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Bordeaux Blends Chairman's Tasting - 21st February '23

On the 21st of February we tasted Bordeaux Blends. The important part was that the blend had to, have three or more of the varietals that are supposed to be in these blends, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Also important for this tasting was all but, one came from Stellenbosch, the Raka. Stellenbosch is my Holy Grail land for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. My other requisite was that these wines had to be below R300 (there are 40 of them available from Makro, Norman Goodfellows and Liquor City, list available upon request) These wines were all tasted together, at the same starting temperature and allowed to develop in the glass. The tasting with my notes and that of the tasters, as well as their resultant scores are listed below.


1. Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2019 (29% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, 12% Malbec)

Colour- inky black from heart to the rim, no gradation. Nose- cedar, lead pencil shavings, Christmas cake, coffee and chocolate. Palate- crisp acids, lean and firm tannins, cassis, cedar, violet, black cherries, with a firm tannin finish, needs time.

Score- 16.69.

2. Raka Quinary 2019 (46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot)

Colour- inky black from heart to the rim, no gradation. Nose- pepper, perfumed, red as well as black cherries and berries, chocolate, cassis, cedar-cigar box. Palate- crisp acids, soft juicy black cherries and berries, jammy, perfumed, coffee, toffee, with a sweet fruit berry finish.

Score- 16.77.

3. Spier Creative Block Five 2019 (42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec)

Colour- inky purple-black from heart to the rim, no gradation. Nose- mint, eucalyptus, fynbos, savoury, cedar, chocolate. Palate- crisp acids, mint, eucalyptus, with firm grippy tannins, cedar, chocolate, coffee, pepper, with dried fruits and meaty notes on the finish.

Score- 17.077 (Tied seventh in score so far for 2023 out of 39 wines tasted so far).

4. Meerlust Red 2019 (43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot)

Colour- inky black from heart to the rim, almost no gradation to rim, with a slight red edge. Nose- tobacco, toffee, fudge, butter scotch, coffee, no noticeable fruit. Palate- crisp acids, firm tannins on entry, jammy red berry fruit, with raspberry, savoury salty components, well rounded, with a fudge and toffee finish.

Score- 16.92.

5. Nico van der Merwe Red 2018 (49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc)

Colour- inky black from heart to the rim, no gradation. Nose- toffee, fudge, cassis, cedar, salty, fynbos. Palate- crisp acids, firm tannin entry, lean, cedar, black cherry, violets, juicy fruits, cassis, with juicy berry fruit finish. Needs time to develop and grow.

Score- 17.077 (Tied seventh in score so far for 2023 out of 39 wines tasted so far).

6. Vrede en Lust Boet Erasmus Red Blend 2017 (47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc)

Colour- inky black from heart to the rim, no gradation. Nose- cedar, cigar box, cassis, red berry and cherry, black cherry. Palate- crisp acids, toffee, cedar, tobacco, black cherries, full mouth feel, juicy fruits, with softening tannins, meaty, but finishes with lovely berry fruit!

Score- 17.85 (Top score for 2023 so far out of 39 wines tasted).


Comments made from the tasters that all of the wines tasted were amazing. All noted the deep inky wines that had almost no gradation in colour to the rim. All needed time, with the exception of the juicy Raka, which can age, but is lovely now. Top wine for the tasting and so far this year was the Vrede en Lust. Tied for second were the Nico van der Merwe and the Spier, which also have tied for seventh place for 2023, as well. All the wines developed in the glass, which makes it exciting for us to see these wines in the future. Thanks to all who attended and shared so much at the tasting!



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