Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

91

NV Graham Beck, Brut, Western Cape

£13.99, 12%, Majestic

Bready, tangy and well balanced, this great value bubbly from the Cape's leading fizz producer would give a lot of basic Champagnes a run for their euros. Leesy, complex and frehsh with the Chardonnay providing acidic backbone and structure. 

 

 
 

91

2015 Diemersdal Estate Grüner Veltliner, Durbanville

£11.99, 14%, Majestic

One of those wines that you're just dying to slip into a blind tasting, this comes from cool (for the Cape) Durbanville and wouldn't be outclassed by many Austrian Grüners at the same price level. Spices, green apple and bay leaf notes are underpinned by zesty, crunchy acidity and plenty of mid-palate texture. Promising stuff. 

ChickenFishBarbecue

 

 
 

93

2015 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne, Paarl

£10, 14%, Sainsbury's

Bellingham's Roussanne is one of the few stand alone examples of the grape in South Africa, and it's getting better with every vintage, showing impressive weight, texture and finesse. This deftly-oaked, full-bodied white is rich but not unctuous, with notes of baking spices, citrus and green tea, a hint of tropical fruit sweetness and a grippy, almost tannic finish that works really well with food. 

ChickenSpicyFish

 

 
 

91

2014 The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc, Piekenierskloof

£12.49, 14%, Noel Young Wines, Cambridge, Woodwinters Wines & Whiskies

Sourced from vineyards at 750 metres (which is high for South Africa), this was made by the talented Donovan Rall from the under-rated Piekenierskloof region. Tangy, refreshing and crisp, it's tauter than some Cape Chenins with apple, pear and herbal notes and a creamy mid palate. 

PorkChickenFish

 

 
 

94

2014 Patatsfontein Steen , Montagu

£29.95, 13.5%, Edgmond Wines

This is my white wine discovery of the year in my recently published South Africa report. Sourced fromthe little-known area of Montagu, it's a brilliant Chenin Blanc (Steen) made by three friends, including the talented Reenen Boorman of Boschkloof. Formerly sold off to the local co-op, these grapes have produced something remarkable in the first vintage under their own label: saline, textured and mealy with some skin tannins, wax and spice and perfectly judged oak. One of the Cape's best Chenins. 

PastaPorkChickenAsianFishVegetables

 

 
 

90

2013 Raats Granite Blocks Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region

£8.61, 13.5%, Majestic

Bruwer Raats makes some of the best Chenin Blancs in South Africa, expressing precision and place rather than tropical fruit flavours. This Fairtrade-accredited example is very lightly oaked, with just a whiff of cinnamon and vanilla to complement the pear, citrus and stone fruit nuances. Tangy and refreshing with a stony bite. 

PorkChickenFishVegetables

 

 
 

94

2013 Richard Kershaw Wines Chardonnay, Elgin

N/A, 13.5%, N/A

Englishman Richard Kershaw has followed up his 2012 release with a wine that's every bit as good. This is a smoky, minerally,  citrus-tinged, stylishly constructed Chardonnay that whispers of its cool climate origins in Elgin. Discreet and subtle, it's a wine with texture, harmony and palate length. One of the Cape's best examples of the grape. 

ChickenFishVegetablesCheese

 

 
 

92

2013 Longaví, Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley

N/A, 12%, Bancroft Wines

A joint venture between J Bouchon of Chile and South African Sauvignon specialist, David Nieuwoudt, this is a wine that lives up t its pre-release hype. Creamy, goosberry and nettley fruit with bags of texture and tangy acidity and a long, elegantly tropical finish with a touch of sweetness. 

FishCheese

 

 
 

88

2012 Zalze Chenin Blanc Reserve, Coastal Region

£9.99, 13.5%, Sainsbury's

Kleine Zalze deserves to be more famous than it is in South Africa. It consistently turns out a very good range of commercial wines, as well as smaller quantities of top end stuff. This belongs in the latter category and it's a great example of ripe, tropically fruity Cape Chenin. Pineapple and melon notes are balanced by the refreshing acidity that's the variety's calling card and rounded out by subtle oak fermentation. 

PorkChickenAsianSpicyFishVegetables

 

 
 

93

2011 Cape Chamonix Pinotage, Franschhoek

£16, 14, Oddbins

If you'd rather drink Piat d'Or than most Pinotage, this off-beat example from the Franschhoek Valley might change your mind about this controversial South Africa grape. Gottfried Mocke's red is made in an unusual (unique for the Cape?) style that uses the ripasso technique of refrementing the wine on its skins and it's brilliant, with flavours of plum, spice and mulberry, subtle oak and just the right amount of tannin for backbone. 

BeefPastaLambBarbecue