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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES #187 (article first published : 2007-11-19)

The manor house at the Nederburg winery at Paarl is a national monument and is one of the most elegant buildings in the Western Cape. The Nederburg farm was established in 1791 and nine years later, in 1800, the owner Philippus Wolvaart, built the manor house.

It is appropriate that Nederburg has chosen the name Manor House for a range of high quality wines which are intended to emulate the architectural balance of the old building.

The grapes for these wines come from carefully chosen vineyards. The Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 comes from two low-yielding Paarl vineyards. The wine has the mint, blackcurrant, chocolate and berry features associated with this cultivar. It was matured in small French oak vats for 14 months. Total production is 6,700 cases, and the retail price is about R84 a bottle.

The Manor House Sauvignon Blanc 2007 comes from vineyards at Durbanville, Stellenbosch and Darling. I have tried this wine and it is first-rate, with the grassy, gooseberry character of the grape plus some peach and passion fruit flavours. A subtle wine and quite a big one at 13,5 percent alcohol. Delicious now, and it should hold its quality in the bottle for the next three years. Production: 3,300 cases. Price: about R75.

Another limited edition (4,500 cases) is the Manor House Shiraz 2006, made from vineyards at Philadelphia, near the Cape west coast, and Paarl. Rich, fruity and spicy. About R84.

An even more exclusive new label from Nederburg is Ingenuity, the name given to two blended wines produced in very small quantities as specialties for the connoisseur.

The Ingenuity White Blend 2006 is a blend of eight different varieties: sauvignon blanc, viognier, chardonnay, chenin blanc, semillon, nouvelle, Rhine riesling and verdelho. Verdelho is a grape grown widely in Portugal but mainly associated with Madeira, where it is used for sweet dessert wines.

Nouvelle is a crossing, developed in South Africa, of semillon and crouchen blanc (Cape riesling).

According to Nederburg, the Ingenuity White Blend has notes of flowers, spice and peach, and there is no other wine like it. Only 530 cases have been made. Price: about R120 a bottle.

The Nederburg Ingenuity Red Blend 2005 is another exotic item, made with three grape varieties relatively new to South Africa but famous in the Italian regions of Piedmont and Tuscany.

These grapes are sangiovese, nebbiolo and barbera. The wine was aged in French oak for 20 months and Nederburg says it is a complex fusion of berries, plums, spices, liquorice and velvety tannins. Again, production is only 530 cases. Price: about R175. – Michael Green




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