Posted on February 6th, 2009
There is a little corner of Temple Bar in Dublin that is dedicated to South Africa.
Vaughan Johnsons has easily the best collection of wines from South Africa in Ireland and this week, in what is now a regular feature in Vaughan Johnsons, Thomas Webb from the family-run Thelema Mountain Vineyards presented his wines.
Unfortunately, I missed the main event but managed to pop in shortly after to taste some of the Thelema portfolio.
Thelema wines tasted
The following were the wines on show:
- Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (€16.50)
- Thelema Ed’s Reserve Chardonnay 2003 (€21.95)
- Thelema Merlot 2004 (€21.95)
- Thelema “The Mint” Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (€37.50)
- Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (€29.95)
Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Somewhat similar to a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, though a little more restrained. Fresh, dry and crisp with the NZ-style gooseberry and tropical flavours going on.
Thelema Ed’s Reserve Chardonnay 2003
A very unique and distinctive Chardonnay. Citrus and a creamy yeastiness combine really well for a lovely long finish. Not easily forgettable, a really nice white.
Thelema Merlot 2004
Juicy plums with velvety smooth tannins. I don’t “score” wines, but if I did, I’d dock a couple of points for a slightly bitter finish.
Thelema “The Mint” Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
This is another quite unique Cabby. I’d never normally describe a Cabernet Sauvignon as refreshing, but this had a wonderful clean refreshing slightly minty finish. An After Eight with cherries is a good way to describe it.
Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
This a richer fuller style of Cabernet Sauvignon with blackcurrant, vanilla and a little clove all combining nicely.
A bit more background on Thelema
Thelema is based in or on Simonsberg, a mountain in South Africa’s Western Cape. It’s located near the towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, all synonymous with South African wine.
The elevation of Thelema’s vineyards is between 370 and 640 meters above sea level with mainly south-facing slopes, making Thelema one of the highest and probably coolest wine farms in the Stellenbosch area.
Most of the grapes are Bordeaux, along with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and of course, South African’s own Pinotage
More on Vaughan Johnsons
While Vaughan Johnsons specialises in South African wine, they have some great gems from closer to home. I bought a 1978 Brane-Cantenac there a couple of weeks ago for €37.50, which was great (but that’s another story).
The shop is managed by Melanie Deschamps and Cedric Belloeil, both hailing from France. If you can convince the French of the virtues of South African wine, let alone sell it for you, you’re obviously doing something right.