Made you look!
Are you a score whore? This was a test and only a test. Did you really believe there was a 100-point Napa Cabernet Sauvignon selling for $15? Even if you didn’t, you still clicked on the headline to find out what it was all about.
Consider all the red flags in that headline. A 100-point score means it’s a perfect wine. Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is a favorite here at FranksWine and to most wine lovers. And a price tag of 15 bucks? Who doesn’t love a bargain? Put those all together and it’s the Mother of All Wine Headlines.
So why did I do it? I know most people are a sucker for flashy headlines… and my original subject line “$99 Case of South African Gems” didn’t quite have the same cache. Face it, South African wines are just not popular. I needed a headline to at least give me a shot at telling you about three great wines from Man Vintners.
When I met Tyrell Myburgh at a trade tasting in Baltimore earlier this year I knew he had some challenges in the wine biz. How does this South African Winemaker expect to attract my wine customers and steer them away from our California, Italian, French, South American, Australian, Spanish, Oregon, Washington, German and New Zealand wine sections at the shop? On some weeks we actually sell more Greek wine than South African! For starters he has a great personality and we hit it off immediately… that’s always key. Here’s what he had to say while I tasted through his entire portfolio of wines…
Marie, Anette & Nicky
It all started as a simple plan: to make a wine that we’d love to buy. We wanted quality wine that offered excellent value and great packaging. Not exactly an epiphany, perhaps, but enough to motivate us into action.
Of course, first we had to come up with a name. To keep peace in the families, we took our wives’ initials (we each have one wife) – that is how we explained to Marie, Anette and Nicky that we were going to be “busy” most weekends. “It’s for you!” we told them. And mostly it’s true.
We are José Conde and brothers Tyrrel and Philip Myburgh. We started making wine together in 2001. We’re further supported by a group of dedicated grape growers from the Agter-Paarl region.
From our first 500 cases made in a tractor shed, we have grown to producing over 175,000 cases per year and exporting to 25 countries. Our biggest selling wines are our Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, but our area is well known also for Shiraz and Pinotage. And we think our other wines are pretty good, too.
Director and Main MAN
Married to Marie
José (partner) spent 10 years in New York City and five in Tokyo only to realize that what he really wanted was to live in a small town at the tip of Africa. He is the owner/winemaker of the award-winning Stark-Condé Wines in Stellenbosch, his Cabernet Sauvignons have twice been chosen as Platter five-star wines and each has been rated 90 points or more by Wine Spectator magazine.
Director and Cellar Master
Married to Anette
Tyrrel (winemaker, partner) is the youngest member of the team and therefore has to do most of the work. His philosophy degree comes in very handy when cleaning out the tanks. He is a fifth-generation farmer in Paarl and together with his brother Philip (who is married to Nicky) is the owner/winemaker of the award-winning Joostenberg Wines.
Older Brother and Founding Partner
Married to Nicky
Philip is Tyrrel’s older brother and the (self-described) better-looking and smarter sibling. Less involved in the daily running of MAN Vintners, Philip is currently pursuing his career as an Advocate at the Cape High Court. Philip’s historic family home (built in 1756) provides the venue for many a raucous MAN party.
If you’re in the neighborhood we’ll have this South African trio of deliciousness open all week long at the shop … and will carry on through 4pm Sunday! Pop in for a taste and pick up a 12 pack… we’ve got ’em packed up and ready to roll. On Saturday Kevin Mullarkey will be in the shop from 11am – 3pm pouring and talking about the winery… come in to chat and taste with him! And next time I have a boring subject line like “$99 Case of South African Gems” throw me a bone and open’er up!
A modern style red made from 90% Pinotage that showcases the best Pinot Noir-like characteristics of this indigenous grape. Juicy bright fruits, soft tannins and a perfumed nose make this a very accessible Pinotage.
From the winemaker:
In order to focus on the generous fruit notes and full body, yet keep this softer and lighter than many Pinotages, we co-fermented a portion of the Pinotage with Viognier and blended in some Shiraz. Just a touch of oak maturation means the result is delicate and pretty, with beautiful red berry flavours, a hint of cinnamon and very gentle tannins.
The sweet flavours of the Pinotage makes the wine hold its own with most poultry or bold meat dishes – even spicy curries. And it’s the best accompaniment to summer barbecue we know!
Pinotage 2009: “88 points: silky and juicy,” Stephen Tanzer.
From the winemaker:
The Agter-Paarl region is known for its characteristic “winegum” character – a very pure “grapey” fruit expression. We co-ferment some batches with a small portion of Viognier grapes to lift the aromatics and soften the tannins. 20% of the wine matures in small oak barrels for that hint of vanilla spice on the nose and to give extra encouragement to silky tannins. All in all, we like to think we’ve made a really great wine – and it helps to know that so many other people think so too.
Great with bold meat dishes, strong cheese and any other dish that needs a wine that can stand up to it.
Shiraz 2009: “88 points: immediate appeal,” Stephen Tanzer.
Vibrant with fresh acidity, MAN Vintners Sauvignon Blanc is wonderfully refreshing! A lively bouquet and tropical fruit notes, which really make the wine stand apart from its often too green and grassy peers.
From the winemaker:
Our Sauvignon Blanc is one of the few wines where we bring in grapes from outside our growing region – fruit from the cooler coastal vineyards of Stellenbosch and Durbanville add fruit intensity. The 10% Semillon also helps the wine age well in the bottle. As with all our wines, we only choose grapes with a very concentrated flavour, so you enjoy a refreshingly crisp wine with a generous bouquet of pineapple and lime.
A great sipper… or try sushi, salads or fish dishes alongside a chilled glass.
Sauvignon Blanc 2010: “88 points: juicy and intense,” – Stephen Tanzer.