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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES (article first published : 2003-10-22)

Welmoed is a name that has for many years meant good wines at reasonable prices. The Welmoed cellar, on the Cape Town side of Stellenbosch, was established more than 60 years ago as a farmers’ co-operative, with local farmers supplying the grapes. Nowadays it is owned by the big Stellenbosch Vineyards group, and the tradition of good value has been maintained. The wines are still produced at Stellenbosch, and recently their packaging has been restyled in accordance with modern ideas. At the same time the wines themselves have been upgraded.

Two new Welmoed releases give ample evidence of quality at moderate prices. The Welmoed Sauvignon Blanc, 2003 vintage, is a particularly good example of this popular dry white cultivar. The wine is a pale greenish yellow colour, and it has the intense asparagus and fig aromas and flavours typical of sauvignon blanc. It has a long and persistent aftertaste. At 13,24 percent alcohol, it is full-bodied and has zest and freshness but is not too aggressive. A lovely, well-balanced wine that retails at about R32 a bottle.

Welmoed Shiraz 2002 is a richly flavoured red that goes well with a wide variety of dishes or just by itself. The grapes were selected from low-bearing vineyards and the wine was matured for 12 months in small French oak barrels. The wine is a deep red colour and it has complex aromas of violets, black pepper and berries, with liquorice and black cherry flavours.

It is a big wine, 14 percent alcohol, but it has no harshness and indeed has a soft mellow finish.

The winemaker, Chris Kelly (who comes from New Zealand), says the shiraz is ready to drink now or can be left to mature for a further five years.

Red wines are expensive these days. This one is good value at about R39 a bottle. – Michael Green




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