Wine Reviews

5760157600South AfricaWinemaker: Carl Schultz. This is one well-balanced Cab, aged for 19 months in 75% new and 25% second fill French oak. It's warm and spicy upfront, leading with pleasant aromas of brambly berry compote, cassis, licorice root, charred tree bark and a touch of chocolate brownie. The palate is soft and smooth on entry, with rich, concentrated black-fruit flavors, but structured tannins pick up and lend serious grip to the long, spicy finish. A wine that should continue to develop well, drink 2021–2025.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Auction93StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzHartenberg 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Auction Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)Cabernet SauvignonHartenberg
5760257601South AfricaWinemaker: Morné Vrey. A new addition to the CWG lineup, this selection shows great balance and magnificent control over ripeness and freshness. Aromas and flavors of honeydew, clementine and pineapple are balanced by ample acidity to cut through the concentration and add verve through the finish. Hints of citrus pith and lightly toasted oak add complexity through the close. Drink 2020–2025.Cape Winemakers Guild Banghoek93StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzDelaire Graff 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Banghoek Chardonnay (Stellenbosch)ChardonnayDelaire Graff
5760357602South AfricaWinemaker: Abrie Beeslaar. Always a stunner, in both regular release as well as the CWG form, Kanonkop's Paul Sauer Bordeaux-style blend is bold and concentrated, with tremendous potential for long-term aging. Made from 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, it's brimming with notes of cassis, licorice root and black-fruit preserves, all buoyed by ample acidity and a pronounced mentholated-herb lift. Bittersweet cocoa, char and chicory unfold on the back of the black fruit-skin fueled finish. Robust, full and firm, drink 2020–2026.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Paul Sauer93Simonsberg-StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzKanonkop 2014 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Paul Sauer Red (Simonsberg-Stellenbosch)Bordeaux-style Red BlendKanonkop
5760457603South AfricaWinemaker: Abrie Beeslaar. This wine is currently in it's infancy, with concentrated yet reserved and tight notes of brambly black berries, plums, spiced cherries, licorice and toasted spice on the nose sand mouth. There's some serious muscle to the firmly structured palate, with solid, gripping tannins and medium acidity that expresses the wine's overall balance in strength across the board. A pleasant salinity, almost like licking a mussel shell, presides over the long finish. Additional elegance and earthy complexity will surely develop with time. Drink 2022–2027.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG93Simonsberg-StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzKanonkop 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Pinotage (Simonsberg-Stellenbosch)PinotageKanonkop
5760557604South AfricaWinemaker: Bruce Jack. A curious blend of 83% Tinta Barocca, 8.5% Barbera and 8.5% Monastrell, this is winemaker Bruce Jack's play on considering your, and his, "comfort zone." It's rich, robust and full, brimming with ripe black berries, boysenberry preserves, Baker's chocolate, tree bark, black tea and dried iris. Despite all this richness, there's remarkable freshness and mineral lift to the palate, as well as velvety tannins to lend supporting structure. Overall, it's big and bold, but balanced and promising; delicious now, but try after 2021 to see added maturity.Cape Winemakers Guild Comfort Zone93Cape South CoastLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzThe Drift 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Comfort Zone Red (Cape South Coast)Red BlendThe Drift
5760657605South AfricaWinemaker: Kevin Grant. Under the Gavel is always a stunning CWG selection, and the 2016 continues to deliver. It's rich and ripe right from the start, with opulent scents of wood-grilled peach, honeydew and toasted brioche that entice and delight. The medium-weight palate is smooth and seductive, but ultimately balanced by a great cut of lemony acidity and a saline minerality that refreshes the finish. It's powerful, but not overly so, with all the elements in balance, meaning it should age gracefully through 2025.Cape Winemakers Guild Under The Gavel93Hemel en AardeLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzAtaraxia 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Under The Gavel Chardonnay (Hemel en Aarde)ChardonnayAtaraxia
5760757606South AfricaWinemaker: Jeremy Walker. Pressed African violets, boysenberry, black berry and cherry all flood the nose of this attractive wine, with hints of licorice and black tea for added interest. The palate is plush, big and bold in fruit intensity and structure, but all in equal measure and overall harmony. Lingering notes of Baker's chocolate, leather and earthy spice carry on through the close. Drink 2020–2024.Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Blend92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzGrangehurst 2014 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Blend Red (Stellenbosch)Bordeaux-style Red BlendGrangehurst
5760857607South AfricaWinemaker: Nicky Versfeld. The only 100% Sémillon in the CWG lineup, this is a treat. Upfront, the bouquet is rich and decadent, with toasty scents of cedar-grilled apple, peach pit and spiced orange peel as well as a touch of lemon verbena that subtly shines through. The palate is creamy and full, but countered by bright acidity and citrusy freshness that holds on alongside the oak spice on the lengthy finish. It's approachable now, but would really benefit from a few years of maturity; try after 2019.Cape Winemakers Guild Double Barrel92DarlingLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzNicky Versfeld 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Double Barrel Semillon (Darling)SémillonNicky Versfeld
5760957608South AfricaWinemaker: Andries Burger. There's a very fine balance in this attractive Pinot, offering both ripe red-cherry and forest-berry fruits that are graced with hits of bittersweet cocoa, cola spice and forest floor. It's silky and seductive, with well-integrated tannins and ample acidity to keep the palate fresh. Pleasant notes of earthy baking spice and cherry pit carry on through the close. An elegant and refined wine, this should age well through 2023.Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Selection92ElginLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzPaul Cluver 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Selection Pinot Noir (Elgin)Pinot NoirPaul Cluver
5761057609South AfricaWinemaker: Jeff Grier. This Cab Franc is remarkably pronounced in purple floral characteristics, presented in bold waves of crushed violet and iris that are grounded by raspberry, cherry and strawberry preserves. The smooth palate offers ample tannic structure to frame the lush, ripe fruit flavors, followed by loads of baking spice and cigar ash on the long, intriguing finish. Drink now–2022.Cape Winemakers Guild Drip Barrel92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzVilliera 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild Drip Barrel Cabernet Franc (Stellenbosch)Cabernet FrancVilliera
5761157610South AfricaWinemaker: Kevin Arnold. Bright, clean aromas of cinnamon-dusted yellow apple, dried orange peel and a touch of honeydew unfold on the nose of this rich yet well-balanced Chardonnay. There's a pleasant creaminess to the medium-weight mouthfeel, though it's not overly fat or flat, enlivened by ample acidity and forward, lingering notes of baked apple and peach pit on the finish. Drink 2019–2022.Cape Winemakers Guild 1988 Kept Aside92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzWaterford 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild 1988 Kept Aside Chardonnay (Stellenbosch)ChardonnayWaterford
5761257611South AfricaWinemaker: Louis Strydom. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz and 10% Cinsault, this wine is an infant right now, with closed but concentrated dark-fruit aromas and flavors of cassis, black plum, Bakers chocolate and oak spice. Black plum skin, currant and char flavors unfold on the palate, framed by firm, gripping tannins that linger through the long, dry close. Give this time for the tannins to resolve, allowing the fruit to shine a bit brighter. Drink 2021–2025.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzErnie Els 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Red (Stellenbosch)Red BlendErnie Els
5761357612Winemaker: Gordon Newton Johnson. This is such a pretty and elegant Pinot, certainly not what most would expect from a "New World" wine region. It expresses the masterful balance that South African Pinot can achieve in the New World style of ripe red-fruit character with the Old World finesse of bright acidity and an earthy, forest-floor dominance. Pressed floral tones are partnered with notes of red cherry, cola spice and sous bois throughout. Silky and smooth, it offers soft, fine tannins that somehow still manage to provide a present structure for overall balance and harmony. Drink now–2023.Cape Winemakers Guild Windansea92Lauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzNewton Johnson 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Windansea Pinot NoirPinot NoirNewton Johnson
5761457613South AfricaWinemaker: David Trafford. A blend of 67% Merlot and 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, this opens with warm, inviting scents of mulberry, blackberry and muddled dark cherry, all hit by spicy accents of fruit cake and cocoa. The medium-weight palate offers more rich, ripe fruit flavors before transitioning to notes of black fruit skin, woodspice and an earthy, graphite-like minerality that flashes vibrantly on the enduring finish. Well balanced, layered and complex, this will only continue to improve as it evolves. Drink 2020–2025.Cape Winemakers Guild Perspective92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzde Trafford 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild Perspective Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignonde Trafford
5761557614South AfricaWinemaker: Etienne le Riche. There are layers of aromas and flavors in this complex wine, starting with attractive scents of pressed purple flowers, wild strawberries, blackberries and woodspice. The palate is seriously spicy, but grounded by dense—yet not overdone—black fruit flavors. Medium acidity and structured tannins, followed by a long, evolving finish, complete the package. Harmonious, well integrated and balanced, drink 2020–2024.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Auction Reserve92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzEtienne le Riche 2014 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Auction Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)Cabernet SauvignonEtienne le Riche
5761657615South AfricaWinemaker: Danie Steytler. A blend of 45% Pinotage, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, this isn't a shy or reserved wine, though it expresses overall balance and harmony in all its elements. Intense aromas of pressed purple flowers, wild strawberry and juicy muddled cherries abound on the nose, with a cinnamon thread weaving throughout. Serious tannins frame the ripe, concentrated palate, with rich fruit flavors that are ripe without being overly so. The finish is long and evolving, carrying you from the fruit to leather and earth and finally toasted spice. Drink 2021–2027.Cape Winemakers Guild The Ultimate Vision92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzKaapzicht 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild The Ultimate Vision Red (Stellenbosch)Red BlendKaapzicht
5761757616South AfricaWinemaker: Beyers Truter. A selection from Mr. Pinotage, this is somewhat closed and shy at present, but shows a core of tight black fruit, oodles of spice, a full structure and ample acidity to suggest this is designed for some time to age. Touches of char, tree bark and leather add earthy, gamy accents to the blackberry and boysenberry fruit tones. The plush texture, with firm but well-integrated tannins, is pleasantly balanced and easy to like. It's drinkable now, but should really chill for a few years; try after 2020.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Traildust92StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzBeyerskloof 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Traildust Pinotage (Stellenbosch)PinotageBeyerskloof
5761857617South AfricaWinemakers: Adi Badenhorst & Duncan Savage. The counterpart to the Love Boat Red is this kitchen sink white blend of 28% Sauvignon Blanc, 21% Grenache Blanc, 21% Roussanne, 15% Semillon, 9% Chenin Blanc and 6% Viognier. There's a ton going on, with new layers of aroma and flavor with each sniff and sip. Ripe scents of pineapple, melon, honeycomb, honeysuckle and spiced apple dance in the bouquet and transition through to the medium-weight palate. Medium acidity keeps the ripeness in check, lending verve to the lemon curd and baked apple fueled finish. It's delicious now, but should age gracefully through 2022.Cape Winemakers Guild Love Boat White92Western CapeLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzAdi Badenhorst & Duncan Savage 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Love Boat White White (Western Cape)White BlendAdi Badenhorst & Duncan Savage
5761957618South AfricaWinemaker: Bruwer Raats. There's a lot to like in this pretty, elegant and floral wine. It starts off with notes of bright red cherry, wild strawberry and currant, followed by supporting notes of pressed carnation, freshly turned forest floor and earthy minerality. The mouthfeel is like crushed satin, boasting fine, well-integrated tannins and bright acidity for overall balance. Hints of cured meat and baking spice unfold on the close. Drink now–2021.Cape Winemakers Guild Inboet Storie91StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzB Vintners 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Inboet Storie Cinsault (Stellenbosch)CinsaultB Vintners
5762057619South AfricaWinemaker: Carl Schultz. Plush, saucy red and black berry fruit takes centerstage on the nose of this plush, ripe Shiraz. Waves of vanilla and sweet spice add depth and decadence, continuing through the palate and medium-length finish. The palate is smooth and surprisingly accessible, with medium tannins lending ample grip and structure. Well balanced and enjoyable now, drink through 2022.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Auction91StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzHartenberg 2014 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Auction Shiraz (Stellenbosch)ShirazHartenberg
5762157620South AfricaWinemaker: Johan Joubert. Notes of peach, apricot, melon and orange preserves abound on the nose and mouth of this rich, yet not overdone, wine. There's a bit of weight to the midpalate, countered by ample acidity and toasty woodspice that picks up the medium-length finish. It's certainly approachable and delicious now, but should continue to hold and develop well through 2022.Cape Winemakers Guild Granite Selection91StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzJohan Joubert 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Granite Selection Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch)Chenin BlancJohan Joubert
5762257621South AfricaWinemaker: Johan Malan. This Rhône-style blend of 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne leads with ripe aromas of yellow apple, melon rind, lime zest and hints of toast and flinty mineral. Medium in weight, the palate shows good balance between the rich fruit flavors and ample acidity to cut through the finish. A lightly toasty, peach pit accent unfolds on the close. Drink now–2021.Cape Winemakers Guild Die Kluisenaar91StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzSimonsig 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Die Kluisenaar Roussanne-Marsanne (Stellenbosch)Roussanne-MarsanneSimonsig
5762357622South AfricaWinemaker: Sebastian Beaumont. It's hard not to like this wine. Initial aromas of clean yet ripe melon, yellow apple, sweet citrus and peach tones are upfront on the nose and carry through to the satisfying palate. The sweetness is countered by great acidic lift, with a saline minerality that lingers on the long, mouthwatering finish. It's hard to resist now, but it should continue to age well through 2022, and likely even beyond.Cape Winemakers Guild Demi-Sec91Bot RiverLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzBeaumont 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Demi-Sec Chenin Blanc (Bot River)Chenin BlancBeaumont
5762457623South AfricaWinemaker: Marc Kent. A blend of Syrah from Kent's Porseleinberg's Vineyard and an old Stellenbosch vineyard, this is a gripping and young Syrah, begging for some time to mature. Initially, aromas of church incense, fruit cake, licorice and fynbos lead the bouquet, with ripe black cherry and berry fruit at the core. It's rich and robust, with aggressive tannins that lend a gripping texture to the mouthfeel and a bittersweet cocoa astringency to the finish, alongside notes of char and black olive. Drink 2021–2026.Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Reserve91Coastal RegionLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzBoekenhoutskloof 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Reserve Syrah (Coastal Region)SyrahBoekenhoutskloof
5762557624South AfricaWinemaker: Pierre Wahl. This wine is 100% barrel fermented and aged 14 months in new and second-fill French oak, but it holds it's wood well. It's rich and toasty at first, with scents of toasted brioche, apple skin, peach pit and pressed yellow flowers that carry through to the plush palate. Flavors of orange and melon rind, as well as superb acidity, help to cut through the wines richness alongside a subtle tannic texture. A wine that begs for food, this should age well through 2022.Cape Winemakers Guild CWG91TulbaghLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzRijk's 2015 Cape Winemakers Guild CWG Chenin Blanc (Tulbagh)Chenin BlancRijk's
5762657625SpainDry, schisty aromas of cherry and spice are reserved and elevated. This is a bright wine with juicy acidity and complexity. Flavors of baked berry fruits are minerally at the core, while the finish is smooth, mature and steady, with lasting purity. Drink through 2019.Mas Mallola9250CataloniaPrioratMichael Schachner@wineschachMarco Abella 2008 Mas Mallola Red (Priorat)Red BlendMarco Abella
5762757626SpainBlueberry, savory plum and lemony oak are the key aromas on this firmly structured RDD. Flavors of blackened toast, blackberry, pepper and creamy oak finish pure, strong and long, with mint, licorice and chocolaty residual notes. Drink through 2022.9290Northern SpainRibera del DueroMichael Schachner@wineschachAlion 2009 Ribera del DueroTempranilloAlion
5762857627USSophisticated and complex, this terroir-specific wine artfully blends herbal components—green tea, chamomile and mint—with tart red fruit flavors of pomegranate, raspberry, and bramble. The blend is 43% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec.Two Blondes Vineyard9255WashingtonYakima ValleyColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Andrew Will 2010 Two Blondes Vineyard Red (Yakima Valley)Bordeaux-style Red BlendAndrew Will
5762957628USThis Bordeaux-style blend showcases the intensity of the vineyard's grapes, with aromatics suggesting bright berries and iron filings. It's still a tight, compact wine, sharply acidic, and will require further bottle age to really deliver on its potential. Try after 2018.Ciel du Cheval9245WashingtonRed MountainColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Cadence 2010 Ciel du Cheval Red (Red Mountain)Bordeaux-style Red BlendCadence
5763057629South AfricaThis blend of 66% Shiraz, 16% Mourvèdre, 14% Grenache and 4% Cinsault is pure and balanced, with an immediately perceptable core of brambly berry that's accented by notes of white pepper, charred cedar, forest floor and cocoa nib. The medium-weight palate is fleshy yet firm, with spiced-fruit flavors and structured tannins. It's certainly drinkable now, but this will continue to mature and evolve nicely through 2018.9245SwartlandLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzA.A. Badenhorst Family Wines 2009 Red (Swartland)Rhône-style Red BlendA.A. Badenhorst Family Wines

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