DELAIRE GRAFF ESTATE
Monday 6 March 2017
Delaire Graff brought just 4 wines for the regular Monday evening tasting at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town. Four wines – two whites and two reds – from the 15 wines that the estate produces were enough to provide a sample of the range. Delaire Graff is a beautiful and historic wine estate, worthy of special visit, North-East of Stellenbosch. It was acquired by Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds International, in 2003.
The Cabernet Franc Rosé was the perfect appetiser. It was one of the palest pink Rosés I have seen. Unsurprisingly so, as the grape skins are left in contact with the juice for just 4 hours. It was everything a Rosé should be for drinking without food on a still, crystal-clear, summers evening: elegant, chilled, lightly fruity, crisp and dry with a nice finish.
The Chenin Blanc packed a more fruity punch, balanced by a mild oakiness from 10 months in oak barrels. It was fresh too with notes of citrus fruits and honey.
The guests were clearly enjoying the red wines and so I asked Maggie, the host, if I could sample the first red. It looked like a Rhône blend from the shape of the bottle. It was, however, a Shiraz and my favourite wine of the tasting. The dark fruit notes were more violet and lavender than many Shiraz I have tasted and with a milder spiciness of peppercorn. I liked the soft, rounded tannin on the palate too. This is one bottle I shall look out for when I visit Delaire Graff for a full tasting. I read after that the Shiraz is from the ‘entry’ Luxury Range!
The Cabernet Sauvignon-led Bordeaux blend was nearly double the price of the Shiraz as befitting a wine from the mid-level (!) Premium Range. It was not twice as good. Sadly, the law of diminishing returns applies to wines as much as to any commodity. I felt the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated too much and that the wine was a trifle over-blended. As a result, it had neither the charm nor uniqueness of a single variety or the full complexity of a blend.
Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable and successful mini-tasting. The guests soon dispersed as the wine ran out early. I shall look forwards to lingering a little longer over a full glass of the Shiraz when I visit the vineyard for second tasting.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2015 Swartland Reserve Chenin Blanc – R149
2016 Cabernet Franc Rosé – R90
2015 Shiraz – R95
2015 Botsmankop Bordeaux Blend (69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot, 3% Malbec) – R195