17 August 2009

2008 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé

This past Thursday night the Commercial Appeal online tasting was hosted by dear friend and local wine guru Mike Whitfield. He picked out a real winner that really appealed to my palate, the 2008 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. $15, 13.5% abv. Pure Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa.

While this winery is only 20 years old, the region has been producing wine for 350 years. South Africa is unique among wine-producing countries in that we have a precise date of the very first wine made there: February 2, 1659. You can thank the meticulous Dutch for that kind of record-keeping; I've seen many "authoritative" yet conflicting accounts of the first wine made in the United States. I think about a dozen states claim the title, based on various definitions of "wine" and "United States" (e.g. Vitis labrusca wine made in the 1500s in Florida, which was Spanish territory). And if the Vikings ever made it far enough south, Maine might hold the title, taking the matter back a thousand years into the mist of legend.

What do I keep saying, folks? History in a glass.

Nice wet granite aroma, hint of lavender. After it warms up there's a vegetal character to it. Big acidity, fruity yet dry, and it's got a flavor of overripe strawberries. The 2009 has just arrived, and most of the people who participated in the tasting were drinking the newer vintage. This wine has great structure to it, and not all rosés are as delicate as their name might suggest.

You don't really associate rosé with South Africa, nor do you often see Cabernet Sauvignon made in this style. But it definitely works. The Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc is also outstanding, and the bottles are easy to find due to the unique longitudinal label. If you're not familiar with South African wines, Mulderbosch is a great place to start. You'll get serious, European-style wines made on the very southern tip of the African continent.


Benito said...

I don't usually make the first comment on one of my posts, but before someone comes in here claiming their state is the site of the first wine made in the US, let's look at the case of Texas.

Texas has been ruled by, famously, six flags: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. Wine from Vitis vinifera grapes was first made there in the 1650s and continuously until Prohibition.

Do we take the present borders and claim wine made on US soil since... a hundred and twenty years before we were a country? Or do we start counting from when Texas joined the Union in 1845, or when Texas was readmitted after its 1861-1865 membership in the Confederacy?

And just to throw another spanner in the works... What about the status of US embassies and military bases throughout Europe? Depending on the various legal interpretations of extraterritoriality, if any wine was made on that spot, it means that "American" wine was made thousands of years ago on the other side of the Atlantic.

Hey, want to make things even more fun? The fuzzy status of Canadian independence from England means that, potentially, a British wine industry (no laughing, please) flourished on North American soil well into the 20th century.


fredric koeppel said...

the '08 version of this wine was terrific, one of my favorite roses of the summer.

Michael Hughes said...

That Whitfield. Isn't he a great guy?

Benito said...


I wish I'd known about this wine sooner--for some reason it never showed up in my usual haunts.


Damn straight.


Anonymous said...

I am late to this wine also. wonderful though. did a little research on South African wines and thought I'd share the articles, reviews, videos I pulled together through kosmix. http://www.kosmix.com/search/south_african_wine?

enjoy all,


Big Mike said...

Michael, you are too kind as is Bentio!!

Big Mike