Monday, October 13, 2008

Perold in Malaysia

Wai Lun from Bottles & Bottles with Cathy

Cathy: I’ve arrived in Sydney ahead of judging in the Sydney International Wine Challenge, and am thinking back of fond memories of my brief stay in KL. Highlights for me in my final 48 hours in the city included several South African wines, one of them the premium-priced Op Die Berg perold, made from syrah by the KWV for distribution mainly in its export markets.

Cathy & John with Perold

My encounter with a 2001 vintage of this wine took place at superb dinner the Cork Brothers threw for a handful of prospective investment clients last night. One of the guests who has visited South Africa before, John Chong, brought a bottle and served it blind, blaming Chris for the ‘deception’ played on me! It was dark, with intense nose of black fruit and some spice, and a salty but supple palate. I said it was Australian shiraz given the intensity and saltiness … and then turned to Lionel and uttered ‘but it’s so like a South African’. It was such a delight to share the wine with everyone there and, you know what, it tasted just fine.

Happy Cathy, Lionel & Stephanie

A few Humble wines that we drunk

Other wines we enjoyed that evening were selected by Chris for drinking, not for investment. They included a 2002 Cuvée Carl, a 1999 Camensac from the Haut-Medoc and a 2000 La Vielle-Cure from Fronsac as well as a 2005 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinette from Schloss Lieser in the Mosel. The food and wine matches were very good, but I did find myself mulling over the liquid portion of my meal quite often. The German wine was light but pleasant, without the piercing acidity and nervosity I’ve come across from those ‘higher up’ the QmP quality (or sweetness) pyramid. All three Bordeaux wines seemed to be at their peak – perhaps they’ll hold a few years more but why keep them when they are so delicious now? – showing typical black cassis, some earthiness and forest floor, and lovely firm tannins.

Happy Cathy at The Amex Platinum Dinner

The following evening at an Amex dinner, we sipped on wines provided by Bottles & Bottles. The South African chardonnay – 2007 Excelsior from Robertson – was sedate and seductive with gentle vanilla oak tones, as opposed to being bold and oaky. The Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc – the 2nd tier wine from Palliser on New Zealand’s North Island – was also very commendable, with pure fruit nose and palate, zesty acidity and decent finish. My favourite wine of the evening was the Rustenberg John X Merriman Bordeaux-blend from Stellenbosch. A 2005 vintage, it was incredibly young and a shame really to open it now but it had the intensity and balance of a wine promising to improve with a further 10 or more years in bottle. Many of the other guests, however, reserved their highest praise for the special late harvest (a non-botrytised sweet wine) made from gewürztraminer by Van Loveren, fairly close to the farm that grew the grapes for the chardonnay. It was – as is the special late harvest style – gently sweet and light-textured, not unctuous or silky.

The evening drew to a close after an impromptu appearance on the stage by one of Amex’s guests singing solo, and very well too. We all had great fun, and I hope learnt a little bit more about South African wines. If you drink more of my country’s wines, I’ll have a reason to return again and again. Now that would be a reason to celebrate!

No comments: