A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

supper theatre
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
KZNPO advert DTA advert .
See also our Classified ads
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES (article first published : 1999-09-11)

How long can you keep a bottle of South African wine? Everybody assumes that reds will improve in the bottle for a long time, but whites? This question has often been put to me and recently I canvassed some expert opinion on the subject.

The consensus was that most Cape whites begin to decline in quality after two or three years. An exception is Rhine riesling (or Weisser riesling). A good quality wine of this type should improve in the bottle for up to seven years. But Rhine riesling is a minor actor on the Cape wine scene, accounting for less than 1% of all the vineyards. Why it should lack popularity is something of a mystery to me. There are something like 40 different labels to choose from and the wine is usually delicious and complex, with spicy aromas and flavours of honey, lime, apples, peaches. Moreover, it is in general moderately priced. But it is distinctly off-dry and many casual consumers still think the drier a wine the better, hence their opposition to Rhine riesling. Give it a try. It goes well with most dishes or on its own and it lingers memorably on the palate.

Wines made from the other white grapes – chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and colombard among them – tend to darken in colour and lose freshness and flavour after about three years. But there are individual exceptions and I have had good results from bottles much older than that. I don’t think I have ever thrown away a wine because it was “over the hill”, as the cognoscenti say. Let your own palate be the judge but don’t store your Cape white wines for 10 years or more in the belief that they are growing steadily in quality and value. Generally speaking, they’re not.

Reds are a different story but even there the scene is changing. I have tasted 30-year-old Cape reds that were in magnificent shape but this was largely because winemakers used to design their products to mature slowly. Today most reds are made for early maturation and presumably an earlier eventual demise (they haven’t been around long enough for us yet to know for certain). In my next contribution to this website I will discuss a tasting of young and old reds.


 A current news
crafts
dance
festivals
drama
film & tv
literature
music
supper theatre
visual arts
miscellaneous

leisuresmart
letters to the editor

classified ads

 A archives
crafts
dance
drama
festivals
film & tv
literature
music
supper theatre
visual arts
miscellaneous

letters

home page


a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart