South Africa shines

Wines of South Africa laid on a dinner at Ransome’s Dock for sommeliers from Canada and the U.S. last week. Chef Martin Lam’s menu (Lincolnshire smoked eel and fingerling potatoes, duck breast with braised lentils and aromatic vegetables, and apple and Calvados tart) was quite nicely compatible with the wide range of first-rate wines on show. Two whites really stood out: 2007 Sequillo “White” (probably the best possible name for a blend of Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier, which ought to be a muddle, but thanks to the skill of Eben Sadie, is a triumphant, vibrant wine with a seemingly endless finish), and a 2010 Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc—no cat pee and a nice taut touch of gooseberry, amazingly balanced.      
       Among the standout reds was the first Pinotage I can recall  ever pouring a second glass of, Painted Wolf “Guillermo” 2009, made by Jeremy Borg (10 percent of it Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache), and possessed of warmth, robust flavour, and good grip, and Spice Route “Malabar” 2002, a Merlot-Syrah-Grenache blend from Charles Back that managed to be big, bold, and elegant at the same time. Vin de Constance 2005 rounded out a good evening in style, as it always does.

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