellenzicht Syrah.

A lovely white wine, the 2003 De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay from the well-known De Wetshof estate at Robertson, has been given a score of 90 points out of 100 by the international magazine Wine Spectator. James Molesworth, who regularly tastes Cape wines for the magazine, described this chardonnay as “bold and forward, with lots of honey, pear and piecrust notes, but enough freshness and acidity to stretch out the finish and allow for dried tropical fruit notes to linger”. – Michael Green




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