written elsewhere about my fab dining week when I went to Rust en Vrede one day
followed immediately by Test Kitchen. In my opinion, there was little to choose
between the two venues in terms of quality and total and utter fabulosity, the
only difference being the style in which they presented themselves. However,
the wines shown on each occasion represented some of the greatest extremes I’ve
ever come across in such a short space of time, so my next question has to be –
which would you rather pay for a bottle of wine - R1,200 or R23?
Wines International is an interesting organisation, comprising as it does
several individuals who market themselves separately, but who have also combined
to create a new entity which creates made-to-order wines for local and
international markets. In charge of winemaking is JC Martin from Creation Wines
and he is refreshingly candid and honest about Overhex and what they hope for
from their Balance range, now becoming more widely available in SA. For him,
part of the attraction of Overhex is their ability to source wines from
anywhere in the Western Cape giving them a freedom of style and price which a
single farm would struggle to match.
three ranges on offer at the lunch last week – their entry level range, the
reserve range and the Winemakers Selection wines. According to JC, the Balance entry
level wines cost around R27- R29 (although I found the Sauvignon/Semillon in
Ultra Liquors for R23), the Reserve wines are R35 and the winemakers Selection
wines are R40 for the Sauvignon and R45 for the Shiraz – all of them
considerably less than many people’s entry level price range.
is meaningless if the wine isn’t nice – that’s the very definition of good
value. Of the 7 wines we tasted, I thought 3 of them were fairly-priced, but the
other 4 completely over-delivered – if they had charged even up to 20% more, I
would still have thought them good value. None of them were world-beaters – not
the kind of wines to keep you awake at night dreaming of them – but they were
all correct, clean, well-made, tasted more than pleasant, had good varietal
character and I enjoyed drinking them. To be honest – what more do you need?
Especially at R23 a bottle.
give the opposite side, the day before I had been drinking Rust en Vrede’s 1694
Classification, priced at R1,200. Is it worth it? If I had that kind of money,
then yes, I would probably say it is. Since I don’t, however, it’s down to
Ultra for me to put a bit of Balance in my life and shopping bag!
my four favourite wines:
Balance Sauvignon/Semillon 2010 R23
fruity and zippy with plenty of crunchy appley flavours and a crisp finish.
Great stoep wine, I’d advise you to buy it by the case not the bottle.
Balance Chardonnay Reserve 2010 R35
wine with aromas of orange blossoms and melons. Creamy, well-judged oak
balanced by fruit and acidity. Tad short but very drinkable.
Balance Winemakers Selection Sauvignon Blanc
Darling fruit with a green, tight, asparagus nose. Zingy acidity, oodles of
fresh green and yellow fruit, again a tad short, but bloody excellent for the
Balance Pinotage/Shiraz 2009 R29
and overt aromas of sweet black fruit. Hugely acceptable flavours – soft black
berries, juicy tannins, light, fragrant and refreshing. Could be chilled if you
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