Wine Reviews

Marvelous Wines

Nicked the pic from the Wine Detective. (text my own, obviously)

It takes some gumption to call your wines Marvelous. But Chef Peter Tempelhoff and wine maker Adam Mason have plenty of that. With Mason now making wine for Mulderbosch, and Peter Tempelhoff overseeing the five restaurants in The Collection by Liz McGrath, they somehow found the time to start a wine label. There are two premium wines – which I’ll put in a separate post – called Yardstick Wines, and then the cheaper Marvelous range named comically, KABOOM!, Ka-POW! and SHAZAAM!.

The packaging is slick, and they have got a deal with Mulderbosch’s new owners – the California based wine investment group Terroir Capital – to export the stuff to the US through Terroir Selections . Kaboom? Damn. I think I have already made that joke. It’s just too easy.

Adam and Peter make the wine in nothing more than a shed beside the towering Mulderbosch cellar. The scales of these two wineries couldn’t be father apart. Like many wine labels it started as a little side project, with Adam helping Peter produce an affordable by-the-glass Pinot for Cellars Hohenort. It grew to include the five wines we see today, and Terroir Capital taking a 50% stake in the business. Not bad for a hobby.

I think the wines offer some pretty solid value. They are hitting the I’m-trendy-but-broke section of the market hard. With the labels in all the primary colours, at least one of these wines will match your whatever-chic kitchen.  Adam has hipster glasses and Peter buys wild grasses and mushrooms for his restaurants from a mountain man. Totally on trend.

Ka-POW! – Lekker

Excuse the dirty marks. My grubby paws.
Excuse the dirty marks. My grubby paws.

Chenin/Chardonnnay/Viognier

  • W.O Western Cape
  • Alc: 13%
  • RS 3.6
  • pH 3.2
  • R65 per btl average

This white blend is all too familiar in the SA wine landscape now. Where there used to be few, you can shake a stick anywhere around Stellenbosch, Paarl, the Paardeberg or the Swartland and you’ll hit a bunch of waxy Chenin/Viognier blends. This one doesn’t blow down the doors, and also has good chunk of Chardonnay in to add some interest and freshness. It’s not changing the game, but it’s playing pretty succesfully. Tropical fruit, with pears and green apple, mingle with peachy aromatics from the viognier. There’s an element of oak that brings some spice and palate weight, before a 90% fresh finish. I say 90% because there is a little sweetness left over, that while not clingly or unpleasant, it left me with a feeling of weight, rather than deftness. I will admit that I was getting a little tired 3/4 of the way through the bottle.

KABOOM!- Fokken Lekker

Kaboom

Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot/Malbec/Cabernet Franc

  • W.O Western Cape
  • Alc: 13.5%
  • RS: 3.1
  • TA 5.3
  • pH 3.78
  • R65 per btl average

“Goodbye fusion hello fission” We’ll excuse a label writer a little exaggeration. This 5 way bordeaux blend delivers very good value. It’s my pick of the three wines.  Ripe, sweet black fruits, with fine tannins, no hint of greenness whatsoever here, whilst keeping the residual sugar down to a respectable 3,1 g/l. It’s a modern, accesible bordeaux blend, all cassis, black currant; dark black sweet fruits that have enough lift and tannic edge to give structure whilst encouraging you to take another sip.  While in a riper style it gave me much pleasure to drink. I prefer a little more austerity, more angles and shoulders in my wines, but a wine named KABOOM was never going to be austere. It provides happy drinking. I finished the bottle easily. Too easily.

SHAZAM! – Lekker

shazam

  • WO. Western Cape
  • Alc. 15%
  • RS 3.1
  • pH 3.78
  • R65 per btl average

This is a Syrah led blend (80%)  with Grenache (9%), Mouvedre (5%) and Viognier (3%) making up the rest. It’s pretty standard fare, with some meatiness, peppery spice and muted plummy fruit on the nose. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with some pepper spice following through that mixes with more overt oak spice and red fruit. The finish is nice and fresh with a hint of milkyness, and the 15% alcohol is managed well, but there was some bitterness at the end that wasn’t great. I found it to be a little dour; a grumpy wine, lacking intensity and fruit purity. It broods rather than sings. It’s a good drink, balanced and well-made, and for the price offers good value, but it just falls a little flat for me. I drank a glass, then drank the rest the next day. It does open up, so perhaps out of the three this one perhaps needs a little more time.

One of my little vinous bugbears are the inane food pairings some producers put on the back of their labels. 

Goes well with pasta

ORLY? With what sauce? Meat? Spices? Or just plain-assed pasta you lazy good for nothing copy writer.

Great with white meats, red meats, fish, or on its own

You basically have no goddamn clue how this wine pairs with anything, do you?

You get the idea. So with a chef on board I was hoping to see some decent pairing suggestions. Chef Tempelhoff delivers. Take for example the pairing advice for the Ka-POW! white blend:

Think of slices of cured salmon trout on a lightly smoked potato sals with a fennel and orange salad. Smokey dishes develop aromatic compounds which are similar to the ones found in charred oak barrels.

The first part is just wishful thinking for me, but the second part is great because it at least informs the reader as to the style of dish that will work well with the wine rather than the naming of a single ingredient  I hope other producers take note and up their game.

There are a bunch of recipes on the website too that have been designed for the wines. If I didn’t know Peter I’d think it a gimmick, but I do, so I don’t.

Find these wines at

  • Wine Concepts
  • Food Barn
  • A’Tavola
  • &Union

These wines were sent as samples for review.

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3 thoughts on “Marvelous Wines”

  1. Happy this range of wine exists, such a cool story the way it came about. Nice to see winemakers and chefs getting together to be mouthgasm donors.

    This winter its been a mission to find a decent fresh wine made from Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc etc that’s refreshing, comforting, comfortable in it’s own skin (Found 1 so far, the Raats Dolomite Cab Franc). After 100s of rands spent and litres of wine down the drain Kaboom sounds like it fits the bill and is ironically made right next door to where I live. Will give it a whirl

    1. Totally. Although I do prefer the dolomite cab franc. What got me about the Kaboom was that despite it’s ripe sweet black fruits, the alcohol is down around 13%, and the finish is fresh. Not my normal thing, but it works.

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