On Thursday October 9th, seven intrepid Wing-ers ventured to Plumptre to eat, drink and listen to Richard Kelley. The theme was South Africa, and 6 wines were shown, along with a two-course meal.

Richard Kelley is a well-known expert in (at least) two wine regions: the Loire and South-Africa. Always a good speaker (Corkmaster has heard him speak before – on the Loire) it turns out that the bottle (a Gaston Huet Vouvray) that turned Richard on to wine is the same grower/appellation that did the same for one of our group. It also turned out that the Corkmaster and Richard were present at the same Huet tasting (led by wine maker Noel Pinguet) in Nottingham in 1984! Small world….

Rather than recount the content of Richards interesting talk why not look at his South African wine website “The Liberator”. If you’re more interested in the Loire, have a look at his Definitive Guide to the Wines of the Loire.

As to the evening, here are my wine notes:

THE LIBERATOR “THE FRANCOPHILE” CHENIN BLANC 2012 – Stellenbosch
Slightly nutty and honeysuckle nose, with a sharp pear-ish note. Palate has warm, but very strong acidity. Partly barrel-aged from old vines; there is a long warm finish with a greengage/plum element. High acidity a little unbalanced but good – especially with food.

BEAUMONT “HOPE MARGUERITE” CHENIN BLANC 2013 – Bot River
Much more floral nose with hints of white peach. Quite complex with apple notes later. Rich palate with a softer first note underpinned by long warm acidity. Honey and honeysuckle – very good.

EAGLES’ NEST VIOGNIER 2013 – Constantia
Very fruity – peach/apricot – slightly spirit and later nutty nose. Warm palate and oily texture with a slightly soda-ish twist to the sweet fruit giving some balance, still a bit big blousy for my taste.

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THE LIBERATOR “THE FRANCOPHILE” SYRAH 2013 – Stellenbosch
Slightly herby and tarry nose with black fruit and coffee tones. Palate rather spicy with the fruit more red than black berries, and a brackish salty finish. Avowedly a take on a young Crozes-Hermitage, but a rather rustic take on that sometimes rustic appellation. Better with the food (a very creditable blade of beef), though the spicy note comes out further against the sweetness of the meat.

FABLE MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS SYRAH 2011 – Tulbagh
Warmer nose, more a plum spirit note. Palate is richer with plum fruit and plum stone impressions, grainy but controlled tannins, a supple finish with the fruit and spice balancing and little impression of saltiness. Much more elegant and if the previous wine tended to young Crozes, this tends towards mature Cornas… Good, and a lovely foil for the food.

MILES MOSSOP “KIKA” 2013 – Stellenbosch
This is a Noble Late Harvest made from 100% Chenin blanc. An immediate Botrytis / marmalade nose, with hints of cardamom, passion fruit and honey. The palate is passion fruit too, with a gingerish warmth and butterscotch flavours. The dessert (an intensely, dryingly, warm sweet treacle tart – so warmly sweet that there is a “spicy hot” impression) takes out much of the sugar in the wine and exposes the lively, refreshing chenin acidity. A good foil, which would work a little better with a slightly more (but not very) delicate pudding, IMO.

A lovely evening – thanks to Perkins and Richard Kelley.

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