South African WineLocated at the foot of the Bains Kloof Pass below the towering Hawequa mountains in the Wellington region of the Western Cape, 'Napier Vineyards' are named after Sir George Napier, who was the governor of the Cape from 1837-1843. With 90 hectares of vines, including prime parcels on red 'Tukulu' and ancient 'Vilafontes' soils, planted with diverse international grape varieties, the estate has an enviably broad palette of fruit from which to blend its wines.
Our tasting team were really impressed by the 'Sainte Catherine' Chardonnay that hails from a small single vineyard. Head wine-maker Leon Bester vinifies the wine in French oak barrels (30% new) and it is matured on its fine lees for 6 months before bottling. The finished wine has a lovely golden colour, toasty top notes and a ripe tropical fruit palate with a lovely creamy texture and an elegant, dry finish. Barbecued prawns with a chilli and mango salsa would be an ideal food accompaniment.
The estate's most-acclaimed wine is the 'Red Medallion' that is made from a 'Bordeaux' blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Each grape variety is vinified individually for 12 months before Leon assiduously builds the blend. The wine is then matured for a further year in 300 litre barrels before bottling and is then aged in bottle for a further 2 years before release. The terrific 2013 vintage is now drinking beautifully with inviting kirsch and cassis scents and a complex palate of baked earth, crushed mint and stewed black fruits over a framework of fondant tannins.
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