Hammo, Darling of the Wine Spectator


SA is responsible for 4% of the world’s wine exports and seeing as though more than half is shipped as anonymous bulk, it is a miracle that three SA labels feature in the 2013 Top 100 of US magazine Wine Spectator.  Last year two, the year before one.  The big winner this year is Anthony Hamilton Russell who storms in at #19 with an elegant Chardonnay 2012 while his Ashbourne Sandstone white blend 2008 powers in at #71.

A five year old SA white?  It is described as “a rich and piercing white, with lemon zest, fleur de del, chamomile and tarragon notes showing serious cut and drive through the rapier finish. A backdrop of lemon curd fills in the aftertaste. Gorgeous and distinctive. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Sémillon. Drink now through 2017. 726 cases made.” But what the heck is fleur de del?

hammo Hammo, Darling of the Wine Spectator

Adi Badenhorst slips in at #93 with a 2009 red blend described as “densely packed, offering boysenberry, red currant paste, raspberry ganache and plum skin notes backed by accents of singed wood spice, licorice root and black tea. The roasted apple wood frame holds everything together. This should round into form soon enough. Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault. Best from 2014 through 2018. 1,000 cases made.” Once again, does the Speccie write its tasting notes in English? If so, what the heck is a roasted apple wood frame? At $42 a bottle, it is by far the most expensive SA wine on the list.

Some interesting feedback on wine sales at last weekend’s Swartland Revolution, from a retailer. “The sales were about the same as last year, but with a definite trend towards the smaller producers away from the noise makers. Last year the ring leaders outsold the rest, but this year it was the other way round.” So looking forward to the sales report for our 2009 Lemoenfontein Pinotage, one of the true secrets of the Swartland.  And much cheaper than the vuvuzelas of the noise makers.  If you want some, it is available at the Pendock Wine Gallery @ Taj.

Johann Rupert will be disappointed that none of his wines, so popular in the magazine when it featured SA earlier this year, made the Top 100. But I’m not sure whether Hammo will be totally thrilled to hear his Chardonnay described as exhibiting “a serious core of glazed pear, fig, apple, plantain and brioche notes, lined with mineral and honeysuckle hints and accented by nicely beaded acidity.” Plantain? Nicely beaded acidity? – sounds like a tourist curio sold on Greenmarket Square!