Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shannon Vineyards Reviewed by Certified Sommelier Miguel Chan

Shannon Vineyards review by Sommelier Miguel Chan

It’s been a very long time, since I got so excited about a new release especially when it comes to a new winery, the harder I try to find faults in the wines the more actually I have to raved about it and there is simply no more to say than well done guys, keep it up, maintain that style and quality, keep respecting the fruit and work harder in the vineyard, you are taking South African wines to the next level and this is so exciting. You cannot go wrong with that style. This will be successful.

That discovery is Shannon Vineyards in Elgin,

It all started at Cape Wine 2008 whilst tasting at Beaumont counter and then the topic of discussion turn to Merlot, and it is a fact that quality Merlot is truly a rarity in the Cape, as most example are hard, green, overworked and over oaked, with none of the tell tale silkiness and elegance and sheer drinkability that we expect from Merlot, and there I was challenge by Sebastian Beaumont as he took me to the Shannon Vineyards counter and asked James Downes to pour me a tasting.....

I must admit I was a little sceptical and try to get to the task as unbias as possible, and well well well..... since I started tasting South African wines in 1995, nowhere I had ever come across such a complete Merlot, with it’s fragrance, purity of fruit but above all else the elegance, silkiness and tannins structure of a Pomerol in a ripe year, WOW. Goose bumps moment. Thank you Sebastian, will remember that moment as well as the Mourvedre and Pinotage..........

This is the finest South African Merlot I have tasted to date, and will easily slip in between some Pomerol in a blind tasting........well done James and Stuart Downes.
So the 2007 Merlot is not label as a varietal, though it is 100 % Elgin Merlot but label as Mount Bullet.

My tasting notes read as follows:

2007 Shannon Vineyards Mount Bullet 92 Points

Perfect colour extraction, fragrant, ripe red fruit medley such as plums and dark cherries, earthy with touch of orange peel complexity, lead pencil minerality, juicy, very good acidity lends an outstanding freshness very well intermingle with the ripe and delicate tannins structure, silky and elegant, almost a Pomerol in a ripe year, has everything a Merlot has to be, this is stunning stuff, enjoy now or until 2016.
It’s going to be pricey by Cape standard, but worth every single cents, and this is a must listed for anyone who take South African wines seriously.

2007 Shannon Vineyards Pinot Noir 92+ Points

When I tasted the Pinot Noir as a barrel sample in September, my comments to James was this is a very promising Pinot, with outstanding complexity, depth and richness, however the oak is overpowering as the toasty and charry character tends to dominate the wines, but I was reassured that once the wine will be blended, it’s going to be another breed, and hey he was right.

Tasted yesterday (18 November 2008), the aromatics of the Pinot have changed beyond recognition, much more contained, oak not as dominant as initially perceived in September, typical Burgundian complexity, with complex notes of ripe maraschino cherries, raspberry, strawberries and hints of truffles and dark mushrooms, impressive, textured, soft and elegant with ripe tannins and just the perfect extraction, the purity and concentration of fruit is mind boggling, and this is another wine from Shannon Vineyards that is just fantastic, WOW.
South African Pinot Noir is reaching another era of perfection, this is a wine that was made in the vineyard, as the purity of fruit can attest, enjoy now until 2015.

2008 Shannon Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 87 – 89 Points

After tasting close to 300, Sauvignon of the 2008 vintage, I am now in a position to honestly say that it has not been a fantastic year for Cape Sauvignon and makes listing and my life as a passionate sommelier very tough, as I much as I love Cape wines and try be a good ambassador, the stuff out there is pretty horrible..........only about 9 wines woth listing and 1 of them is.....................

But here comes another trick from Shannon Vineyards, in a vintage of intermittent rain, and rot, where dilution is the hallmark of 2008, Shannon vineyards have managed to retain the true characteristic of a pungent and multilayered Sauvignon with amazing mid palate depth and purity of fruit.

This 2008 exhibits a complex gooseberries and tropical fruit medley, even spicy, with excellent purity, bringing along a juicy texture, which is ripe, intense and delicate, the length is further complimented by lots of quartz minerality, which is very rare in the Cape, but seems to be an emerging hallmark of Elgin Valley Sauvignon. Well done.
For now until 2013.

Tasted by Certified Sommelier Miguel Chan

18 November 2008

All these outstanding wines above can be paired by stunning food prepared by Tomato Catering