Before I get into the wines, I thought it best to clear up something on scoring. While I think scoring wine is problematic, I have found it is not without its uses. I have started using the kak an lekker scale. This is quite obviously silly. But it feels sad-clown silly, rather than monty-python silly. Now I think about it, a sad clown trying to get through a massive blind tasting shouting “kak” and “lekker kak” could be an amusing skit. The point is, calling wines kak and lekker, and fokken kak has already got old. It’s juvenile, and I’m not grinning even a little.
If too much emphasis is placed on scores, then we have a problem. If words give a little context and the scores are the main idea then we have a bigger problem. But if scores can give some context to words, then I think we have something useful. If, for example, I am being persnickety with a wine – like I did with the Iona Chardonnay – I can give it 17 and those reading will know I am nitpicking rather than panning. So from now on I am going to use the 20 point scale to give a little context to reviews. Please remember they are here only to give context to my comments – THEY ARE NOT TOTAL ABSOLUTES. I AM NOT A MACHINE. The comments are way more important. And that’s using ‘important’ in its most relative sense. Argh. All those words about scoring. I need a drink.
Nitida is a Durbanville property that’s always held a Sauvignon Blanc place in my head. I had the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc on a wine list at a restaurant I used to manage. When I think of Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc I think of nettles, grassy fields, perfect zippy wines for outside at a picnic. It’s where green works on Sauvignon Blanc. It’s where we can tell Frenchmen who don’t like a little Pyrazine with their oysters to go stuff themselves.
This is pretty much straight out the box. Too new in fact for proper enjoyment. While this didn’t stop us from finishing the bottle, it’s completely obvious that this wine needs another year for it to come together for real drinking.
On the nose there was typical grassy, green-pepper notes. But not so much that you want to sneeze. There was a dusty quality as well. It’s hard to explain. But I find this rather typical of the area. Like opening a can of asparagus on a dirt road as a bakkie screams past. Also pea pods, and some citrus. Very pleasing.
The palate is where the fun happens – “that’s what she said” said no one in particular- as this Sauvignon I reckon has, like the previous vintages, a little splash of Semillon. It goes a long way here, giving the wine a fuller, waxier mouthfeel than most Sauvignon Blancs. The pea greens and grassiness follow through to the palate. Good fresh aciditiy that wont have you calling for antacids. The finish is worthwhile. Look. It’s a brand new Sauvignon Blanc. It’s hard to get that excited but it is a very good example. 16.5/20
Sorry no tech stuff yet. Will update as soon as I receive it.
To use the parlance of the internet age, BOOM! This is a rather large, forceful but beguiling blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon. The wine has taken on a golden hue due to the barrel fermentation of the Semillon. It has all the green peas, green pepper of the sauvignon Blanc, but with added layers of citrus, ginger, spice, and lime.
The texture is rich. It’s a very round and full wine. The ginger/lime combo follows through to the palate. The finish is persistant. Thankfully the acidity is fresh and present enough to carry all the waxiness and weight. The wine is already quite complex, even if the flavours are a little separate now. They’ll come together in time promising far more enjoyment in a few years. This is on the more muscular Sauvignon/Semillon blends out there. But it is no doubt also one of the best. 18/20
- OAK: 40% Sem 12 wks new Fr oak. Blended then 8 mnths 7th fill Fr oak.
- ALCOHOL: 12.09%
- SUGAR: 2.61 g/l
- ACID: 5.87 g/l
- PH: 3.33
- Price: R115
Red wines from Durbanville can be problematic. Where a green herbacious, grassiness on the whites adds character, on reds it can be a bloody nightmare. Not, “waiter there is a fly in my soup,” but more “waiter there is a goddamned family of tarantulas in my salad”.
Sod burnt rubber, South African reds have a problem with greeness. Leafy, herbal, whatever you want to call it, it seems to be more wrong than right in red wines. Sometimes it adds complexity, sometimes it is used as a marketing strategy, and sometimes it is called terroir. But for me, the majority of the time it tastes underripe. The cheaper you get per bottle the worse it gets.
Nitida’s medium bodied blend of 55% Merlot; 27% Cabernet franc; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 8% Petit verdot is already quite drinkable and thankfully didn’t taste underripe, despite some herbal notes.
It started off fresh, fruity and seemingly balanced, but it had no wow, no pizzazz. Too much of a wallflower. This made me a sad Harry.
On the palate bright red fruits followed, with a sort of milky note on the nose, a pleasant, decent and rather typical wine. The tannins were fine and the finish a little short with a touch of bitterness. To be honest I was a little disappointed at this point. And I would have scored it around 14.5 or 15.
I left the decanter half-full and came back to it the following day. While it didn’t transform into something crazy, it did develop wonderfully. There was a whole new side to this wine, a floral, violet character that complimented both the fresh bright red fruits, creaminess and herbal side of the wine. It felt more complete. The finish was longer, and the bitterness while still there felt inconsequential. It was as if while I was sleeping someone had played Eye of the Tiger and the wine had run up a bunch of stairs. Glad I missed the montage, but result was great. 16.5/20
Another win for decanting.
- OAK: 12 months, 100% French (25% new)
- ALCOHOL: 14.82%
- SUGAR: 2.0 g/l
- ACID: 5.5 g/l
- PH: 3.71
- Price: R150