Spain is now producing some amazing white wines and so is South Africa!
This case is a great introduction to some quality wines from Rioja and central Spain together with three whites from South Africa – an award winning Sauvignon Blanc from cool climate Elgin, a fresh Chenin Blanc from Walker Bay and a terrific blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc from the Western Capel
This case comes complete with Tasting Notes.
Dominio de Punctum Viognier 2020 (Organic & Biodynamic) VdlT Castilla [1 bottle]
Intense peach aromas give way to an exotic palate of peach and tropical fruit, coupled with zesty acidity. A refreshing and delicious Viognier with a smooth, long finish and excellent balance. From the family-run organic estate of Dominio de Punctum in central Spain, led by the 9th generation of wine growers and now Bodega owners led by Jesus and Ruth Fernandez.
You could drink it on its own with nibbles but it is a perfect partner to a wide range of foods like shellfish, chicken, pork or rabbit dishes, tagines, mild Asian dishes and vegetarian dishes with sweet root vegetables.
Barton Estate Chenin Blanc 2020 Walker Bay, S Africa [1 bottle]
An attractive crisp, full-flavoured Chenin Blanc with a fresh palate of pears, peaches and hints of cox’s apples. Dry, zingy and full of flavours with excellent length and some mineral complexity as it is made from mature vines of 40 years old +. After fermentation, the wine is left on the lees for 4 months before racking and bottling, so the wine is very much ready to drink when released. It comes from the Neil family-run Estate near Hermanus and Bot River; a cool area of the Cape producing some very good wines.
Paso A Paso Verdejo 2019 (Organic) VdlT Castilla [1 bottle]
This is a great example of the lovely indigenous Verdejo grape of Spain, with attractive tropical fruit aromas and hints of lime and herbs. This leads you into melon and stone fruit flavours with a touch of citrus; it has a good balance of fruit and acidity. Grapes for this wine were hand-harvested from 34 year old vines; producing full flavours.
Paso a Paso meaning “step by step” defines the careful attention this wine receives at every stage of development. Made by Rafael Cañizares of Bodegas Volver. This wine is great with fish and shell fish, especially crab and prawns and it makes a nice aperitif.
Lopez de Haro Blanco 2019 DOCa Rioja [1 bottle]
Classic white Rioja, with aromas of pears, apples and herbs together with a hint of honeyed oak. The flavours combine greengage, melon, pear with just a hint of vanilla and butter notes; it finishes with a light citrus uplift. A well-balanced and attractive dry, lightly rounded, yet fresh white wine.
It has had three months ageing in French oak barrels. Bodegas Classica work closely with a network of small scale vine growers, providing grapes from mature vineyards across Rioja Alta, ensuring consistently high quality of grapes; the wine is made by Octavio Madurga.
Extreme Vineyards Bonfire Hill White 2018 Western Cape, S Africa (1 bottle)
This white has lovely complex, ripe aromas of peach and citrus which are backed up by herbs and hints of oak. The flavours are also complex, with rich, more-ish stone fruit and apples mixed with a dash of citrus acidity and nicely balanced by a light oak touch. Bonfire Hill White is a great example of what excellent blends South Africa is now producing; in this case a blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. It is mouth-filling, succulent with great depth of flavour. The grapes are whole bunch pressed and a natural fermentation occurs. The wine spends around 8 months in 500 litre French oak barrels; 10% are new oak.
The grapes are harvested from the Leewenkuil Family Vineyards in Swartland and Voor Paardeberg. It is made by the highly respected winemaker Bruce Jack. The name of this wine (Bonfire Hill) is derived from a winter solstice celebration at Drift Farm, where this wine is made. They celebrate the ancient festival of St John by building a big bonfire and burning any unwanted vegetation from the previous season.
Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Elgin, S Africa [1 bottle]
(91 Points; Tim Atkin MW Special Report South Africa)
This wine has a stunning, aromatic nose with fine mineral notes coupled with gooseberry and grapefruit aromas. The palate is so well balanced and elegant, with classic Sauvignon Blanc flavours of grapefruit and light gooseberry fruit and a very long, flinty finish. It has 3% of partly oaked Semillon in the blend which provides smoothness.
Andrew and Rosy Gunn’s vineyards are located in the Highlands of Elgin to the South East of Cape Town. They are situated on a mountain plateau at 420 metres surrounded by the Kogelburg Nature Reserve where the prevailing winds off the cold Atlantic ocean, account for the layered nuances of their Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes ripen slowly here, often some 2 months later than other Cape vineyards. Winemaker Werner Muller is one of the most highly respected winemakers in South Africa and Iona wines continue to go from strength to strength.
“This very lightly wooded estate Sauvignon Blanc deserves its many plaudits, consistently delivering plenty of flavour at a fair price. Combined with 3% Semillon, it has flavours of passion fruit and white pepper, good texture and a racy, crunchy finish. 91 Points Drink 2020-23: Tim Atkin MW South Africa 2020