Wines from New Zealand and South Africa
New Zealand wines are dense, rich and concentrated, but they have something reminiscent of the old world to them. And, you will likely find that high-end South African Bordeaux blends are a great mix of both the old world and the new.
Wines for this lesson include: a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a Sancerre, a New Zealand Pinot Noir, a South African Steen (also called Chenin Blanc), a South African Pinotage, and a South African Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.
We had a special South African Chutney that Vicky made and brought which tasted great with everything! And of course our usual cheese, meat, pickle, cracker, bread, jalapeno-artichoke dip, salt and pepper pistachios, watermelon, and chocolate covered strawberries for snacks.
And on to the wines. We had 3 whites and 3 reds.
2010 Overstone, Sauvignon Blanc, 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillion, $10.49 (unoaked). This wine was a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: strong citrus fruit aroma (esp. grapefruit), high acid, not too dry, not too sweet, medium bodied, lots of warmth going down, fairly high alcohol at 12.5%, and it was oddly good with watermelon. We were all surprised at the pairing.
2009 Domaine Daulny, Sancerre, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, $21.49 (unoaked). As expected, this Old World Sauvignon Blanc was not nearly as fruity smelling but it did still have hints of citrus along with hints of minerality. High acid,crsip, delicate body, warming. Alcohol content is 13%.
2009 The Crossings, Pinot Noir, 100% Pinot Noir, $19.99 (9 months French oak). This New Zealand Pinot was a beautiful light ruby color, had a delicate body with hints of strawberry, cherry and cranberry. It had med-strong tannins, was fairly dry and was high acid with 13% alcohol. Some in the group thought it paired well with Gouda, others with olives, and still others with chocolate covered strawberries. In each case the pairing helped tame the tannins.
2009 Simonsig, Chenin Blanc, 100% Chenin Blanc / Steen, $13.49 (unoaked). This South African white was aromatic with notes of pear, pineapple and a hint of minerality. It was full bodied like a Chardonnay but crisp and light at the same time. It was a bit zingy on the tongue with moderately high acid and quite high alcohol – 13.5%, and it finished quickly. Paired well with the S. African chutney.
2010 Jam Jar, Shiraz, 100% Shiraz, $13.47 (30% aged 5 months in American oak). We couldn’t find the Cabernet Sauvignon so we bought a Shiraz instead. This S. African Shiraz is just as the bottle says – jammy. Very ripe fruit smells and flavors, very sweet, medium tannins, smooth bodied and quick to finish. Reminiscent of a dessert wine. For some folks it was almost too sweet but the sweetness was balanced with the acid and the tannins. We all decided this would be a great wine to make sangria or mulled wine.
2009 Robertson Winery, Pinotage, 100% Pinotage, $8.99 (3 months in oak). This S. African red is a deep plum/ruby color, has notes of blackberry, bramble, plum and an odd, but not unpleasant, hint of campfire. It seemed fairly high acid with high tannins, high alcohol (14%), and a quick finish.
This was our final wine lesson. There are a few more lessons on the DVD but they do not follow the same tasting pattern as the previous ones so we are ending our group tasting at this point. We’ve been getting together for 10 months now. Usually we meet every other week but there were a few times due to storms and house projects (paint wouldn’t dry enough to let people walk up the stairs) that we had to cancel.
This whole endeavor was conjured up for learning about wine to prepare ourselves for our trip to France. Who would’ve thought it would end up as an almost year-long marathon of tasting?