Introducing South Africa’s Finest Wines: Idiom & Whalehaven by Matt Smith

An idiom, or an expression with a figurative meaning; this is the aim of Roberto Bottega and his family when producing his award winning wines. By creating wines that capture the true meaning of the landscape, the culture and the heritage of the surrounding area, Idiom wines are gaining a reputation around the world for being some of the finest South Africa wines.

The winery, situated in Da Capo overlooking False Bay in Stellenbosch, was created as a retirement project by Roberto’s father, Alberto. Soon it became a project that would involve the whole family, with Roberto soon helping take the reigns as head winemaker. The philosophy behind the wines was to originally create a Bordeaux blend that would rival the great Bordeaux estates. As the winery evolved, they also began to pay tribute to their South African and Italian heritage by planting Pinotage and Italian grapes such Sangiovese. The wines have recently won Decanter’s best South African red wine in 2010.

Also on tasting was Bottega’s other project Whalehaven in Hermanus. Named after the region in which the vineyards are situated, Southern Right Whales gather in the local bay to breed and is known to be one of the best whale watching areas in the world! The winery was taken over whilst the Idiom vineyards were planted and the reputation is growing for producing single varietal wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinotage. The vineyard also produces a range of whites, including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, to complete a diverse and rich line-up.

Roberto introduced the Whalehaven range first, explaining the methods behind each of the wines; followed after was the three wines from Idiom.

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Whalehaven Sauvignon Blanc
Tropical fruit nose with a hint of minerality. In the mouth, melon flavours with green notes of passion fruit punch that is supported with a rich acidity. A perfect beach wine.

Whalehaven Cabernet Franc
A lifted perfumed nose with a hint of liquorish. A lighter style of Cabernet Franc that deliveries a rich raspberry punch and lightly toasted oak in the mouth.

Whalehaven Merlot
Plummy, smoky with a slight hint of bramble on the nose. A sweet tobacco and cherry mouth that is supported by supple tannins and a warming length.

Whalehaven Pinotage
Dark cherries with a cigar box nose. Rich plum fruit and light blackberries in the mouth. The boldest of the three reds that would well fantastically well with steak or other red meats.

Idiom Viognier
The grapes are picked three times in the growing season (early – middle – late) to achieve a complex wine. Apricots with a hint of buttercup and perfume on the nose. On the mouth, a creamy texture which delivers ripe apples that develops into apricots. A truly magnificent wine!

Idiom Cape Blend
Smokey, liquorish with sour cherries and cedar on the nose. Blackberry, cherry and dried red fruits that open up with a lush, velvety tannin. A cigar box finish with a long length.

Idiom Bordeaux Blend
The flagship of the winery. Aromatic dark cherries with a layer of lush concentrated raspberry. On the palette, velvety smooth tannins that evolve into flavours of blackcurrant, oak, spice and a hint of dark chocolate. Absolutely stunning!

 

By Matt Smith, Amathus Soho

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