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2010 De Toren “Fusion V”, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Vintage: 2010
Type: Bordeaux Blend
Country: Stellenbosch — South Africa

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I travelled to South Africa for my first time in August 2013. I prepared a great deal for this trip through a destination management agent (Margot from “7th Sense” in Cape Town) on all details relating to airport transfers, hotels, restaurants, a rental car, safari expeditions, etc., but nothing could prepare me for the roller-coaster ride that is the South African wine industry.

My previous exposure to South African wines was limited: I had tried a couple of bottles of the famous Pinotage varietal over the years in London but that was it. I had not consumed enough South African wine to form a proper opinion. This first (and possibly last trip) to South Africa was a real eye- and palate-opener for me. South African vineyards, unlike those of the Canadian Okanagan region, are in my opinion, focusing on varietals they know work for their terroir and can therefore target oenophiles in foreign markets.

In separate posts, I will discuss my experiences at individual Franschhoek and Stellenbosch vineyards/wine estates.

Here I describe my first red South African wine, which I enjoyed in a group setting at a seafood restaurant based at the V&A Waterfront: the 2010 De Toren “Fusion V”.

Before jumping into the technical review, I would like to say a few things about this red wine. It’s a wine that is masterfully blended using five popular grapes that are grown in France, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot leading the composition. On this basis alone, I knew it had the potential to make our group of international diners very happy. Although I paired this wine with a meal made of langoustines and prawns, it would better suit dishes made from the exotic game of South Africa, such as slow-roasted Springbok shank or grilled Ostrich steak.

Technical Review

Clear, deep Ruby.

Clean and pronounced. Aroma characteristics of ripened black fruits (plums, cherries), with hints of chocolate and something from the woodlands, like pine or mint leaf. A vanilla note comes through, possibly due to the use of new, toasty oak barrels.

Dry-medium sweetness, high acidity, with smoothened tannins. Medium-bodied with long finish. Flavour characteristics are similar to its aromas.

Excellent and worthy of a high price (>£15.99 per bottle); drink now, with the potential for ageing. This Bordeaux-inspired blend will drink superbly in 10 years. Resist the urge to open it because I am sure it will be worth the wait.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Extra Ordinary Red Burgundy 2009

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Vintage: 2009
Type: Pinot Noir
Country: France – Burgundy

Hosted on Fotki

Berry’s team of experts were behind this beautiful Pinot Noir from the Bourgogne. Berry’s website describes this wine as intense, perfumed and pretty. I would agree. Save this bottle for a nicer meal at home, for example, when serving a rotisserie chicken with dressed vegetables. When I drink this wine, I can imagine myself dining al fresco on a tiled patio of a Chateau, overlooking the rolling hills covered in vineyards. It’s a lovely wine.

Technical Review

Clear, light Ruby.

Clean, with aroma characteristics of raspberry and vanilla.

High acidity, with flavour characteristics of raspberry, strawberry and cherry. Light body, light tannins but a long finish.


Brancott Vineyards Pinot Noir Terraces 2009

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Vintage: 2009
Type: Pinot Noir
Country: New Zealand – Marlborough

This is another wine that I sampled at the Tesco Wine Fair 2011 and I just had to buy a case. At first sip, I fell in love with the Burgundy-style wine. This is Brancott’s 7th iteration off this flagship T wine (its predecessor won several Silver medals at international competitions) and it does not disappoint. Enjoy this wine with a rich meal, like a creamy mushroom risotto with venison sausages. That would be excellent!

Technical Review

Clear, deep Garnet.


Clean, pronounced aromas of cherry, vanilla and spice. Some plummy notes.


Medium-high acidity. Light tannins. Medium body. Flavour characteristics of ripe cherries and hints of mocha.

Very Good.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Berry’s Own Selection Pomerol 2009

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Vintage: 2009
Type: Red Bordeaux Blend
Country: France – Bordeaux – Pomerol – Château Feytit-Clinet

Another excellent wine Berry’s. The Pomerol is full of blackberries and dark fruit with a full body and excellent finish.  Good value for money and will age well for a few more years.

Technical Review

Deep purple

Clean, pronounced notes of blackberries, black fruits a bit of plum and spice

Dry, medium acidity, high tannins, full body with lots of black fruit and a bit of oak.  Medium finish

Very good especially for the price point

N.V. Janisson Baradon & Fils Champagne Non Dosé

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Vintage: Non vintage
Type: Champagne
Country: France – Champagne

This is a good non dosage champagne. Very dry,  high acidity flavours of apple and toasty biscuit.  A perfect to start an evening.

Errazuriz Founder’s Reserve Don Maximiano 2006

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Vintage: 2006
Type: Red Bordeaux Blend
Country: Chile – Aconcagua

Lovely notes of oak on the nose with fruit and tobacco. Full flavours of cassis, and blackberry with nice integrated tannins and a sumptuous finish. Very good.

Quinta do Noval Porto Noval Black NV

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Vintage: Non-Vintage
Type: Port
Country: Portugal – Douro

Quinta do Noval Porto Noval Black 002

Ink black. meant to be served chilled, but tastes excellent at room temperature. Full flavours of blackberries and prunes. Great value for money and an excellent LBV styled port.

Some Young Punks The Squid’s Fist 2009

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Sangiovese Blend
Country: Australia

This Sangiovese-Shiraz blend from the Some Young Punks winery is quite enjoyable. The bottle is a work of pulp art, one of the winery’s trademarks.

The wine has smooth tannins with chocolate and cherries on the pallet. The finish has a nice hint of herbs, which is subtle but noticeable. Drink with a hearty fare.

<a href=””><img src=”” style=”border: 1px solid black;”></a><br><a href=”” style=”font-size:12px; font-family:Verdana; text-decoration:none;”>Hosted on Fotki</a>

Château Lers Loumede 2005

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Vintage: 2005
Type: Bordeaux Blend
Country: France – Bordeaux – Côtes de Blaye

There is a deep garnet colour in the wine and strong legs – for a Bordeaux but typical for the vintage. On the nose are strong berries with a bit of oak along with hints of almond.

The pallet is full of robust flavours of blackcurrant and strong tannins that still need some time to integrate into the wine. Quite nice and should age well for a few more years.

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Seventy Six 2008

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Vintage: 2008
Type: Cabernet-Shiraz Blend
Country: Australia

This wine has a great dark colour – inky in nature. On the nose, there are scents full of berries and a hint of plum. On the palette are flavours of fruit, vanilla and a hint of chocolate; very nice indeed. There is a long finish with well integrated tannins. This wine will cellar well and is exceptional value at this price point.