Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Updated Review: ***+ $ Granite Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot, South Africa, 2010 (BEST VALUE)

Find prices and retail availability for South Africa cabernet sauvignon / merlot blends.

By way of background: South Africa is generating increasing quantities of cabernet sauvignon and merlot red wines, some fairly highly recognized.  Here we're trying a cab/merlot blend from Barclay's Wine, which is a distributor best known for its packages of value-priced wines. 

Initial review, May, 2011: This is Granite Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot, South Africa, 2010, a blend of 61% cabernet sauvignon and 39% merlot, finished at 14.% alcohol.

In the glass: Granite Ridge Cab/Merlot shows deep burgundy in the glass, with purple overtones and an opaque interior. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows sweet and extracted plum with violet perfume overtones and background hints of toasty oak.  From the aroma, seems like this will be bright, aromatically expressive and potent, with a purple fruit predominating.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact big, perfumed violet and purple fruit in the mid-mouth, not bright and acidic as predicted.  Instead, full and almost flowing in nature. Acids are in place, but they bring the sweet black currant and blackberry around your mouth for a wide-ranging tour, eventually leaving them lodged in your cheek and gums for the lengthy finish.  Extracted, bold and chewy, with just a little hint of that banana overtone that distinguishes some of the South African reds.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with an easy and big plus for its extraction and power.  Capable of the fourth star with long decant or aging.  Outstanding value already, at 3+ stars.

Following long decant, four hours at room temperature in flat-bottomed decanter:  Nose is consistent. The palate is round, elegant and balanced now, with the same elements.  And even longer decant, two days kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Subdued fruity nose.  Palate is just tipping toward tired, so I would recommend drinking immediately, or a modest same-day decant.

Updated review, over a year later,   September, 2012:  Deep magenta in the glass.  Consistent aroma: broad plums and violets.  Perfumed, balanced and aromatic on the palate, with a note of the classic South African banana.  Held up very well to age - as young as it still is, though, seems ready to drink up now. 

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Find prices and retail availability for South Africa cabernet sauvignon / merlot blends.

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