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VATS' Chairman's Tasting - 27th February '24

On the 27th of February it was the Chairman’s tasting. This year I tried to find the top red wines, that we scored highly in 2023, top 35 to be precise, most in the 25 and higher. In a few instances, I could only get the next vintage, as was the case for the Halftien. The tasting order is as follows, the comments of the tasters and the average scores.

 

1.     BC Wines Halftien 2022 (in 2023, we tasted the 2020, which scored 18.20, came third overall)

Colour- inky purple-red, not gradating to a clear rim. Nose- spice, mint, chocolate, red and black cherries. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, spices, mint, caramel, chocolate, black berries and cherries that linger to the finish.

Score- 16.20 (this wine is still young and is still closed, tight, will need time to develop).

2.    Landskroon Paul de Villiers Reserve Red Blend  2020 (we rated the 2019 in 2023)

Colour- inky black-red, not gradating to a clear rim. Nose- spice, red cherry and berries, liquorice, tobacco. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, black currant, tobacco, cedar, spice, red berries and cherries that linger to the finish.

Score- 16.70 (the 2019 scored 17.57 in 2023, 21st best wine of that year).

3.    Chamonix Cabernet Franc 2021 (we also scored this wine 17.57 in 2023)

Colour- inky black-red, slightly gradating to a clear rim. Nose- violets, tobacco, black fruit and cherries, spices. Palate- crisp acidity, firm but soft tannins, spice, tobacco, cedar, black cherries and berries that linger to the finish.

Score- 16.70 (down .87).

4.    Van Loveren Christiena Trousseau Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (we scored the same wine 17.83 in 2023, it came 20th)

Colour- inky black-red, not gradating to a clear rim. Nose- floral, violets, toasted bread, smoky, black fruits and cherry. Palate- crisp acidity, firm tannins, savoury, spice, bacon kips, sour red cherries, black cherry that lingers to the finish.

Score- 16.50 (quite a bit down, 1.33).

5.    Raka Pinotage 2020 (we scored this wine 17.46 in 2023)

Colour- inky black-red, not gradating to a red rim. Nose- spice, seaweed, salty, herby, banana, savoury, almost raw boerewors. Palate- crisp acidity, firm but soft tannins, salty, savoury, meaty, jammy black berry and cherries that linger to the finish.

Score- 16.90 (0.56 down on 2023).

6.    Seven Oaks 6+1 Pinotage 2019 (in 2023 this wine scored 18.00, coming 5th)

Colour- inky black-red, not gradating to a clear rim. Nose- coconut, toffee, caramel, coffee, raisin, chocolate, apple strudel. Palate- crisp acidity, soft tannins, meaty, caramel, coffee, toffee, black cherries, sweetish apple strudel on the finish.

Score- 16.63.

7.     Hartenberg Merlot 2018 (we scored this wine 17.57, with two of the above)

Colour- inky black-red, gradating to a browning rim. Nose- caramel, smoke, toffee, black cherry, Christmas cake. Palate- crisp acidity, lively black fruits, black cherry, salty, prunes, roasted coconut, toffee and caramel, with a black cherry finish.

Score- 17.00.

 

All the wines scored less than they did in the tastings last year. The 6+1, really didn’t fare well and wasn’t the luscious fruit bomb it was in 2023. All the tasters commented that in the tastings last year they were great in the context of those tastings. But, when tasted together, they were rated as top wines and scrutinised harder, thus scored less. Interesting, thanks to all who came and tasted with us.

 

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