Continuing the saga of our South African winery and safari excursion.
Sixty percent of the wine produced by this iconic estate is white, so we dove in with a pair of Sauvignon Blanc: the 2014 Thelema Sauvignon Blanc and the 2014 Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc. Green Dragon is our Sauvignon Blanc expert and she immediately gave the Thelema a thumbs up rating. While the Thelema had the hallmark grassy flavor, the Sunderland had a sour apple vibe.
We then did a side by side (by side) sampling of three Chardonnay. What a treat! The 2013 Ed’s Reserve Chardonnay is fragrant, but too soft for us. We preferred the 2013 Thelema Chardonnay which had hints of peach and a clean finish. The 2012 Sutherland Chardonnay had citrus notes and full flavors.
Thelema has mastered white wines, and there was yet one more to sample. The Sutherland 2012 Viognier-Roussanne is a white Rhone-style blend. The mix is 89% Viognier and the wine is aged 10 months in new oak. It was a tasty blend, but we were ready to move into the red zone.
Kicking off was the 2012 Thelema Mountain Red. This is a mixture of six different grape varieties: 37% Shiraz, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, 4% Grenache and 1% Cabernet Franc. I do love my blends, but sometimes I feel that less is more and that too many varieties can mean that the wine’s voice is muddied. Nevertheless, this was an appealing wine with pepper and a dash of plum.
The 2010 Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Cabernet. The wine swirls with flavors of pencil shavings and dark chocolate. The wine will improve with age (eight to 10 years) and it already is very impressive.
The 2011 Thelema Rabelais is a delicious Cab with 10% Petit Verdot. This is a lush and velvety wine that is so smooth on the palate. The Cab give it cred, but it is the Petit Verdot that makes it rock. It is a beautiful bottle and we purchased one to take home.
Thelema offers superb wine and is a wonderful destination for wine lovers visiting South Africa. We give it our highest recommendation!