Franschhoek loses Faith

Neil Pendock May 21, 2013 0

Perhaps the saddest thing (in a vale of mirthful tears) about the ongoing Franschhoek Fiasco of the non-award of the Franschhoek Wine Writer’s Prize is the admission by Franschhoek Literary Festival strongly silent director Jenny Hobbs that when it comes to judges “no payment is involved. The judges are thanked for their work with the offer of a case of South African wine.” Which goes a long way to explaining the fiasco with bananas and monkeys in the frame.

That the FLF felafel reward with SA rather than Franschhoek wines confirms just how detached from reality this event has become for ordinary producers who may want to ask the Wine Valley what they are paying for. With the future of the competition currently under discussion, a list of drinkable terroir wines from the valley may come in useful. These were the ones Anibal Coutinho and I liked last year after a mammoth blind tasting – an algorithm which seemingly and amazingly did not apply to wine writing entries this year, according to an incendiary explanatory email from one of the judges currently doing the rounds of entrants.

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A Duo of MCCs

♥♥♥ La Motte 2009 toasty nuts and baked apples
♥♥♥ Boschendal 2007 vigorous, fine bubbles, tropical and yellow stone fruit, brioche nose

A Trio of Sauvignon Blancs

♥♥♥♥ Chamonix 2010 toasty oak, rich nose floral buds, apricots on palate
♥♥♥La Motte 2012 delicate floral nose, lemon palate with some asparagus and chalk
La Couronne 2012 sweaty nose, fresh pears and passion fruit on easy-going palate

Seven Chardonnays

♥♥♥♥♥ Rickety Bridge 2011 extreme almonds, nutty (hazelnuts) with lively minerality
♥♥♥♥♥ Chamonix 2011 fresh and light, zingy acidity, minty pear drops and creamy citrus
♥♥♥♥ Môreson 2011 dusty wood, ripe apricot palate, tangy fruit with a long finish
♥♥♥ Glenwood 2011 nutty butterscotch honey cream
Grande Provence 2011 floral, pollen with spicy oak and creamy palate
Mont Rochelle 2009 bacon, sweet fruit, limes with hints of spirited oak
La Bri 2011 nutty almonds, cheesy and tangy fruit compote

A Quartet of Sémillons

♥♥♥♥♥ Landau du Val 2008 camomile tea and dried flowers, ripe and full, world class
♥♥♥♥♥ Rickety Bridge 2008 singed hair, electrical fault nose, wonderful ripe apricot palate, dense yet fresh
♥♥♥♥ Franschhoek Cellar 2011 dusty thatch and limes, toast and spice, fruit sweet and tangy
♥♥♥ Glenwood 2010 exotic geranium, herbal, minty fynbos

A duo of Viogniers

♥♥♥ 2011 La Bri creamy almonds and herbal fynbos
2011 Maison light peach blossom, easy-going

A White Blend

♥♥♥ 2011 La Vigne floral nose, light and fresh floral palate with fynbos and lemons

One Rosé

♥♥♥♥ Holden Manz 2012 Provence-style: rich strawberries, fine berries

A Duo of Pinot Noirs

♥♥♥♥♥ Chamonix 2010 spicy olives, intense candied cherries and red plums, tangy spice
♥♥♥ Haute Cabriére 2009 light cherries, savoury, powdery tannins, minty elegance

Ten Shirazes

♥♥♥♥♥ Allée Bleue 2010 complex nose, sweet fruit, ripe, fresh and tangy peach peel, spicy chocolate, silky palate
♥♥♥♥♥ Haut Espoir 2006 super concentrated, tobacco complexity, world class
♥♥♥♥♥ La Vigne 2007 resinous eucalyptus style, mint and cherries
♥♥♥♥ Lynx 2010 sweet fruit, plums, silky palate, some mint
♥♥♥♥ Haut Espoir 2007 red candied fruit, sweetly fruited, savoury, fynbos liqueur
♥♥♥♥ Maison 2009 peach peel and silky tannins, very Rhône-ish with a chalky minerality
♥♥♥ La Bri 2009 leather and grippy palate with some after-8 minty chocolate
Holden Manz 2010 dusty bacon nose, tangy wine-gum fruit
Franschhoek cellar 2010 intense black plums and licorice, very oaky
Mont Rochelle 2008 very ripe strawberries, leather

A Quartet of Merlots

♥♥♥ 2010 green and red bell peppers, olives and extra spice, grippy
Dieu donné 2009 spicy green olives, sweet and minty oak, chewy tannins
Rickety Bridge 2009 bacon, candied red and stone fruit with extra oak
Mont Rochelle 2006 finely fruited, sweet cherries

A Trio of Cabernet Sauvignons

♥♥♥♥ Haut Espoir 2005 rich, ripe plums and prunes, tobacco complexity broad palate
Grande Provence 2009 coffee mocha milk shake
Rickety Bridge 2008 minty, savoury fynbos, spicy

A Trio of Bordeaux Blends

♥♥♥♥♥ Grande Provence 2007 sweet and minty oak, chocolate, plums and currants plus bell pepper chutney
♥♥♥♥ Holden Manz 2009 sweetly fruited, tangy minerality with tobacco, chocolate and mint
♥♥♥ Chamonix 2010 tangy berry fruit, lively palate and intense

An Exotic Red Blend

Akkerdal 2010 salty mineralty, savory, sweet red berries plus spicy citrus

A Brace of Stickies

♥♥♥♥ La Vigne NLH 2011 creamy lemon curd, dried apricots and honey
♥♥♥ Holden Manz Shiraz Port 2009 baked red berries, chocolate and mint

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