Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: Tasting some summer from South Africa

BY JIM BEAUREGARD July 09. 2013 2:59PM

Mulderbosch Vineyards is located in the Stellenbosch Hills area outside Stellenbosch, South Africa. Environmental responsibility is always on their minds and they attempt to give back to the land everything they take from it. Like Peter Oldak at our own Jewell Towne vineyard, it was a physician, Larry Jacobs, who bought Mulderbosch in 1989. It has passed through several hands since then, and is now owned by a California investment group, Terroir Capital.

Mulderbosch Rosé is a wine that I have reviewed on several occasions in this column, always positively. This time, we'll take a more detailed look at some of its other wines:

2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc, $12, 13.5% abv.The Chenin Blanc grape has a long and distinguished history in France, and is planted now throughout the world. Its classic flavors are varied, ranging from honey to mineral flavors, and from dry to sweet on the palate. Mulderbosch says its Chenin Blanc it was harvested in the early morning to keep the grapes cool, crushed and lightly pressed, 80% tank fermented, 20% aged in oak barrels (new Hungarian and French oak) for five months, then lightly fined (for clarity), filtered and bottled.

Light lemon in color, there are minerals on the nose, almost a whiff of gunflint. Smooth on the palate, medium acidity, good balance of components, well-integrated alcohol, medium-plus body. The palate again shows the mineral flavors classic to the varietal, along with some tropical fruit, some buttery hints. Long finish. Mulderbosch recommends these pairings: shellfish, grilled tuna, grilled sardines (you can have mine), lemon and herb roasted chicken (more my style), and vegetable stews. 86 points.

2011 Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc, $12, 13.5% abv.Also a French grape, grown in Sancerre, Entre-Deux-Mers (Bordeaux), Graves, Barsac. It's a part of Sauternes. Mulderbosch gave this one extended lees contact. No wood aging. Clear and bright in the glass, light lemon in color, leaning toward clear. Grapey on the nose to begin with, the gooseberries start to emerge as it opens up. Dry, tart, with good acidity, light tannin, medium-plus body. Strong flavors of gooseberry, peach notes, stone fruit, pear. Good balance, a little kick at the end. The vineyard recommend summer salads, char-grilled artichokes, oysters, grilled fish and shellfish, calamari. It's versatile. 86 points.

2012 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, $12, 12.5% abv. Cabernet Sauvignon is usually thought of as that dark purple grape and wine rich in blackcurrant, bell pepper, eucalyptus, cedar and tobacco (some of these latter flavors from the new world expressions). But, when you pull the wine off the grapes after a short stay, you get a rosé, one that has been available here in the U.S. for some time now. The vineyards were managed with rosé production in mind, with early picking dates to ensure a higher level of acidity and cool fermented. No wood aging here either.

The 2011 Mulderbosch is salmon-colored, very bright in the glass with red fruit and some hints of black fruit on the nose. Dry on the palate, with medium acidity, light tannin – you get it right on your front teeth – medium alcohol, medium body, balanced alcohol, and medium-plus flavor intensity, redcurrant, strawberry, blackberry hints, a hint of petillance (sparkle), and a long pleasing finish. Pairings: summer salad, vegetable spring rolls, sushi. also pairs well with ham, and with lobster risotto. 88 points.

Contact local wine and beer writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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