April 18, 2009

South African pinot noir

Back after an unplanned break. Thanks for your patience. Here's a short note to ease back into things.

Recently, a variety of imports from Leucadia Wines showed up at my local discount outlet. Among them were some South African wines from Bouchard Finlayson. I did some internet research on the producer and saw some positive notes. So I grabbed one of the wines to sample for myself.

This 2007 Galpin Peak Pinot Noir from Bouchard Finlayson is interesting enough wine. With a California label, it would surely run $50 or more. I suppose that's what the importer was asking as well, but for $14 on close out, it's a decent bargain.

It has a dark color, but not excessively so. The aroma is pungent, with smoke, root vegetables and black cherries notes that are very attractive. However, in the mouth the acidity sticks out too much, as if these ripe grapes needed a boost of tartaric acid to retain freshness.

The flavors are rich and round, with soft tannin, just the profile so much "high quality" new world pinot noir shows. That prickly acid though just doesn't fit. I suppose there's some alcoholic burn here too, but that's to be expected with such large framed pinot noir.

All told, this isn't horrible wine, and for the money it's going to please a crowd. Sometimes that may be enough.


thor iverson said...

It's extremely expensive there, by local standards (for an American, it's about $15, thanks to a ridiculously devalued SA Rand). "Top pinot in South Africa," or some such. There are several bottlings of it, after a crowning by the influential Platter Guide. I can say that previous vintages have not aged well; they age like ultra-ripe CA pinot, turning into syrah grappa with age. We had an old wine, and it was nice (if not revelatory), but the newer versions are sludgy.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thanks. I'm not surprised to hear that. The wine has a pretty nice aroma, but sludgy is a good way to put it. Someone beat the life out of the wine, if there was any to begin with.