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This red shows such beautiful and ripe aromas of blackberries, orange peel, hazelnuts, and tropical fruits. It's full-bodied, with superb texture of polished tannins that are velvety. The length last for minutes. It's muscular yet elegant. It flexes it muscle yet pulls them back. What gorgeous tone to this young red. Try in 2020.
Good, deep ruby-red. Deep, brooding but lively aromas of raspberry, strawberry, violet, licorice and minerals, plus an element of chocolate mint. Bright and fresh on entry, then shows a steely, austere quality to the strawberry, raspberry, tar and iodine flavors. Distinctly less floral and forward than the 2009. Strongly mineral on the long, pure back end, with ultrasmooth tannins; in fact, I would say that Lafleur's are the finest, most polished tannins of all in 2010. This is destined to be very long-lived. Incidentally, Baptiste Guinaudeau couldn't recall if any previous vintage of Lafleur had such a high percentage cabernet franc. My early candidate for wine of the vintage, along with Latour.
Barrel Sample: 96-99 Points
Packed, with a charcoal frame and hints of alder and mesquite offering an impressive, aromatic profile, while flavors of crushed plum, warm linzer torte and blackberry preserves form the massive core. Dense, chewy and velvety, this features a riveting iron note and enticing tobacco accents that help to expand and lengthen the finish. Best from 2020 through 2040.
As for the Lafleur itself, their 2010 is another fabulous wine from this extraordinary terroir. Composed of 62% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot (identical to what I saw early on), this wine is tightly knit and built for the long haul. Neither is it as exuberant nor as opulent as the 2009 was showing at a similar stage of its life. In stylistic terms, it is more along the lines of a more modern-day 2000 . Deep ruby/purple, with sweet black raspberry and black cherry fruit as well as hints of forest floor, licorice and crushed rock, this wine has superb texture and a full-bodied mouthfeel – then the tannins kick in. This is a powerful, backward wine, and despite its elegance and precision, it needs at least a decade of cellaring. It is slightly more reserved and tannic than I remember it from barrel, but it is locked and loaded with potential. Forget it for a decade a drink it over the following 30-40 years.
An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance...
An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance, South Africa has a surprisingly long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.
South Africa’s wine regions are divided into region, then smaller districts, and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from...
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.