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April 24, 2014

". . . this vintage was one of South Africa's finest of the past 20 years, especially for red wines. I had several opportunities to taste 2009 bottlings next to their siblings from vintage 2008 or 2010, and the 2009s impressed with their aromatic complexity, density and depth of material and ripe tannins." - Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

Since most of you consult your vintage chart regularly with regard to wines from the Cape, you're already aware of the 2009 vintage in South Africa . Actually, if you did, you'd be in the minority of all of the wine drinkers we know. We've been working with South African wines for nearly two decades, and the progress in market penetration has been slow. Despite putting up strong efforts in the past decade, their wines haven't really captured the attention of the American market. A great review will come out every now and then, but it's never enough to sustain the average consumer's attention.

A number of Cape wines are still fairly parochial from a stylistic standpoint. However, there are some labels like Glen Carlou, Ernie Els, Rust en Vrede, and Neil Ellis that have established good reputations in the U.S. market by styling their wines to reach a broader (perhaps more international) market. Sure, they flash a little terroir, but never in an extreme sense. The main component in this wine is fruit (dark red and black fruits) mixed with notes of mocha and minerals. The tannins, acid, and fruit all balance out beautifully, which should "play well in Peoria".

There's also an international language that everyone understands, and that is the HOT DEAL. The term half price can break down a lot of barriers, especially when the wine has received some recognition (like 90 points from International Wine Cellar). In the end, it's really about a sensational buy on a go-to Shiraz (Syrah) with some bottle age (since harvest time is around now in the Southern Hemisphere, this wine's about 5-years-old ). Quantities limited. Good hunting.

score: IWC 90
WA 89
WS 89

add to cart $9.99   add a case $119.88

Stephen Tanzer writes in International Wine Cellar: "Good full, medium ruby. Wild aromas of plum, currant, mocha, game and nutty oak. Silky on entry, then concentrated, lush and dense without coming across as heavy, thanks to well-integrated acidity. Finishes with a firm spine of tannins and the structure to reward aging.  Offers very good dark fruit intensity if not the ineffable white pepper high notes of the 2008 release. (A second bottle was more reduced and lo... read more

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