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South Africa Hit to Sonoma County Miss – Updated

The rains on the coast have been torrential and constant these last days.  So when friends from Florida showed up as they were passing through, they added some sunshine to this dreary day.  We opened a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa that was given to us by friends recently.  It was the perfect wine to start the evening.

Spier 1692 Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – Stellenbosch, South Africa

This wine is pale yellow with flashes of green when it hits the light.  My first sip is a bit bitter and astringent, but I followed my own advice and waited a few minutes and tried again.  Happily, it mellowed quickly and was light, refreshing and very pleasing on the palate.  I guess I had to prepare my mouth for the surprise.  As a general rule, I shy away from Sauvignon Blanc wines.  I do so because my experience has not been so pleasant.  But this wine is a Sauvignon Blanc game changer for me.  I guess I need to keep trying wines from South Africa.

You will taste hints of green apple and pear in this selection with a pleasing citrus finish.  You will find this light-bodied wine to be nicely balanced.  I can see drinking this wine with seafood or just a salad.  Unlike many Sauvignon Blanc wines, you will not find that familiar taste of grapefruit of which I am not a fan.  This wine sells for approx. $10.00 a bottle which goes to show, you do not need to spend a lot of money to get a decent wine. In Charleston, you will find this wine at Total Wine and More.

On a side note, you will see that our tasting experience does not match up with the description that the winery offers for this wine.  Surely does not matter as long as you like the wine.  And this one is something that I will seek out during this long hot summer.south africa


Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2015- California, USA – Updated

The winery touts this wine as your everyday wine, but I find it to be too young and sweet for my palate especially with a price at approximately $18.00 to $20.00 a bottle.  Duckhorn Wine Company makes so many great wines that it saddens me to not find this wine more up my alley.  That is not to say that others will not like this wine.  If you prefer wines like Apothic or Ménage à trois you may like this wine.  In my mind definitely a starter wine.

Gary and I both tried this wine because I wanted his opinion.  We agreed that it is a pale garnet in color.  Also, there are black cherry notes on the nose and quite jammy/sweet on the palate. Gary felt that there was a metallic steely taste.  I thought additional hints of raspberry/black raspberry on the palate.  It is light in body, slim on structure, no tannins to speak of and very low acidity.  Gary suggested that we re-seal the bottle and try it again tomorrow.  I am willing to give it a try.  What I poured in my glass did not improve as I moved through the glass.  I will update this wine tomorrow.

It’s now tomorrow…So after resealing and vacuuming out as much oxygen as I could, I poured a new glass.  The wine completely oxidized.  It was now brown in color and tasted bitter and very dry on the palate – all classic signs of oxidation.  Definitely a miss in my book for my palate.  So if you like this style of wine open it and drink it. It will not keep overnight.

I bought this wine at Costco, but I have also seen it on the top shelf at grocery stores as well.


Wine Fun Facts

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is one of the two parents of Cabernet Sauvignon.  The other parent grape is the Cabernet Franc.  This cross-pollination occurred naturally in Bordeaux, France in the mid-1600’s.  Now the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is the most planted wine grape in the world.

One might assume that a wine labeled Pinot Noir (or any other varietal) would be 100% Pinot Noir.  But that is not the case, and all countries regulate what percent of the primary varietal must be used in the wine for it to be labeled with the specific grape varietal name.  In the USA and Chile it must be 75% of the primary varietal, in Argentina 80% and France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa is must be 85%.


One Comment

  1. Steven E. Clem

    Your experience with Decoy’s Pinot Noir mirrored my own. I absolutely ~love~ their Cabernet Sauvignon – it is a staple in my wine rack – as well as Duckhorn’s Paraduxx line of red blends (a little pricier than the Decoy line, but worth the money IMHO), but the Pinot seems to be a swing and a miss.

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