Wine Cellar Insiders, February Value Mixed 6-Case NV Bottle size: 750mlMixed country, Mixed region
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'The 2019 Muros Antigos Escolha is a blend of 40% Loureiro, 40% Avesso and 20% Alvarinho, unoaked and notably crisper and lighter than last year's (1.5 grams of residual sugar, 7.2 grams of total acidity) and 12% alcohol. Each of the grapes comes from the subregions most famous for them—Alvarinho from Monção e Melgaço, Loureiro from Lima and Avesso from Baião. This is where the lineup gets fruity as well as fresh. This is delicious, not merely well constructed. Yet the acidity beautifully lifts the fruit, so it always seems serious. It is long on the finish, a bit tense and chock-full of flavor. At this level in the lineup, I don't always expect brilliance, but this seems pretty fine right now. Perhaps, too, it is just more open that some of the bigger wines. Will it seem as good when the exuberant young fruit calms down? Maybe, maybe not. That said and considered, let's lean up on this given how well it shows now. If it slips a little as time goes on, so be it, but I'd bet it can age well. We'll be a bit conservative there, though, and take the drinking window in stages. Drink 2020 - 2027.' – Mark Squires, Wine Advocate, 90/100
Southern Right, Sauvignon Blanc 2020 – R 135
'Made in a way ensuring the personality of site and soil is not over-ridden by the forceful character of the variety, this wine exhibits the typical Southern Right balance of "Old World" minerality and length with hints of "New World" palate coverage and body. The 2020 is a wine that favours origin expressive individuality, minerality and palate complexity ahead of pure, pungent varietal aroma. A significant percentage of fruit from iron and clay-rich soil has added a mid-palate structural component and additional overall complexity to this wine. The Sandstone soils have contributed their typical bright, tensile character and a marked minerality.' – Winemaker
Luddite, Saboteur White Crown Cap 2019 – R 180
'Like the Luddite Chenin Blanc, the white blend has moved towards a lighter, fresher style in recent vintages. Chenin Blanc-based with support from 26% Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, this is handled oxidatively with some skin fermented components, leesy intensity, plenty of grip and flavours of quince, apple and lime. Drink 2021-2024.' – Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2020, 92/100
B Vintners, Liberté 2018 – R 300
'20% whole-bunch fermentation before maturation lasting 18 months in older French oak. An enticing nose with notes of red currant, cherry, pomegranate and musk. The palate is light-bodied and energetic – pure fruit, fresh acidity and crunchy tannins. This is precisely made, being wonderfully clean and linear.' – Winemag Prescient Top 20 Wines South Africa 2020 Report, 94/100
Joostenberg, The Family Blend Red 2018 – R 125
'In these straitened times, how nice to find a wine offering more than a little interest at the modest price of R115 a bottle. A blend of 51% Syrah, 27% Cinsault, 12% Mourvèdre, 8% Touriga Nacional, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot, The Family Blend 2018 from Joostenberg in Paarl has a nose showing a hint of tarry reduction before red and black berries plus hints of herbs and pepper while the palate is medium bodied with fresh acidity and crunchy tannins. Entirely pleasant to drink.' – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 90/100
Kottabos, Grenache Syrah 2020 – R 185
Notes on the 2019 vintage: 'The Kottabos wines from Reenen Borman, who also makes excellent wines under the family-owned Boschkloof as well as Patatsfontein labels, is billed as “a project of exploration in the Stellenbosch hills of South Africa”. Consisting of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, the 2019 red has aromatics of red and black fruit, some floral perfume, rosemary and white pepper while the palate is medium-bodied with fresh acidity and firm but fine tannins (what some people might call “stalky” but very much in the New Wave idiom). Has a nice energy about it.' – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 92/100
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AG: Antonio Galloni of Vinous.com | AM: Allen Meadows of Burghound.com | CE: Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za | DEC: Decanter | GS: Greg Sherwood MW | JS: James Suckling | JR: JancisRobinson.com | JD: Jeb Dunnuck | NM: Neal Martin of Vinous.com OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show | PG: Platter's Guide | ST: Stephen Tanzer of Vinous.com | TA: Tim Atkin MW | VIN: Vinous.com | WA: Wine Advocate | WE: Wine Enthusiast | WM: Winemag.co.za Report | WS: Wine Spectator