So Ian Naudé (pronounced "No Deer") was doing the rounds in town showing off his range. I was lucky enough to get to the family and friends tasting (tonight is the "wine people' tasting) and so mixed in with a bunch of saffers in the cellars of Handford Wine. Naudé White Blend 2009 £18 (£16 on the night) Slightly reductive nose. Classy and promising. Fresh citrus pith, mild vegetal notes which then get swept up by an oxidative wave of dried fruit. Complexity here maybe the blend (SB, Chenin, Semillon) partly responsible for this veritable melange. Revisiting the palate we have quince, gooseberry and grapes. The finish is a little fatigued and downbeat, I would say, but a decent wine. Naudé Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013 £35 (£29 on the night) Ooh! What have we here?! A struck match mild reduction nose reminds me of Leflaive/Coche. Flinty and fabulous. The palate is mineral laden, some hydrocarbon thing here – not petrol, but maybe diesel or paraffin? Not sure, but it sure adds a tension and a steeliness. The palate is long here, and another slightly oxidative wave comes in to add some texture and interest in the mid-end palate. Then the finish – oh my – there’s an ethereal perfume that lingers for quite some time – as though Mary Archer had wafted through the room. Enchanting! I can see why people like this. OK, so it’s just wine, but a very good one. Really rather Burgundian – those fleeing the dreaded POX might do well to check this out. Naudé Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015 (£33, £29 on the night) Very different to the 2013. Much more tropical fruit. Perhaps unfair to compare to the 2013, as in my mind, the 13 is a cut above. I’m sure that tasted alone, this would be a super wine, and it seems very well mannered and correct. A good example of the excellent work being done with Steen these days ;-) Naudé (old vine?) Semillon 2014 £33 (£29 on the night) Green apples, lime pith, mild hint of egg. This is very classical Semillon in a Bordelais style. Coats the tongue beautifully. Wonderful silky textures and all sorts of things in there including fresh green pepper, bergamot, lemongrass. I feel that it hasn’t really fully integrated yet, but this is definitely one to watch. This is certainly in the same league as the 2013 Chenin and suggests a great future. Naude Old Vine Cinsault 2014 £33 (£28 on the night) Apparently Cinsault had a very poor rep in South Africa until relatively recently, being well known as the main ingredient in student wines (I am told even lower ranked than the much maligned Blue Nun – perhaps more like buckfast?). Anyway, Ian thought there was potential and is one of the pioneers of the brave new Cinsault…. On first inspection, there’s very little on the nose. It’s spicy and light with a touch of tobacco (reminds me slightly of one of the more elegant Pinotages that I had years ago) but then I’m thinking this is more along the lines of a Loire Cab Franc. There’s a streak of greenness that works well to anchor the fruit, and a stalky quality in texture as well. A long finish. The more you have, the better it gets (and luckily the station next to me is unoccupied, so I indulge). A most intriguing wine this. Recommended. Naudé Old Vine Cinsault 2015 £33 (£26 on the night) A much bigger nose than the 2014. Seems that 2015 was a “big” vintage. Everyone said it was great for reds across Stellenbosch and Swartland, although I’m now getting a little bit nervous that it’s too big…. There’s a lot of fun here – Turkish delight, meat, liquorice, roasted berries. The palate is not as lovely as the 2014 (at least not now) and I guess this is one to lay down for goodness knows how long. Naudé Grenache 2017 (Handford Special) £15 (£13 on the night) Purpleosity abounds. Distinctive peppermint nose and some tart cherries on the nose. The palate is a rip-roaring mix of exuberant fruit that is bouncing around the palate like a wayward skittish colt, just finding its legs. You drink this and feel that it must reverse ageing. In some ways it reminds me of barrel samples/EP samples that are so delightful – but by the time it arrives in bottle, some of that verve has gone. So a bit like a Bojo Nouveau, I suspect this will divide opinions. At £13 I think it’s worth a try. We are told that the vines are only just about old enough to make wine with, and that this vineyard’s best years are ahead of it. Naudé Oldish Vine Grenache 2014 £33 (£26 on the night) Wow – a nose of zingy violets – parma violets even. A lively palate follows. I seem to have slightly short-changed this one in terms of notes! Adoro Red Blend 2007 £20 (£16 on the night) Ah ha – smells like New World Claret! Quite a BBQ meats thing going on here along with the blackberries. It’s a very decent wine, but not so distinctive in a very crowded space (Meerlust and Rustenberg can also do this). OK value for money, but not my kind of thing. Sweet Mourvedre 2017 £16 (£14 on the night) Extraordinary! Just so delicious and fruity. I would have guessed a fortified wine, but no – it’s very very ripe grapes that have been fermented to 14%. Still it’s quite light Porty/Mauryesque in style but without the headache. Result! So what do we think of Ian and his wines? Well, I’m a fan – a really nice and modest guy (so many of them around in that part of the world) with some wines of real elegance and finesse. It’s amusing that he set out, back in the days of the dawning of the Swartland Revolution along with Eben Sadie, to do something different and unique to the region, yet seems to have ended up almost recreating the great classics. The Chenin 2013 probably the pick of these wines in terms of how they were showing tonight (and apparently a very common ringer among the burgophiles of 67 Pall Mall). Also the Cinsault 2014, which is a sneaky deceptive wine. If you try this, I would say (more than with most wines) to try and have it in isolation over the course of an hour or so to let it say its stuff. It’s a quiet wine, but worth listening to (hey, can I get a place in pseud’s corner, please?!).