We released 4 new wines to our Reserve Wine Club members in the February shipment and at the De Savoye Day Harvest festival on the 5th of March. Since then we have slowly released the wines to the trade and broader public. Response has been excellent and in fact, The Red Lady Merlot has sold so fast that we have already stopped selling the maiden vintage from our cellar door!
The new wines are 2 new vintage releases as well as a two completely new wines to our range: The Boet Erasmus 2008, the Syrah 2008, The Red Lady Merlot 2010 and the Casey’s Ridge Elgin Viognier 2010.
The 2007 Boet Erasmus was the first of Susan’s flagship blends made post joining us in 2006. It has done extremely well for a maiden release, by winning a gold medal and the Trophy for Best South African Red wine at the International Wine Challenge in London last year. Steve Tanzer also scored it 90 points in his US review of South African wines recently.
So following up the Boet 07 was not going to be easy! I personally think the new Boet Erasmus 2008 may even be a better wine than the 07. 2008 was a tougher vintage and Susan ended up with a smaller production of the Boet – about 2,000 9L cases vs the 3,400 cases of the 2007 vintage.
The result of lots of blending experiments is a Merlot dominant blend vs the Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend of the 2007. The blend is 48% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. It is silky smooth and shows more bright berries and red fruit, but has the same line of elegance and great balance.
The Boet 08 drinks very well now, but should improve in the bottle for many years to come! The wine spent 16-18 months in 225L French oak barrels of which 35% was first fill. All of the grapes are from the Vrede en Lust vineyards on the Simonsberg.
The Syrah 2008 (Simonsberg-Paarl) is also somewhat different to the 2007 Syrah, in that the 2007 Syrah contained a small % of Mouvedre, whereas the 2008 Syrah contains a small % of Viognier as well as grapes from our 2 Simonsberg-Paarl vineyards. Some small adjustments in style is to be expected due to vintage weather effects as well as the learning that takes place in the cellar every year.
I find it a brighter, friendlier wine at release and would like to see how we build on this style. It is really juicy and drinks very well already. As with all of Susan’s wines, it is very well balanced and elegant and should mature very well in the bottle. The wine spent 14 months in mainly 225L French oak barrels with about 15% matured in American oak barrels.
The first of the new wines is The Red Lady Merlot 2010. It is a wine made to partner with the very popular everyday drinking Jess dry Rose and Sarah Unwooded Chardonnay range. Susan decided on Merlot as cultivar as the goal was a very friendly, smooth and easy drinking wine.
The Red Lady is made to be enjoyed as a younger wine and is also great when somewhat chilled . The wine has really flown out the door at an unbelievable pace and we have had to stop sales of the wine at cellar door. The maiden vintage was a small production and we need to keep some for trade partners until the next vintage hits the shelves later this year.
Last, but for sure not least, is our new Caseys Ridge Elgin Viognier 2010. As many of you may, we have been very successful with the warmer climate Simonsberg-Paarl Viognier that Susan has made since 2007. It was rated Best White wine by the wine lover attending Wine_X in Johannesburg last year.
We planted Viognier at our Casey’s Ridge vineyard in Elgin back in 2006. In 2010 Susan decided it was ready for its own bottling, as it has such a different character. As a cool climate wine it takes longer to get ready for release, but the wait is worth while! It has a lot more spice on the nose and is a more subtle Viognier with a lower alcohol level. It is very beautifully balanced and should age well.
Production is smaller than the Simonsberg-Paarl Viognier at present, as we suffered significant wind damage in the 2010 and 2011 growing seasons. The vineyard is still young and we hope that it produces some more grapes in future, as I expect this wine to become very popular in its own right.
The 2011 Jess and Sarah wines were bottles today and we hope to release them in early May! More about them and the upcoming 2010 Marguerite & 2010 Barrique soon.