Let our trusty guide Greg Sherwood MW help with this, his 16th edition of An Informed Opinion.
Trust him to keep your wine selection relevant, nuanced, and engaging, which in these trying times, is a necessary service. Keep an eye out and see what appeals on the day, be it an investment, something eclectic, or a sure thing midweek wine – you’re bound to find something to suit your mood (and pocket). Or even discover something NEW.
An Investable Wine
These are showstopper wines worthy of their price tag, and something to invest in.
“Most fine wine collectors and aficionados will need no reminding that South Africa has the proven ability to produce some of the most tantalizing and mesmerising dessert wines in the world. Whether it’s a throwback to the golden sweet wine age of the 1800s or simply a built-in cultural sweet tooth, South African winemakers have always excelled with whichever sweet wine style they have put their minds to. The Gevonden farm near Rawsonville, at the spot where the sheer cliffs of the Du Toitskloof open into the Breedekloof, is the site of a three-century-old farmhouse just across the Moolenaars River. Right in front of this old farmhouse is a vineyard considered by many to be the oldest commercially productive parcel of vines in South Africa. In the Cape, the official record keeping of vineyard planting dates only started in 1900, so unfortunately, nothing can officially pre-date that year, although we know from word of mouth that vines were already in the ground and producing grapes on the Gevonden farm. According to the De Wet / Boonzaaier family history, the Gevonden Hanepoot vines were planted by one Jacobus Hendrik Stofberg De Wet in 1882, just after the first Anglo-Boer War from 1881-1882. As has been the case for many of these newly discovered “old vineyards,” Chris Alheit came to know about this special heritage block through the ongoing work of Old Vine Project founder Rosa Kruger, who introduced Chris to farmer Neels Boonzaaier in late 2010. After several frustrated failed attempts to create something special, the sweet wine project was abandoned until a chance meeting with Neels’s son Janus in 2017 led to Chris Alheit giving the sweet wine project another bash. In 2019, the vineyard yielded what Chris considered was a large enough quantity of healthy, fully ripe grapes to make the first and only vintage of Alheit Lost & Found. A unicorn wine indeed! Quantities extremely limited.”- Greg Sherwood MW.
98 + Points – Greg Sherwood MW
“Looking at this rich, unctuous wine in the glass is akin to gazing through an ancient piece of Jurassic fossilized amber – ripe, captivating, and most definitely warmly inviting. But this is no normal sweet wine, and one sniff of the rich, ripe, potent aromatics reveals an enchanting bouquet of freshly boiled marmalade jam, green mango preserve, barley sugar, sweet herbs, wet straw, and dried apricots. Give the dense, glycerol wine another slow swirl in a big Zalto Bordeaux bowl, and it shifts gears again to offer yet more pithy orange peel nuances and seductive notes of quince jelly, pressed grapes, and burnt caramel. Like some of South Africa’s other truly great sweet wines, the aromatics are so complex and seductive that you almost forget to sip the wine! Incredibly viscous and fleshy on the palate with a round glycerol opulence, there is no suggestion at any point that this wine is going to be overly sweet and clawing with its 450 g/l RS. In fact, the sweetness is kept smartly in check by a searing acidity that scythes through the caramel and barley sugar-laden fruit layers with samurai sword precision. The finish is gloriously mouth-coating, hedonistic, and persistent with just the most subtle sappy, pithy, bitter orange peel vermouth twang. An incredible vinous expression that represents an unbelievable journey of not only all those who have farmed this block over the decades but also of the vines themself. A fine wine that will undoubtedly endure and outlive most of us who are tasting it now. Some of the most desirable decadence available in a bottle.”- Greg Sherwood MW.
A Mid-Week Wine
A wine to elevate any random Tuesday without breaking the bank.
“The airwaves on Twitter were buzzing this week when I repeated an assertion made in the fine wine media recently that the Ribera del Duero is looking like ‘the next big thing’ when it comes to market popularity and collectability. But of course, wine cannot and should not be all about premium-priced luxury and exclusivity. Indeed the whole mantra of the mid-week wine feature is an accessible and affordable wine-drinking pleasure every day of the week! The wines of Emilio Moro are some of the most famous in the region and can sell for big money, but their Finca Resalso is also a wine that respects the ‘art of drinking’ and not just the art of collecting. Sometimes, less is more! Salut!”- Greg Sherwood MW.
90 Points – Greg Sherwood MW
“This cooler vintage in Spain has yielded some very pretty wines across the board especially in Ribera del Duero. With a soft, accessible Tempranillo styling like the Resalso, the vintage conditions were perfect, offering up a deliciously juicy wine with wonderfully expressive aromatics of violets, lilac, red currants, cranberry, strawberries and subtle hints of salty red liquorice, raspberry balsamic and a sweet exotic wood spice complexity. Ribera del Duero reds are known for their punch and power, but this beauty is fruit-driven and crystalline being made from younger vines that offer freshness, vibrancy and accessible opulence that is caressed by the circa four months oaking rather than being overwhelmed by it. Already fabulously approachable and soft textured, there is a lovely vibrancy of red berries, raspberries and strawberries underpinned by superbly elegant, supple mineral tannins and a crunchy, mouth-watering acidity. This is the archetypal mid-week drinker that will definitely put a smile on your face! Drink now and over the next 2 to 3+ years.”- Greg Sherwood MW.
An Eclectic Wine
A story wine worthy of its salt, and your cellar.
“Not your typical demure Provencal rosé, this is a profound opulent style that is made for long lunches under the cooling shade of cypress trees. Clay and limestone make up most of the ancient gravelly alluvial soil deposits, with vestiges of a huge alluvial cone from the streams descending Mont Sainte Victoire (1,010 metres) and bordered to the south by Mont Olympe and Mont Aurélien. The average age of vines used is an impressive 30 years old for the Grenache and Syrah with yields of circa 50 hl/ha achieved. If you are looking for something more substantial and more cerebral with your Rosés, this is the wine perfect for you!”– Greg Sherwood MW.
93 Points – Greg Sherwood MW
“I have slowly been working my way through the superb Rosé wines of Famille Sumeire and finally I have arrived at their flagship offering, the Cesar a Sumeire. A 50%/50% blend produced from old low-yielding Grenache and Syrah vines, this is a very serious effort that as a wonderful textural depth and opulence packed with aromatics of red berries, citrus fruits, tangerine, Seville oranges, apricot peel, fennel and subtle rose petal potpourri spice notes. On the palate there is an impressive glycerol texture and weight but all beautifully balanced showing fabulous complexity of honied peaches, strawberry and echoes of orange citrus and pomegranate. Beautifully plump and round, this 2021 expression finishes with an impressively long savoury mineral length and breadth that will be perfectly matched by a meaty white catch of the day fish dish. Summer can’t come quick enough!” – Greg Sherwood MW.