Over the weekend, a blind tasting focusing on three properties and two winemakers, all related in complicated fashion. The three properties were Rust en Vrede, Saronsberg and Waterford and the two winemakers Kevin Arnold and Dewaldt Heyns, the connection being that Arnold was winemaker at Rust en Vrede until leaving to start Waterford in 1998 and Heyns was assistant winemaker and viticulturist at Rust en Vrede in the late 1990s before leaving for Avondale and later Saronsberg.
Best wine from Saronsberg on the day was the Shiraz 2010 (sold out). Very expressive as Heyns’s stuff usually is but happily not quite as powerful and weighty as was often the case in the past. Tasting blind, I rated it a solid 90/100.
Best wine from Waterford was The Jem 2004 (R850 a bottle). Great complexity – red and black fruit, spice, crushed herbs and a slight wild edge. Medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins and a persistent finish. Entirely compelling.
Best wine from Rust en Vrede was the Estate 1995. Very stylish – on the nose, red and black fruit, an attractive herbal edge but also intriguing notes of earth and boot polish. The palate, in turn, displayed layers of subtle flavour, the overall impression being savoury rather than sweet.
So much to enjoy about the Estate 1995 and what’s even more remarkable is that it was no heavyweight – alcohol by volume just 12.6%. This in stark contrast to the 2008 vintage of Rust en Vrede 1694 Classification (R1 200 a bottle). A blend of 57% Shiraz and 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, the abv on this is 15.28%. I noted ripe red and black fruit and some floral fragrance on the nose while the palate was sweet and soft textured. Sleek but a bit listless and hot on the finish.