New Wave South African wine making?

Oxford Wine Club played host last week to Richard Kelley MW putting the case for innovation in  new wave South African wine making. This was an unusual tasting, featuring some wines available through The Wine Society (requiring membership but well worth it) and  some via Richard’s own company TheLiberatorwine.com.

s africa wine map

Of the 9 wines we tasted my own favourites were:

1. Botanica Pinot Noir 2013.   Made by a female wine maker, Ginny Povall, who is self taught. Light in colour, even for a Pinot Noir, well rounded and really enjoyable. Would suit game, chicken dishes also. Approx £20 a bottle  from Liberator.

2. The Liberator- Episode Five- Old Breton 2013, Cabernet Franc. Produced in Franschhoek (dark purple area on map above) Bright appearance, slightly composty on the nose, lots of layers on the palate. Actually quite reminiscent of a Loire wine, not surprising as ‘Breton’ is  vernacular for Cabernet Franc in the Loire.  Would go well with light goulash, lamb casserole etc. Approx £17 from Liberator.

3. Nuy – Red  Muscadel. This was a delicious sweet wine, made from red muscat grapes in the Worcester region, along the Breede River Valley (sage green large area on map) which if chilled right down could be a summer aperitif. My notes state ‘liquid marmalade’ but has a clean, not sticky finish in the mouth. Approx £13 for a full bottle size (not sold in halves) from The Wine Society.

Based on the tasting last week, South African wines are becoming more delicate, more sophisticated  and less rough and raw – and I think this is a promising direction.