|I was contacted by Great Wine Online, UK importers of the wines from
Rickety Bridge in South Africa, and asked if I'd like to taste their range.
Vine growing on Rickety bridge's farm can be traced back to 1829, and today the farm is a popular wedding and conference centre as well as producing wine.
Based in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, fruit for some wines is purely from Franschhoek, whilst others blend fruit from Stellebosch and surrounding areas.
Rickety Bridge Duncan's Creek Chenin Blanc 2006
At one pound less than Rickety Bridge's regular Chenin Blanc I presume this is a second line, perhaps made with bought-in fruit rather than estate-grown? The nose is rather flat, with a slight damp wool character, and a background of gently toasty, apply fruit. On the palate this has plenty of sweetness, with quite a mouth-filling, almost tropical fruitiness, and a lean, quite pithy acidity sitting alongside. I find the acidity just slightly prominent, but it is a juicy, uncomplicated wine. £5.95
Rickety Bridge Chenin Blanc 2006
This screw-capped, 13.5% alcohol Chenin comes from the coastal region of South Africa, and has a very appealing nose, where bright, juicy apple is rounded out with a hint of fatter, more tropical fruit, and a hint of oatmeal. On the palate there is a massive hit of fruit sweetness, with that tropical, very ripe character to the to the fore, before a sweep of acidity cuts through. This wine is dry (only 1.1 g/l residual sugar) but there's just a touch of sweet/sour character about it. There's also a nice spicy component in the finish, in a wine that packs quite a lot of personality. £6.95
Rickety Bridge Sauvignon Blanc 2006
I'm a fan of South African Sauvignon Blanc, and this screwcapped wine from Franschhoek weighs in with a surprisingly light 12.7% alcohol. The nose has moderately distinctive Sauvignon aromatics, though it is not overtly herbal or pungent, it does have a little green fig edge to otherwise quite straightforward lemony fruit. On the palate it is quite weighty and textural, with some juicy, sweet, exotic melon and guava fruit, and a suggestion of waxy lime and lemon. Acidity is nicely integrated on this wine, which is moderately long and well-balanced. A good example of the style this. £6.95
Rickety Bridge Semillon 2004
This 2004 Semillon was aged in small French oak barrels, only around 18% of which were new. The nose has plenty of creamy vanillin quality, but there's a buttery quality too from very ripe fruit, as well as plenty of honey and almost minty ripe fruit. There's a slightly rotten orange note too, that I sometimes find in very ripe Semillon. On the palate the creamy, quite custardy oak is quickly joined by sweet, ripe, fruit that is at the same time clean and quite crisp, with a white fruit and citrus character. This is a gentle wine, with modest acidity but enough to keep it fresh and appealing. In the finish, the spice and almost marmalady tang of the fruit and oak gives this some added interest. £7.95
Rickety Bridge Chardonnay 2004
This Chardonnay was quite heavily worked in the winery: after fermentation in stainless steel tanks the wine was transferred to French oak barrels (22% of which were new) for 12 weeks of twice-daily lees stirring, followed by a further 14 months of barrel ageing. It has a fairly deep golden colour, and a deep nose of honey and melting butter, and a sense of ripe, though not particularly bright fruit. The whole picture is slightly herbal and mealy, with some notes of dried seeds and slightly dank, dill-like aromas. On the palate there is more obvious fruit ripeness and sweetness, and although this wine remains rather more nutty and herbal than overtly fruity, it has decent length and enough savoury quality to play against the sweet fruit. £7.95
Rickety Bridge Duncan's Creek Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Matured in second fill and older French oak barrels for 12 months, and weighing in with only 12.6% alcohol, this has a pleasant berry-fruited nose, with a touch of creaminess and some leathery, slightly gamy background notes. On the palate this has a certain attack, with a rasp of tannins and very firm, if slightly furry and indistinct fruit. It is rustic and certainly has a bit of character, and finishes with decent balance. Needs food to tame its slightly rough edges. £6.95