A ‘live’ tasting from yesterday.

OK, so not quite live, but as close as I can manage. Here is why. I saw that Jamie Who (easily my favourite SA food blog) posted a about Hedonist 2008; a Syrah, Grenache, Carignon, and Viognier blend grown and made in the Swartland. Now I’m a sucker for wines made in this area, and especially these type of blends, so when I read his post and realised I had an hour and a half to kill before a killer Chenin tasting at Carolines I thought I’d pop down to &Union and give it another go (I had a quick taste a little while ago – all I remember is that I liked it).

*Sort of live tasting begins*

hedonist So as I type this I am sitting outside &Union with a freshly opened bottle. It is definitely too warm at the moment. I know that &Union is primarily a beer spot, but their red wines are always pretty darn warm. No worries though, just chucked it in a wine bucket.

First Impressions: It has a bright dark cherry red that appears quite dense, the label says that is hasn’t been filtered, so that probably adds to the depth in colour. The nose at the moment is quite fresh with a juicy dark cherry character. The nose also has, what I can only describe as watery edge to it; it’s like I am smelling a grown up squeezy juice –  like those red and green concentrate juices not the smell of them, but the texture of their smell.  I’m also picking up a dustiness that I associate with Swartland reds.

The palate is a sour cherry bomb, fresh and bouncy. The alcohol is showing a little too much at the moment, but I am going to attribute that to the temp.

Nose is now giving a meaty edge , like cherries dipped in bacon infused water. (remember this is ‘live’ so I am just typing as I taste )

This isn’t the longest staying wine I have ever had, more of a an Mbeki than a Mugabe.

Friend who has joined me (Gentleman Rawlinson) has added it smells like “American cool-aid powder”. Which for me is a cherry sherbet aroma. Not sweet though.

OK, so optimum temperature has been reached. Getting a lovely earthiness, like beetroot on a red dusty road. The nose is developing with a bit of cheesiness, feta perhaps.

I am enthused by the majority of this wine, it’s nose is very expressive and reminds me of many other Swartland wines I have had. The rustic, savoury, dusty part especially excites me.

However the finish is slightly disappointing. It has got a little longer, but still pulls up a little short. The tannins are grainy and quite assertive, and coupled with the acidity (fresh and bright) I feel the youthfulness of the wine makes it rowdy instead of composed.

Overall this is a wine with character, but also some flaws. The complexity is short lived and as we drank this wine over an hour I found it peak and drop. For the R120 you that you can get it to take away it’s not bad at all. I think it is in the same league as the Lammershoek Roulette Rouge 2007. The Lammershoek comes across as quite polished, whereas the Hedonist offers fleeting moments of complexity without the finesse.

This wine is a bush baby who likes the sun and still wants a bow tie. Probably won’t get the tie, but has enough sparkle and fresh faced prettiness to make sure it gets invited to all the parties. I’d take it out on a date, but would not be surprised if I was left for an Italian model on a Vespa half-way through.  Which would be fine because they would crash at the first corner.

*So concludes my first ‘live’ tasting*


I have just reread this and I’m about to post it. There were some glaring errors that I have fixed, but most of the others I have left because the point was to type as I tasted. A bit all over the place, but quite fun.

For any flaws I found in the wine – I can remember thinking it wasn’t completely balanced, like a fat kid and a skinny one  on a see-saw –  I couldn’t care, this is a wine full of character and it is wines like these we need to be supporting.


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