“It was a tasting conceived of more than a year ago and which took over six months of intricate planning to execute without any hitches. The Museum Wines Benchmark South African Tasting at the South African High Commission 2023 was certainly a memorable event, one which the producers who attended in person, the trade, press, and private clients, won’t forget in a hurry. To celebrate the exceptional lineup of 50+ wines presented on the day, I have selected five of the most popular wines poured by attending producers. They may be my notes and scores for the below wines, but rest assured, these were among the most popular wines on the night, resonating continuously through the evening with the attending guests. As they always say, “the customer is always right…” so who are we to argue with our client’s preferences. So if you missed the tasting or are looking to top up on some tried and tested premium South African wines for summer drinking, look no further!” – Greg Sherwood MW.
Naudé Langpad 2022
95 Points – Greg Sherwood MW | 17 Points – Jancis Robinson MW | 5 Stars – Platter’s
“I remember tasting this wine after fermentation in March 2022 and thinking that this wine was, yet again, something very special. Despite being an exceptional and intuitive winemaker, Ian Naude has continued to learn, building his old vine Colombard knowledge vintage to vintage, and in this exceptional third vintage, he has captured something very close to the true essence of this barren old vine Koekenaap West Coast vineyard that I finally visited in October 2022. For a young Colombard vintage, the 2022 seems more serious, more mineral, and stonier, with less of the crème soda and green rock candy notes that initially tend to dominate the aromatics before blowing off to reveal the true coastal maritime salinity. There is a pronounced wet grey slate and petrichor note over hints of peach stone, lime blossom, rock salt, and crunchy green pear. The palate is every bit as pleasing when I tasted the freshly fermented wine out of tank, with a rich, dense, glycerol mouthfeel packed full of salty white peaches, green apple, sour pear drops, and a wet river pebble minerality. The lees ageing in tank has added a fabulous extra textural dimension and depth that plays synergistically to this grape variety’s true characteristics. Simply delicious. Drink this on release and over the next 10 to 12+ years. “- Greg Sherwood MW.
Brookdale Bradbourne White 2022
95 Points – Greg Sherwood MW
“Made up of a blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Piquepoul Blanc, and Marsanne, this stylishly crafted new classical white from the Brookdale Estate in Paarl is wonderfully perfumed and expressive with exotic notes of honeysuckle, white blossom, peach stone, waxy apple peel, crushed grey slate, and granitic mineral undertones. The palate boasts a broad fleshy texture with succulent soft yellow pineapple pastille, hints of marzipan, pear purée, peach bellini, and yet more liquid mineral nuances. Very Rhone-like in appearance but also beautifully pithy and complex, showing off the very finest characteristics of Roussanne and Marsanne without compromising freshness. This is another very classy white addition to the Brookdale Estate portfolio that’s sure to be a big gastronomic food matching hit. Drink now and over the next 5 to 8+ years.”- Greg Sherwood MW.
The Mira Chardonnay 2020
94+ Points – Greg Sherwood MW
“The 2020 Mira Chardonnay is an attractive, lightly oaked expression with a more citrus-driven fruit profile offering complex aromatics that combine hints of fresh lemon zest and lime peel aromas on the nose with scented white citrus blossom, subtle marzipan, and shavings of orange zest, all underpinned by a classic Helderberg granitic dusty minerality. Wonderfully elegant and light touch in style with layers of zesty lime confit, some green honeydew melon, salted pistachios, and an enticing maritime seashell salinity that flows from the nose to the palate. A thoroughly enticing and seductive cool climate Chardonnay with a classically fine-boned structure that is accompanied by an invigoratingly refreshing tangy acidity and a long, subtle creamy texture. The finish is long, incredibly precise, and impeccably balanced. Simply delicious. Drink now and over the next 2 to 3+ years.”- Greg Sherwood MW.
Holden Manz Big G 2018
94 Points – Greg Sherwood MW | 90 Points – Tim Atkin MW
“A bold and opulent expression, this expressive red is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot where the individual varieties were handpicked and sorted, allowing only the healthiest berries to be used for this wine. With specially selected blocks in the vineyards allocated to be used in making the Big G, all grapes were fermented naturally using wild indigenous yeast, with a 10% portion barrel fermented in new oak barrels. Always one of Holden Manz’s most popular wines, this delicious 2018 continues the trend with lashings of ripe blackberry fruits, mulberry, black plum, crème de cassis, and sun-raisined black cherries dominating the fruit-forward aromatics before developing hints of dried herbs, vanilla pod, and cedar wood spice nuances. This is a substantial blend but also a wine that shows a soft, approachable tenderness, sweet integrated tannins, and a long, fruit-laden black and blueberry fruited finish with subtle hints of chocolate praline and mocha spice on the long, lingering finish. It’s easy to see why this is perennially one of Holden Manz’s most popular wines in their extensive range. Drink on release and over the next 5 to 8 years.”- Greg Sherwood MW.
MR De Compostella 2020
98 Points – Greg Sherwood MW | 97 Points – Neal Martin
“Never made with exactly the same blend in any two vintages, the 2020 is a classic Cape Bordeaux assemblage of 30% Cabernet Franc, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 16% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot with a total production of only 1,000 x 6. The wine displays a real intensity in the glass with a ruby red rim and a red/black plum heart. The aromatics are vibrant and fabulously perfumed, bursting from the glass with expressive notes of red and black berry fruits, black currant, raspberry, red and black cherry before notes of earthy blueberry emerge with suggestions of pressed violets, lavender, sweet sandalwood, star anise, and graphite spice. On the palate, the vintage’s regal elegance emerges with exhilarating acids framing the plush opulent red and back berry fruits, saline cassis, tart red cherry, and a blueberry confectionary generosity. Tasting the wine with Bruwer Raats, inevitable comparisons were made to the iconic 2017 MR, with both wines sharing a beautifully bright acid freshness and a weightless concentration of pure berry fruits with only the slightest suggestion of vanilla oak spice. This really is a wine with a mixed palette of colours, flavours, and fruits and the most seamlessly elegant, finessed, velvety tannins. Following on from the 2018 blockbuster, with no 2019 MR produced, this 2020 is a bold, enchanting, characterful wine full of precision that trumpets the return of this incredible benchmark Cape classic. A breathtaking wine on so many levels. Drink from 2024 to 2045+.”- Greg Sherwood MW.