There was some debate about how long to age SA white wines earlier in the week (see here) and this prompted me to open some wines no longer in the first flush of youth. First Vuurberg White 2010 next to the 2011, the Chenin-led blend made by Donovan Rall from mostly Stellenbosch but some Swartland fruit.
The 2010 was definitely showing development if not completely over the hill – lemon curd, honey, some waxy character and spice. Thick-textured, almost oily, with coated acidity and a savoury finish. A bit big and burly. Score: 87/100.
The 2011 was in better nick – lemon, white peach and again a certain waxy character but not nearly as overt as the 2010. Rich but balanced thanks to zesty acidity and possessing a savoury finish. I thought the wine was in a pretty good space, any further bottle maturation depending on your individual tolerance for tertiary aromas and flavours. Score: 89/100.
About five years in the bottle to get the best out of an SA white is my rule of thumb and these two wine pretty much corroborated this. A bottle Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc 2011 from Bot River property Beaumont was a happy exception, however.
A super-complex nose showing pear, lemon, white peach, a hint of nuttiness, bee’s wax and wet wool. The palate meanwhile exhibited super balance – good fruit concentration, coated acidity and a savoury finish. Very satisfying to drink and I had a sense that the wine still had three to five years before plateauing. Score: 93/100.