Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2009, Wo Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bordeaux meets South Africa in this red blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. Maturation taking place in 225L French oak (60% new and 40% 2nd fill) for 18 months, a variety of cultured yeasts were used, a light fining and filtration was applied just before bottling and alcohol comes in at 13.5%.

An interesting bouquet to be sure, with aromas of blackberry, dark plum, blackcurrant, dried mushroom, tobacco leaf, vanilla, toast, gamey and a hint of barnyard. On the mouthfeel, medium bodied with a silky smooth texture, balanced acidity and soft tannins. Medium length on the finish with soft seductive fruit, farmy/leathery character lingering.

These wine descriptors are not usually associated with this kind of blend, the earthy funk and the soft maturing character of this wine leads me to believe that Brettanomyces or Bret (a wine fault) is at play here. In moderation, Bret can add complexity and give the wine a more mature feel in a young wine but when out of control the wine would be clearly undrinkable. For me, the level of Bret gives me quite an oral experience which I find charming. So is the finish, very smooth and soft, almost too easy to drink. In the end the bottle was empty way to fast and I quite enjoyed it. Score 88 points.

Purchased December 28, 2012 at the SAQ (10678384) at $22.95


  1. Paul.

    You're most likely right on the Bret side. South African wines suffer a ton from it. Some winemakers defend small amounts of it, some even rely on it a bit. Others, like Rudi Schultz, believe it is a scourge in South African wines that needs to be eradicated. I don't think I've had any of his own wines or Thelema's (where he's the head winemaker)that have displayed the qualities. You easily picked up on a fault that I personally believe prevents SA wines from truly reaching their "golden age".

  2. Yes, brett is a very controversial subject in the wine world and not only common in South Africa but Italy and France (Rhône and Langedoc) and elsewhere. Even if I think that in a small amount it may add complexity, brett is still a spoilage yeast that should not be allowed to take residence in the cellar. Once it does, it is very hard to get rid of, it easily flourishes in wine barrels, wood ceilings even employees clothing. Brett is often a sign of a lack of hygiene in the winery. Brett also invites another problem, unique bottle variation. Andrew, you are correct, better not to invite a yeast with multiple personalities.