My Tasting Notes on Flat Roof Manor Malbec

Flat Roof Manor Malbec label

When you hear about a Malbec wine, where do you think it is from? Probably Argentina, but maybe from it’s native home, in France. In either case, you would be wrong. A bottle of Flat Roof Manor Malbec 2010 was sent to me to taste and review. It comes from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa.

I checked into the history of Malbec in South Africa and found out that it has been around the region since the 1920s, so it does have a fair history.  From my past experience tasting many South African wines through the South World Wine Society, I was expecting an “Old World Style New World Wine“.  A wine with it’s feet in both the history of Europe and the youth of the Americas and Southern hemisphere.  And I was right.  South African wines tend to go very well with food as they have good tannic structure and are not over the top with fruit flavour and aroma.

About Flat Roof Manor

The Flat Roof Manor wines are made by Estelle Lourens on the Uitkyk Wine Estate (pronounced “eat cake” wine estate) in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. The Georgian Manor House, part of the inspiration for these wines, is set with a view of Table Mountain.l  It is also one of just 3 two-storied Neoclassical houses in this style left in the Cape.  The cat on the label is linked to a legend where a cat remained on the flat topped roof long after the original owners left, to enjoy it’s life for many years. The cat represents a “laid back, unpretentious, confident, and playful” spirit.

Tasting Flat Roof Manor Malbec

Flat Roof Manor Malbec 2010

The first thing I noticed on the label is that this wine has 14% alcohol, so I expected it to be quite hot, but was not.  It was perfectly balanced with the fruit and tannins.  It was a medium ruby colour in the glass.  You could see legs on the glass after a swirl, so you know the alcohol level is there.  It has a medium intensity, youthful aroma (and should keep it thanks to being under screwcap). I picked up on black fruit, red cherries, plums, red currant fruits as well as black currant leaf, cloves and some smokiness.  Quite a range of aromas. It is dry on the palate with medium plus tannins and medium body.  As mentioned the alcohol level meshed very well with the wine, so you did not feel any hotness in your mouth from it. It also had a range of flavours, including red and black fruit, plum, cassis, black currant leaf and a light amount of oak.  Medium plus length, with white pepper, vanilla and sour cherry on the finish.  A pretty decent wine, with some tannic structure to give it body, and a variety of fruit aromas and flavours to make it enjoyable on the palate.

This wine is available in BC, Alberta, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia for between $12.99-$13.99.  A great price for an over achieving wine.  Enjoy!

Free South African Wine Tasting at Marquis Wine Cellars on Sunday

Sorry for the short notice, but there is a FREE tasting of South African wines at Marquis Wine Cellars downtown, tomorrow 2-5pm (Sunday, Oct 2).  Here is the announcement.  Enjoy!

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On Sunday, October 2 2011, Marquis Wine Cellars will offer Vancouverites a chance to taste wines from South Africa’s Post House and Mooiplaas wineries.  Consumers are welcome to stop by to sample the wines and meet winery representative Sarah Colman.

Post House and Mooiplaas are both located Stellenbosch, the country’s Stellenbosch premier viticultural region.  The two wineries share in the region’s rich history and have become international ambassadors for South Africa’s winemaking community. Winery representative Sarah Colman will be on hand at Marquis to introduce the wines and to answer questions about them.

 
Taste wines from South Africa’s Post House and Mooiplaas wineries
 
Sunday, October 2, 2011
2:00 – 5:00pm
Marquis Wine Cellars
1034 Davie Street, Vancouver
For more information please call 604-684-0445.

South World Wine Society’s Big and Bold Red Tasting

Last night we were treated to big red wines from the Southern Hemisphere. In particular, 2 wines from each of Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and Australia. These are all premium wines in the $30-$40 range per bottle. Our speaker for the evening was Mr. Lance Berelowitz, one of the South World Wine Society‘s co-founders, past President and past Cellar Master. Lance is originally from South Africa, but has travelled extensively and has visited Australia, Chile, and Argentina, and provided to us in depth descriptions about each of these wines and regions.

Our wines for this evening:

  • Alta Cima Premium Reserve 2002, Lontue Valley, Chile
  • Miguel Torres Cordillera 2001, Central Valley, Chile
  • De Toren Diversity 2003, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa
  • Norton Malbec Reserva 2005, Mendoza, Argentina
  • Alzamora Malbec Roble 2006, San Juan, Argentina
  • Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia
  • Peter Lehmann Mudflat Ebenezer Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley, Australia

To these wines we had 3 appetizers:

  • Poplar Grove Tiger Blue Cheese Buff with stone fruit compote
  • Smoked Peace Country Lamb Shoulder Arrancinni with tomato ragout
  • Braised Shortrib Cannelonni with carmelized onion jus

The Alta Cima Premium Reserve 2002, Lontue Valley, Chile is a Bordeaux blend with 85% being from Cabernet Sauvignon, and the remainder coming from Merlot, Syrah (not Bordeaux), and Petit Verdot.  Alta Cima is a family run winery in Chile in the Lontue Valley which is part of the Curico Valley. This wine was deep garnet from the core to the rim, not showing it’s 9 year of aging yet. Vanilla, oak, dark cherry sweet spice, meaty and pencil lead aromas filled the glass.  Quite complex.  Medium body on the palate, with cherries and blueberry flavours.  Medium acidity and tannins.  Round in the mouth but not quite full bodied.  A nice balanced wine.

Next was the Miguel Torres Cordillera 2001, Central Valley, Chile. Miguel Torres, originally from Spain, has a great reputation around the world for their wines, and for opening wineries in other parts of the world.  The Cordillera is a blend primarily with Carignan and lesser amounts of Merlot and Syrah. Deep garnet in colour. A light nose with whiffs of oak, black olives, and dark cherries. Medium body with dark sweet fruit, and some tar and pepperiness.  Quite soft and round in the mouth, with a puckering finish.

The De Toren Diversity 2003, Stellenbosch, South Africa followed.  This is another family run winery.  Their Fusion V is a cult wine amongst wine enthusiasts. This wine is a blend of 5 Bordeaux varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Medium garnet with slight bricking on the rim of the wine, indicating it’s age. Meaty, pencil leads, earthy and red fruits on the nose. Medium body with dried red and black fruits, low acidity and tannins.  We all agreed that this wine is past it’s prime and we were sampling it on it’s way down.

My favourite wine of the evening was the Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa. Paarl is more inland than Stellenbosch, affording a warmer climate, which the Syrah grape loves. Deep garnet to the rim in the glass. Smoky, raspberries and oak on the nose. On the palate an array of flavours including smokiness, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and spice.  Medium plus body with medium acid to keep the flavours bright. Long length. An excellent wine.

The first wine from Argentina was the Norton Malbec Reserva 2005. This is from the famous Mendoza region of Argentina, which is well-known for Malbec.  It is a high altitude desert that is fed with the precious water from the Andes Mountains. This wine had a light nose with some mint and plum. Medium body with dark fruit and oak. Soft tannins.  The group tasting the wine today also agreed that this wine was just OK.  Not very complex.

On the other hand the Alzamora Malbec Roble 2006, San Juan, Argentina was quite complex and interesting.  The San Juan region is to the north of Mendoza.  Not as well known, but produces very nice wine, if this wine is any indication of quality. Deep ruby in colour.  Light nose with oak, dark fruit, plum, coffee and a bit of eucalyptus aromas. Full body with firm tannins.  Dark fruit flavours with medium acidity and a dry finish. This wine paired nicely with the Poplar Grove Tiger Blue Cheese Puff with stone fruit compote.

On to Australia. Our first wine was the Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia. The two owners of Two Hands are similar to négociants from Burgundy.  They do not own vineyards, but work with vineyards to produce wines to their particular standards. This wine had some sediment in the glass, which we thought could be tartrate crystals. These crystals can form when the wine gets too cold.  It is a natural process, and should not be considered a fault in a wine. The wine was deep purple in the glass but was cloudy and not clear.  I am not sure if this wine was filtered, but if unfiltered, you could get this cloudiness. Nice nose with eucalyptus, vanilla, ripe dark fruit and chocolate. Medium plus body with soft, round mouthfeel.  Ripe cherries, chocolate and spiciness on the palate. This wine was the favorite of the room this evening.

The last wine was the Peter Lehmann Mudflat Ebenezer Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley, Australia. This is an interesting wine as the shiraz is blended with a few percent of the white muscadelle grape to add in some aromatics.  Medium garnet in colour.  Light nose of vanilla and dark fruit.  Round with soft tannins.  Blueberries, vanilla, cloves and some salty minerality on the palate.  A good balance of oak, fruit and acidity.

MyWinePal Wine Picks:

  1. Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa
  2. Alzamora Malbec Roble 2006, San Juan, Argentina

The Favorites from the Room:

  1. Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia
  2. Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa