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Wines of the year (5) South African stars

By January 9, 2017May 2nd, 2018General, Raats

I’m continuing the theme of wines of the year. This year I tasted a lot of very good South African wines, both on my three visits and also in London. These are the ones I liked the most, out of a very strong selection. These are seriously good wines.

Ken Forrester Dirty Little Secret Chenin Blanc ‘One’ 2015 Piekeneerskloof, South Africa

Lovely ripe, supple, aromatic Chenin showing tangerines, herbs, lemons and fine spices, as well as some intriguing white flower notes. There are flavours of white peaches and ripe apples, and this wine, with just 12.5% alcohol, shows lovely detail and finesse. There is concentration here, but also detail. There are also floral aromatics that you wouldn’t normally associate with Chenin, which may come from the brief skin and stem contact before pressing. It’s a really lovely wine. 94/100 

Raats Eden High Density Cabernet Franc 2014 Stellenbosch, South Africa

Destined to become a unicorn wine, just 300 bottles of this amazing Cabernet Franc are produced, from 300 vines at the back of one of their Chenin vineyards. Very elegant and supple with ripe, sweet black fruits and lovely savoury detail: graphite, soft chalk and slate. Amazing finesse and tannic structure, this is pure and detailed, and it’s quite remarkable. 95/100

Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2014 Elgin, South Africa

Since 2012 Martin Prieur of Domaine Jacques Prieur has consulted here. The focus has been on purity of fruit and acidity, and in 2014 I think they’ve cracked it. So fine and fresh with lovely silky tannins. Fine, textural cherry fruit with plums and nice spiciness. Linear and expressive. 95/100

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