The Richmond Wine Society met for the first time online as we tasted through a sensational range of eight South African wines, which I had supplied to everyone in precise tasting quantities (in individual bottles) that morning.
Via Zoom I hosted 30 people over 19 screens and I felt it was a great success!
There was some great banter, lots of useful feedback and a cracking range of wines that really showed South Africa at its best.
We kicked off with a fascinating comparison of Chenin Blancs. This well known grape is the most widely planted in South Africa and can produce a wide range of quality.
The Afrikan Ridge was clean, fresh and very drinkable and a bit of a bargain, while the much lauded Mullineux Granite Chenin was a revelation. At £50.00 it ranks as the most expensive South African Chenin Blanc I have tasted and it was seriously intense, balanced with oodles of ripe mineral fruit and a phenomenal length.
The Semillon Sauvignon from Gabrielskloof (a lovely estate we visited in 2017) showed some delicious evolution and weight, while the Bergsig Gewurztraminer was deliciously light and fresh yet showed all the quintessential lychee and rose petal characteristics of the grape.
Onto the reds and the Fairview Pinotage was a very well made example with good berry fruit; the Peter Max Pinot Noir was youthful but powerful and a sense of great things to emerge in the next few years.
The Mullineux Granite Syrah was another stunning wine – gorgeously balanced with the fruit, oak and tannin seamlessly joined together. A very serious red at £70.00 a bottle.
We finished off with a dessert wine legend! The Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia was enjoyed by Napoleon, Tsars of Russia, American presidents and even Queen Victoria. The 2015 vintage that we tasted was quite magical. Oozing ripe honeyed fruit, the sweetness was intense without being cloying. The finish went on forever.
This 2015 vintage is described by critics as one of the best ever made. We all agreed.
It was great to be able to meet and enjoy wine despite the impact of Tier 2 restrictions on our normal approach, and I feel we may be doing one or two more of these in the future.
All the wines are listed in the wines we have tasted page.