Thelema wines on a Platter
26 November 2015
This year’s Platters Wine Guide, with its beautiful teal blue cover, features a total of 8000 wines and just over 650 brands. It is a great overview of the South African wine industry and one only needs to line up the last 25 years’ editions on your bookshelf to see how this wonderful industry has grown since the guide’s first edition in 1980.
“Little stands still at prestigious family-run Thelema farm and winery on the crest of Stellenbosch’s Helshoogte Pass. Winemaker Rudi Schultz is experimenting in the vineyards, trying new ways of pruning and planting different cover crops, and new wines make their appearance this edition, adding to the portfolio of premium labels which perfectly express their terroir.”
Thelema 2016 Platter ratings
Thelema Chardonnay 2014 – 4 stars
Back-on-song 2014 dances to a delicious tune of citrus & melon fruit beautifully balanced with a creamy core & toasty, ginger-biscuit spice.
Thelema Ed’s Reserve Dry White 2014 – 4 stars
From unusual ‘muscat’ clone of chardonnay, 2014 exhibits signature flowers, perfume, litchis & spice given body by ripe yellow stone fruit, all edged with good balancing acidity.
Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – 4.5 stars
Appertising 2015 continues quality of 2014 & delights with classic Pouilly-Fumé-like flintiness, English gooseberries & grass. Brisk acidity, already well integrated, carries thrilling flavours through to an intense & persistent finish.
Thelema Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015 – 4.5 stars
From a single block, 2015 bursts with tropical fruit (pineapples & guavas) with orange citrus freshness from well-integrated acidity. 4 months on lees add creamy richness, leading to satisfying lengthy finish.
Thelema MCC 2012 – 4 stars
Crisp Granny Smith apple notes on nose of fresher 2012 are given definition & richness by creamy core, with hints of sweet/savoury biscuits & curd. Beautifully balanced, 28 months on lees. Elgin grapes.
Thelema Riesling 2013 – 4 stars
Excellent example 2013 already showing development (plenty of petrol, lilies & perfume) with crunchy green apple freshness & crisp acidic bite. Few grams sugar add richness & body, balance out acidity to perfection.
Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – 4 stars
Concentrated mouthful of ripe black fruit, 2011 is fresh & supple, well integrated tannins giving pleasing gritty grip. Fraction shorter than stellar 2010 but lots to like.
Thelema ‘The Mint’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – 4 stars
Signature mint & dark chocolate notes on 2012 combine nicely with fresh black plums & cherries. Lovely ripe tannins & a savoury tweak at finish suggest endless food-matching possibilities.
Thelema Merlot 2012 – 4 stars
2012 gives plenty of dark fruits & overlay of violets & chocolate. Upfront tannins shield the full potential but long, spicy finish suggests patience will be rewarded.
Thelema Merlot Reserve 2012 – 4.5 stars
Occasional release is easily warranted in 2012 with lots of spice, leather, cooked plums & dried meat providing intriguing & concentrated core. Soft tannins add structure while oak (18 months, almost all new) asserts with fresh aniseed finish.
Thelema Shiraz 2012 – 4 stars
Fragrant & enticing 2012 mixes smoke, spice, leather & cherries with velvet-smooth tannins. Quite forthright & powerful now, definitely enough intensity to settle & improve.
Thelema Rabelais 2011 – 4.5 stars
Already appetising 2011 continues success of 2010 with heady & powerful combination of cab with 10% petit verdot. Warm, spicy aromas of liquorice, dark chocolate, cardamom spice lead to dense, dark berries with firm tannins & lengthy finish. For the long term.
Sutherland 2016 Platter Ratings
Sutherland Chardonnay Unwooded 2015 – 4 stars
2015 achieves wonderful balance between fruit, acid & alcohol. Fresh, zesty citrus with a touch of cream from lees-ageing, pears & melons all taking a turn at the finish.
Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – 4 stars
Pungent, vegetal 2015 pre-bottling leads on to plenty of tinned guavas & grapefruits. Intense citrus core, zesty acidity & good length suggest improvements on way.
Sutherland VR 2013 – 4.5 stars
Continuous improvement visible on 2013 () stepping up on lovely 2012 (also tasted) with poise & grace. Delicious melange of stonefruit (peaches, nectarines & more) with added interest of fresh almonds, ginger & nutmeg spice. 10 months in oak, none new.
Sutherland Syrah 2011 – 4 stars
Step-up 2011 is a serious player with more chops than 2010. Handles 15.5% alcohol well, wrapping it up in velvety black plums & cherries with ripe tannins asserting at finish. Elgin fruit, as all this range.