Friday, June 13, 2014

Audacia: Forward Red Wines From Stellenbosch South Africa

I spent months planning my recent trip to South Africa, but I left some wiggle room for the inevitable hiccups. With a trip of this magnitude, my wife and I needed the freedom to explore whatever things sprung up and enticed us.

I scheduled a few tastings well in advance (Vilafonté, Warwick, Stark-Condé), but I also find it fun to roll up to an unknown winery in completely random fashion. These accidental tastings can introduce one to wines that are eye-opening, mediocre, downright bad or some combination of all three. But these tastings are always educational and worthwhile.

I stumbled upon Audacia because the winery also hosted a weekend market, and my wife likes to shop. While she was checking out local crafts, I spent a half-hour in the tasting room bullshitting with a nice bru at the bar about wine and surfing. 

I found the wines to be fun, a bit simple, but I was really impressed with the flagship Cabernet Franc, which I think deserves some serious attention.

Audacia wines have a silky, forward, open style, with notes of cola and sweet fruit. Audacia calls itself a boutique red wine outfit, which rings true because they produce only reds and in relatively small amounts.

Here are my notes on a few fun Audacia reds…

2011 Audacia Merlot - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Sweet red licorice and smoke on the nose. Tangy, with fresh raspberries and soft tannins. Lively, with notes of eucalyptus and mint. My wife had a glass of this with dinner at The Big Easy in Stellenbosch and enjoyed it a lot. (85 points)

2012 Audacia Cabernet Sauvignon - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Aromas of currant, mint, cola and violets. Creamy on the palate with fleshy currants, mint, cedar and tobacco. (86 points)

2011 Audacia Shiraz - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Lots of smoke, charcoal and olives on top of the blueberry and cedar aromas. Silky, fruity, pulpy, with flavors of blueberry, smoke and cedar. Quite deep, but ultimately a refreshing Syrah that is good to go now. (87 points)

2010 Audacia Cabernet Franc - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Smells of cola, cedar, flowers, earth, very sexy. Fleshy but tangy on the palate. Raspberry and red currant mix with sweet coffee, tobacco, mint and eucalyptus. Long and ageworthy, but so sexy right now. Love this sweet cola and herbal combo. Surprisingly tasty and exciting. (89 points)

N.V. Audacia Jete - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
Smells like sweet, candied berries. Juicy red fruit on the palate along with smoke, earth and sweet wood. Residual sugar makes this a bit goopy, but it’s still fun and I could see this being a hit with a lot of casual drinkers. A blend of Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. (80 points)

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