I recently had an opportunity to taste some wines from a South African wine producer, Silkbush Mountain Vineyards. I was sent a Viognier and a Pinotage. Having never tasted a Viognier from South Africa before and with my very limited experience with Pinotage, I was particularly eager to taste these wines and share them with you.
Silkbush Mountain Vineyards is located in Breedekloof, in the Breede River Valley in the infamous Western Cape; beyond the more widely known Cape Town and Stellenbosch. The wine farm boasts 341 total mountain acres and contains sloped hillsides up to 2100′ above sea level. The rocky soils, abundance of pure water, and cool evenings are ideal growing conditions for growing their premium grapes. Silkbush got its start with duo Dave Jefferson and Anton Roos. When a wine farm became available, they purchased it and became partners. In the beginning, they were contracted to sell their grapes to several famous wineries which won the wineries awards for their wines. After their continued success in growing premium grapes, they hired a winemaker and began producing their own wines under the Silkbush Mountain Vineyards label. Currently in production is a Viognier and Pinotage, with other varietals for future release.
First up is the 2012 Viognier. This wine is made from 100% Viognier grapes and is fermented in stainless steel tanks with an additional six months after fermentation on the lees to give the wine it’s signature creaminess. In the glass, the wine pours a pale yellow color. The nose of the wine is lovely. Right away, you get scents of juicy white stone fruits such as peaches and nectarines, as well as honeysuckle and floral notes. On the palate, the white stone fruits dominate as well as flavors of ripe honeydew melon, tropical fruits, and, pear. The mouthfeel of the wine is smooth and creamy and the finish is long. This is a delightful wine and would pair wonderfully with lighter fare such as chicken dishes, salads, and soft cheeses. The wine is drinking beautifully now but can stand a few years of aging. The suggested retail price is $16.99; definitely a QPR winner and a highly recommended wine.
Next up is the 2009 Lion’s Drift Pinotage. As I had mentioned before, my experience with Pinotage is limited and previous experience was not very good. The wines I’ve tasted always had the burnt rubber-like element mixed with stewed fruit that I did not care for. That is definitely not the case with this Pinotage. The 2009 Lion’s Drift Pinotage is 100% Pinotage and is fermented for 13 months in a combination of New French and American Oak. In the glass, the wine pours a deep plum color. Scents of dark cherry, plum, strawberry, and sweet spice fill the glass. I also picked up on some leather and tar on the nose. On the palate, cranberry, red currant, plums, and dark cherry dominate. There is also another layer of black licorice, pepper, baker’s chocolate, and a touch of espresso, with a very long finish. This is a rich, full bodied wine, with a nice tannic structure. There is a lot of complexity with this wine and is very interesting to drink. This wine will stand up to heartier fare such as lamb chops, meat stews, and hard cheeses. The suggested price for this wine is $18. Another QPR winner and a very highly recommended wine. The wine is drinking beautifully now but is built to age up to 10 years, possibly more. For those who have limited experience with Pinotage or who have yet to find one they enjoy, this is definitely one for you to try.
The wines are currently distributed in several states and can be purchased online here. Silkbush Mountain Vineyards can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the Silkbush Mountain Vineyards website for more information on their history and winemaking practices.
* These wines were provided as media samples for review purposes.