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Wine is Great

Wine is great because of its almost limitless ability to surprise. When I began my MW studies a couple of years ago I thought that I knew something about wine (based on the logic that I’d made some, imported a bit, loved tasting etc). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on whether you consider the status of my ego important) I have spent the last two years proving that I actually knew bugger all and that the more I tread my vinous path the more I feel dwarfed by the scale of what is revealed. Yet this is wine’s gift to us all. Being of the land means that changes of region, country and grape variety coupled with the producer’s ideology will result in difference. Some view difference as something to be tolerated, at best accepted, but those who know, know that difference should be cherished.

This brings me to Swartland in South Africa. Over the festive period I had a couple of bottles from Sequillo, a product of the revered Eben Sadie, one of the Southern Hemisphere’s great winemakers. They only produce two wines; the white based on Chenin Blanc and the red on Syrah. The ‘surprise’ experienced by me was a result of their finesse. These wines – the product of dry-grown, low yielding vines – ‘feel’ Rhone-like. I was expecting something concentrated but more blowsy than the taut (if still generous) nature of the fruit on show; they put many of the more expensive bottles of wine I had over Christmas to shame. There is no moral to this story other than a gentle reminder to keep your tongue turned on. Make 2015 the year you challenge your default choices.

Sequillo White, W.O Swartland 2012, 14%
Grape: 40% Chenin Blanc with the balance made up from Clairette, Viognier, Verdelho, Semillion Blanc & Gris
Wine-making: Matured in old oak and has a year on the lees
Note: Concentrated and with bright acidity that helps bring the apple, pear and quince fruit to life. Full but fine; a wine to savour.
Price: Approximately 25-30 USD
Score: 17.5/20
Available from: Not currently available in Taiwan 

Sequillo Red, W.O Swartland 2011, 14%
Grape: Syrah, Cinsault, Mouvedre, Grenache, Tinta Barocca & Carignan
Wine-making: Matured in old oak for 24 months
Note: Spiced red fruit, plum and some earthy savouriness. Persistent on the palate and with supple tannins that make this appropriate with or without food.
Price: 25-30 USD
Score: 17/20
Available from: Not currently available in Taiwan

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