Cape Moby is a line of South African wines from the cool-climate region of Walker Bay on the Atlantic Coast. The region's wines profit from a deeper character due to the oceanic climate: reds remain intense and structure-orientated rather than offensively fruity, wines remain crisp and dry without high fruit extract.
This red cuvee is made up of four varietals: the very Bordeaux Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon coupled with the typical varietals found in South Africa: Shiraz and Pinotage.
Deep ruby red in the glass, the nose impresses with blackcurrant and black cherry. This is off-set with excellent licorice and tobacco notes encompassing the strong and yet not prominent wood in the background. On the palate, the black fruit is very reserved and here you are presented with plum and pomegranate. Also in the body are the notes of licorice, tobacco and cedar wood. The tannins, wood and acidity are all wonderfully mild making this wine already very pleasurable to drink.
Cape Moby is widely available on the German market, For information about finding this wine where you live, contact me and I'll gladly assist you.
One of the most prestigious producers of rosé wine in the world, Domaines Ott’s Clos Mireille estate is situated right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Côte d’Azur. This unique location gives the wines a completely different feel than the often sweet, fruity rosé wines from this part of the world – thanks to the cool winds and sea spray, the wines can sometimes feel rather cool – more cold climate minerals than Southern fruit. The clay soils of the Clos Mireille estate are essential in the final composure of the wine – slate-like compounds are key to the wine’s structure. This wine is a cuvee of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pale pink with orange touches – the same colour as the new iPhone.
The first things to come through are citrus peels: grapefruit, lemon and Clementine but lemon juice is allowed to emerge – only in the most discreet way however. Wild Raspberry, a hint of strawberry and even cranberry is in there but blink and you’ll miss it. The Mineral compounds: white pepper and salt pick up where the berries stop – the wine reminds immediately of wet rocky outcrops.
The citrus takes the main stage again here: lemon peel, then juice, then pink grapefruit although only the sweeter notes with the bitterness hidden behind a splash of wild strawberry and raspberry. The full fruit notes are never really fully exposed but move on to sage, mint and some floral pulses and then white pepper and then the wine is almost completely finished – discretion and fine tuning seldom seen in rosé.
Rosé is commonly labelled as wine for people who don’t usually drink wine and yet, when you drink wines like this, you realise just how good it can be and why some rosé deserves to appear in fine wine journals. This is some of the most expertly created rosé I’ve ever tried – the attention to detail in displaying the terroir is phenomenal and the cliché notes of overpowering red berries are not missed – this really portrays how good rosé can be.
Cortona DOC is one of Tuscany’s lesser known production regions. Although many of the region’s largest and most-famous producers do produce wines made here, it doesn’t celebrate the same international appeal as Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Bolgheri, Maremma or the like.
Whereas a whole host of varietals are permitted here, notably also imported varietals from France, a great deal of the wines are single varietal. Syrah is a popular choice here and, alongside the typical Cuvee wines made using a variety of grapes, a number of winemakers release a 100% Syrah wine.
One such producer of Cortona DOC Syrah is Marchese Antinori – one of the largest names in both Tuscan and Italian wine. Its Montalcino-based subsidiary: La Braccesca, famed for its Montalcino wines, makes this Syrah produced from grapes grown in the Arezzo region closeby, near to the Tuscan/Umbrian border.
Ruby red with a purple, clear hue.
On the nose is a great deal of black forest fruit but also a decent helping of fresh raspberry. Coupled with a hint of vanilla, thanks to the oak handling, this makes you think of raspberry-ripple ice cream. There is a background oak note but it is both very decent and purely a background thing.
The attack is one of Cassis but this quickly moves on to blackcurrant, red plums and the raspberry promised in the nose. It is all very harmonious with a light acidity that eventually turns into mild tannins, a sprinkling of vanilla, a hit of oak and then fine chocolate and espresso.
A pleasant and very simple, smooth wine. It offers a different side to Syrah and, whilst it is a powerhouse on the body, the finish is nice and calm leaving the wine remarkably easy to drink: smooth, long and yet clean on the palate.
Germany is home to all manner of varietals and yet most of them are somehow, well, Germanic – from Riesling, through to Dornfelder, on to Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Silvaner, there is little room for something new.
Over the years however, a handful of wineries have experimented with imported varietals: we’ve seen Nebbiolo in Baden, Chardonnay in the Pfalz and Sauvignon Blanc in Rheinhessen – we’ve even seen a fair amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but one varietal sticks out: Syrah.
It doesn’t just stick out because it is commonly linked with the Southernmost of production regions where the sun is at its strongest, it actually sticks out in Germany because it is probably the only recently-imported red wine varietal that actually produces decent wine: trials with Merlot and Cabernet have proven successful but rarely create wines with characteristics associated with those grapes: often ‘colour-lenders’ are thrown in to add some red to the glass: Dornfelder, Cabernet Mitos, Cabernet Dorsa and what you’re left with is a messy mixture, lots of colour and fruit that overwhelms.
Syrah is rare in Germany and only a handful of wineries are working with the stuff – Knipser and Ziereisen are probably credited with producing the best wines (check out my review of the Ziereisen Gestad Syrah 2007 here) and yet Markus Schneider has been using Syrah for rather a long time. Whereas the simply-labelled ‘Syrah’ wine wasn’t much to write home about, a new wine has entered the marketplace: ‘Holy Moly’.
Black-cherry red with a pink-clear hue.
A lot in the way of red fruit to start with: black cherry, blackcurrant, blackberries and even cranberries. This eventually lead on to vanilla, oak, espresso and dark chocolate – very promising.
As is often the case with Syrah, the promised fruit was there but in a much more reserved form on the attack – the berries were sharp and yet milder than in the nose – all of them reappeared apart from maybe the cranberry. The body was smooth and reminded of well-made forest fruit jam and eventually showed those promised espresso notes. The wine finally finished with a rounded, warming sense of wood and lots of alcohol.
There is a certain cliché when talking about German Syrah – it “tastes like it doesn’t come from Germany” and yet, with this wine, it is exactly the case – yeah, after a while that earthy taste does come through suggesting it might not come from Barossa or Stellenbosch but, thanks to composition of fruit and the balanced minerals, this wine could come from the Rhône Valley – perhaps not a delicate Hermitage but a big, fruity Vin de Pays (perhaps the reason it is called Shiraz and not Syrah).
Aside from comparisons, the wine is well made, fulfilling and, if not a little expensive (30€), a must-try for both fans of progressive German winemaking and the varietal in itself.
For more on German Syrah, click here.
For more on Markus Schneider, click here.
Western Cape, South Africa - 9.99€ - Syrah Varietal
Näkel are one of Germany’s best-known producers of red wine and their signature Pinot Noirs of the Ahr Valley are widely regarded as being some of the best reds to come out of the country altogether. With many German vintners experimenting with the production of wine in the new world, this Shiraz originates from South Africa’s Western Cape - a popular destination for such ventures.
New world Shiraz is something that has to be done well in my opinion. These vast wineries of Australia and South Africa rarely create wines with defining characteristics and, often, the only thing you can say after taking a sip is: “Oh yeah, tastes like…..well…..red wine”.
Some makers have ditched this style of winemaking altogether and with the incredible demise in sales of Australian wine abroad, hopefully the mainstream Australian and winemakers will focus a little more attention on character and quality rather than amount and little dangling kangaroo magnets hanging from the bottles. The South Africans have already started with this: ditching elephants for decent Pinotage and chopping away those under-performing bunches rather than squeezing another bottle out of them.
Deep purple-red with a bright pink hue.
Strangely this wine smelt a bit more like Cabernet Sauvignon than Shiraz. Cassis and sour red cherries were certainly prominent and a delicious undertone of vanilla, oak and tobacco were also fairly easy to pick out.
The first thing that hits the tongue are the intensely sweet berries. They remind one instantly of Tuscan Sangiovese and have a rich chocolate-sweet feel to them. The oak comes through in a unique way – through an excellently crafted tannin structure that is reminiscent of Médoc Grand Cru – superb winemaking from very ripe fruit, a rare treat from the affordable new-world wineries. This, combined with the intensely ripe berries worked well although, for me, the finish was a little too long and the sweet red fruit camped out on the tongue a little longer than the oaky vanilla – my only criticism of the wine but probably personal taste.
A great wine if you’re looking for premium new-world enjoyment. The tannin structure is superb and gives the wine a real sense of class and so, in fact, do the red berries that shape the whole feeling. As above mentioned, the finish is slightly too long and sweet but I’m sure that this is a personal moan rather than a fundamental flaw with the wine.
-Sud de France
-Pinot Blanc (Weißburgunder)
-Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder)
-Pinot Meunier (Schwarzriesling)
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-Medium / off-dry
-Brut Zero/ Brut Nature
-Medium / off-dry