A Pinotage that’s all fruit and curves and perpetual smiling

Manley Estate’s Pinotage is all fruit and soft curves and perpetual smiling — and I can’t help wishing it’d make me work a bit harder

Closeup of the Manley Estate label — fairly traditional line drawing of vineyardManley, it’s not you; it’s me. You’re great. Really, I mean it. It’s just — well — you’re just too nice.

I like wines that make me work a bit. Not a lot, you understand (I’m way too lazy for that) — but a tad. And there’s something about Manley Estate’s Pinotage that is a bit too easy. It puts itself on a plate for me. Not, you understand, literally (although that would be fine: I’m happy to take my wine from whatever receptacle presents itself), but, y’know, metaphorically.

That’s not to say Manley is bad. It’s really not at all. It’s all fruit and soft buy furosemide tablets curves and perpetual smiling. I’d just like to see what it looks like with a frown on its face, too.

Christ, enough with the metaphors, Parn.

So, yeah. Fine. Easy to drink. Quite full. Smiley. Could do with more brusqueness. A tad expensive. But fine. Nice.

Oh Manley. When this is all over, I do hope we can still be friends.

This bottle was received as a free sample from Naked Wines

Rating ?? 2 stars (fair)
Region Tulbagh
Grape Pinotage
ABV 14.5%
Price The 2009 is sold out, but the 2010 costs £13.99 from Naked Wines (£10.49 for members)

Mauricio Lorca, Angel’s Reserve Malbec review

… is one angel that takes a while to grow on you — metamorphosing from an empty disappointment to a rather pleasant gob filler

The label of a bottle of Angel's Reserve — decorated with a tribal drawing of a bird

Well, here’s a thing.

You may remember (but may not, given the alcohol-marinated state of your brain) that, a few weeks back, we minced a word or two on the subject of the Angel’s Reserve Torrontes — also made by Mr Lorca.

Now, I rather liked that Torrontes.

But here’s the Malbec. And my first impressions, honestly, weren’t great. I cracked the blighter open, and snouted/throated a few doses. And found it, well, kind of empty. There’s a spiky brambliness to it around the sides and at the front of your mouth, but it dies away very swiftly.

So I plugged up Mauricio’s Malbec and shoved it to one side. Not aggressively, mind. I’m a mild and moderate chap, as you’ll scarcely need telling. But there may have been a touch of pique, nevertheless, in that shove. For I was disappointed.

Spool forward a couple of days, and you join your chum the Parnmeister as he stuffs a bunch of grated-courgette-coated pasta into his ravenous maw. And is grasped by a mighty thirst. Blindly, his quivering arm reaches out, only to encounter that same bottle of Angel’s Reserve.

And — what know’st thou? — it’s one hell of a lot nicer, tonight. That back-and-sides quality of day one has mellowed into a proper ol’ gobfiller. It’s softer, rounder, fuller: it’s gone to seed in the best way imaginable.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not transformed into a blinder. But it’s transformed into rather a pleasant way to keep my mouth busy (in the scheme of things, y’know).

So, yeah. Even Angels, it seems, can take a while to grow on you.

Rating ★★ 2 stars (a kind of averaged-out rating, here)
Region Mendoza
Grape Malbec
ABV 14%
Price £8.99 from Naked Wines (£5.99 to members)