White Stick Sips @ Mama Africa

I choose the wines for Mama Africa so this was a bit of a different blind tasting for me. I didn’t know which wines were going to be served, but it was relatively easy to spot them once they were tasted.

Wine Score Average Score
Kleine Zalze Bush Vines Chenin 2009 14 14
Warwick ‘Professor Black’ Sauvignon 2009 14.5 14.44
Backsberg Chardonnay 2008 15 15.88
Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2007 16 15.88
Hoopenburg Pinot Noir 2008 13.5 15
Hartenberg Merlot 2006 14.5 14.44
Mooiplaas Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 14.5 15.31
Sequillo Red 2006 16.5 15.19


It’s pretty difficult to talk about the wines you have chosen for a list. I was pretty surprised at how poorly the Warwick Professor Black showed, I have been a big fan of this wine in the past. Here it was far to tropical for me showing none of the purity and slight mineral edge that I had associated with it in the past. This is a wine I am going to have to reconsider for the list, especially at the price one has to pay for it.

The Backsberg Chardonnay continues to impress, with a wonderful balance struck between the oaked part – in which the minority is new oak – and the rest that has been tank fermented. This results in an easy going Chardonnay that has weight but retains elegance and drinkability. Coming in at around 16 means this is also a great value wine.

One of my favourite wines, albeit in a difficult style for the uninitiated, the Lammershoek Roulette Blanc showed well.  It’s round, nutty oxidative palate gets me going every time. I think it came out with a fair enough score.

I have always had trouble with this wine. I think the Hoopenberg is a pretty poor Pinot Noir but many people like it for its sheer drinkability. This is strawberry juice, with maybe a touch of forest floor, but the reek of warm climate, with sweet fruit abounding means that the hoi poloi will slurp it down very easily. I think I may have to take this off the list, but as you can see the average score is quite good. As I said, this has always been my problem with this wine.

I was a little surprised that the Hartenberg Merlot showed as it did. I would have expected a little more from it. I have always like its vegetative character, but on the evening I found it a little flabby with a shortish finish. Merlot is a tough category at the moment, but even so this score doesn’t suggest good value at all.

One of a few wines on the list with a decent amount of time in the bottle is the Mooiplaas Cabernet Sauvignon which is drinking well at the moment but is probably on its way out. I loved the tertiary flavours offered in the form of tobacco, lead pencil, and a taught mineral undertone. There is a bit of raisinyness creeping in that wasn’t all to my taste, but overall a good wine at a pretty decent price.

I would have liked the Sequillo to have scored better. I am not sure if I scored higher because I guessed the wine or not, either way I really do think this is an excellent wine.  It is dark and contemplative with a rustic edge which is sometimes refreshing after all the clean but uninteresting reds we find all over the place. It needs decanting and will open up to offer a rich, spicy array of flavours that suit our game meats very well.

For the rest of the ratings and reports check out


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