Saturday, January 31, 2009

Eagles Nest Constantia Wines high ratings by Miguel Chan

Eagles Nest, one of the latest winery to join the Constantia Valley wine route is perched high up on Constantia Berg mountain on the way to Hout Bay.

They make the one and only Viognier in Constantia Valley and focuses on Shiraz as well, both are excellent and highly recommended, fit for listing in fine dining or for one’s own cellar.

The Merlot is more a case of house wife dinner wine, uncomplicated and easy quaffing, with no pretension.

2006 Eagles Nest Shiraz 88 Points
Dark cherry red, with a vibrant purple rim.

Typical moderate climate Shiraz character (South Africa is not a Cool climate viticulture area, it’s moderate at it’s “coolest” to warm and very hot, the further inland it gets to the sea, do not believe misleading comments from viticulturist, winemakers and worst of all marketing and sales people, who keep on using the term cool climate viticulture, let’s save this term for Patagonia, Oregon, Central Otago, Burgundy or Mosel……)

Darker colour than the 2005 with dark cherry red and a vibrant bright purple rim.
Ripe nose of prunes, blueberries and hints of wet soil, spicy fragrant melange of nutmeg and cloves, with complex lead pencil mineral, with delicate sour plum acidity lending freshness.

Concentrated and fat, but oozes elegance, with good fruit structure without being overripe or sunburnt (which sadly is the case in up to 80% of Cape Shiraz), notes of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate intermingle with creamy texture and ripe tannins, is very well meshed with the lingering spicy finished. Slightly rustic Rhône in character, a huge step above the already fine 2005, shows a very fine panache between New World fruitiness and Old World structure.

This is a fantastic food wine made from second crop, off 4 year old vines, grown on terraces “à la Côte Rôtie”, the one of it’s kind in Constantia Valley and very rare in the Cape, at an easterly facing elevation of between 200 and 400 metres above sea level.

19 months in three different coopers of second fill French oak barrels were use, to retain the fruit and preserve the delicate structure.

Definitely a Shiraz to watch as vines grow older and better root system seeking out the minerals of Constantia soil, imagine what this label could be in 10/15 years from now……

Sealed under screw cap, which is great move to be applauded

Now until 2016
Tasted 30 January 2008

Tomato Catering suggest
“Poached free range chicken supreme in chicken stock, served with whole baby spring potato and french beans dressed in black truffle shavings and fresh cream emulsion”

2006 Eagles Nest Viognier 90 Points

First of it’s kind moderate climate Viognier, in the Cape, as most Viognier are grown and made in the hot ward of Wellington, Paarl, Robertson and also warm district of Stellenbosch and it’s ward.

Cape Viognier are powerful, rich in glycerine and high turbo charged alcohol, it’s not unusual to find Viognier from these regions between 15 and 16.5 alcohol by volume, though they had immediate appeal when 6 month old, but they aged poorly and tends to fall apart after +/- 18 month……… and last but not least they are a disaster with food, the only thing I can think of is to soak fresh peach, apricot and plum in them and make a dessert with whipped cream………

So this maiden release from Eagles Nest, shows lovely peach and apricot, is jasmine scented, and hints of pine honey, reminiscent of a New Zealand’s Viognier ( Hawkes Bay region).

Fresh, rich, oily, mouth filling palate, excellent integration of the fruit, acid, oak and alcohol only 14.28%, still integrating, lingering white stone fruit pip, along with tell tale Viognier tannins, very much present on the back palate.

Crisp and elegant, very subtle finish, drink now until 2010+, it just get better and better in bottle, this is partly due to a very good PH of only 3.1

This is another fantastic food wine, oozing elegance and finesse, as well as structured complexity, the fruit comes from second crop off 4 year old vines, in two north easterly facing vineyard.

7 months in second and third fill, combination of wild yeast for two third of the must and the other one third inoculated with a cultured yeast strain.

Only 4400 bottles made.

Last re-tasted 29 January 2009

These 2 great Constantia and Cape wines above, is not only the results of great site, which still have not reveal it’s full potential yet, but the hard work of the then very humble resident winemaker and viticulturist Steve Roche, who has since left for Canada as vineyard manager at Hidden Bench vineyards & winery.

Tomato Catering suggest
Confit of pork cheek with veal sweetbread terrine, sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and crisp micro greens and grilled peach.