South African Wine
Carsten Migliarina - a former sommelier turned winemaker with experience of vintages around the world - set up in Cape Town in 2002 and crafts delicate, digestible and crystalline wines from judiciously-sourced parcels in Stellenbosch, Wellington and the wider Western Cape. His Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc is sourced from 40 year-old bush vines and possesses white-flower and orange-peel aromatics - a broad but poised palate with a long finish follows. Carsten's exciting new single-vineyard Chardonnay is new to this list in 2023. Originating from a 'secret' site in Stellenbosch (Carsten keeps its location classified due to its rarity), the vineyard is planted with very rare 'bush vine' Chardonnay (the grape is usually trained on wines in the Cape for easier pruning and picking). Bush vine training forces the vine to reduce yield and only produce sufficient fruit and canes that the knarly trunk can support on its own. The resultant wine has layers of citrus and stone-fruit, mouth filling texture, a touch of oak body but no little tension and freshness.
Carsten's Grenache is a gentle, thoughtful expression of the grape that is exceptionally balanced and can be served chilled to great success with foods as diverse as tuna sashimi. Amaro and jasmine tea aromatics precede a sappy, forest fruit-laden palate with fine acidity and fondant tannins. A beautifully balanced Syrah completes the selection - full of dark cherry and hedgerow fruit.
Napier Vineyards, based in Wellington, look after some 90 hectares of north-facing vineyards at the foot of the Hawequa mountains that are spread across three farms on some of the oldest soils in the world.
Winemaker Leon Bester's 'Klein Louis' bottling of Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from cool-climate vineyards in Darling on the Atlantic coast. Offering tremendous value for money, it brims with greengage, elderflower and gooseberry fruit with tangy green apple acidity and characteristic grassy notes. The Napier single vineyard 'Saint Catherine' Chardonnay is golden-hued with tropical fruits and toasty oak coming to the fore on both nose and palate. Their 'Petite Marie' rosé - made from Cabernet Franc en entier - is a joyful, coral pink crowd-pleaser of a wine that is full of strawberry and cranberry character and should be served well-chilled.
The range is completed by 'Latour of the Cape', the illustrious 'Red Medallion'; a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. It features classic cigar box, cassis and leather aromatics leading to a velvet-textured palate with firm tannins - a great accompaniment to barbequed red meat or a lightly-curried South African 'baboetie'.