Friday, February 27, 2009

Paul Cluver Overall winner in Riesling tasting

Friday, February 27, 2009 by Shirley de Kock & Associates

Paul Cluver's Elgin Estate has emerged overall winner and winner of two of three categories in the Just Riesling wine tasting organized this year as part of the International Riesling festival at The Cellars Hohenort Hotel, Constantia.

The tasting panel comprised Cathy van Zyl MW (chair), Miguel Chan, Tim James, Ingrid Motteux, Ginette de Fleuriot and Angela Lloyd, with Ernst Loosen, Egon Müller, Josef Knorr from Weingut Bründlmayer, Helmut Dönnhoff, Dirk van der Niepoort and Philipp Wittmann, representing the international community.

Just Riesling's aim is to raise the profile of the Riesling grape, and showcase its perfect partnership to the South African way of life, climate and cuisine, with a focus on the technical advancement of the plant material and research.

Winning the two categories it entered - there were 26 entries overall - the 2008 Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest was the overall winner.

Leading the category under 10 grams of sugar per litre was the Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling 2008, followed by Thelema Sutherland Riesling 2009 and Villiera Woolworths Riesling 2007;

in the category 31 g/litre and above, the Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2008 took poll position with De Wetshof Edeloes 1991 and 1998 in second and third places.

Jordan Riesling 2006, Thelema Riesling 2007 and Deetlefs Weisser Riesling 2008 were the winners in the Category for 11-31 g/litre.

According to Tim James, writing in Grape, "the Cluver double-triumph was may be easy to anticipate, given a halfway-decent judging job.

Andries Burger has shown himself to be the most sensitive crafter of Riesling in the country, and this Elgin property regularly turns out immensely palatable, elegant dryish Rieslings which develop well for a good few years, as well as one of the best Noble Late Harvest wines in the country, of any variety (Riesling gives Andries a head start, of course!), which have been widely acclaimed internationally".

For the Cluvers it is a great accolade.

Says Paul Cluver; "This kind of recognition from the best producers of Riesling in the world is fantastic. It is encouraging to know that our Rieslings showed well as this is only the beginning of what promises to be a very exciting journey for us".

The Just Riesling Challenge

Article Courtesy of Claire Lockey

The Just Riesling Challenge - international producers select South African winners

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia hosted the Just Riesling Association's Riesling Challenge on Sunday, 22nd February 2009.

The Association took advantage of the presence in South Africa of top international producers Ernst Loosen, Egon Müller, Josef Knorr from Weingut Bründlmayer, Helmut Dönnhoff, Dirk van der Niepoort and Philipp Wittmann.

The producers who judged the competition were in South Africa on invitation from Sommelier Jörg Pfützner, as part of Under the Influence of Riesling Festival 2009 which ran from the 19th to the 22nd February in Johannesburg and Cape Town.South African judges chosen for the panel were Cathy van Zyl, Jeanette de Fleuriot, Angela Lloyd, Tim James, Ingrid Motteux and Cellars Hohenort Sommelier, Miguel Chan.

South African producersAll South African Riesling producers were invited to send in their entries to the competition with a total of 26 entrants in the competition.

The entrants entered their wines under Rhine/Weisser Rieslings and Noble Late Harvests and the competition was audited by Michael van Wyk, partner at Deloittes and Touches.

Categories were divided into residual sugars 0-10g, 11-30g and 31g< and the winners have been listed as followed:

0-10g residual sugar

1. Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling 2008
2. Thelema Rhine Riesling 2008

3. Villiera 2008

11-30g residual sugar

1. Jordan Riesling 2006
2. Thelema Rhine Riesling 2007
3. Deetlefs Riesling 2008

31g and higher residual sugar

1. Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2008
2. De Wetshof Noble Late Harvest 1991
3. De Wetshof Noble Late Harvest 1998

Said of the South African producers, Wittmann felt that standards they experienced at the competition were very much in line with their overall expectations for South African Rieslings looking at the soils and climatic conditions.

He acknowledged that the obvious climatic variances made the difference in achieving the archetypal Riesling.

Just Riesling holds inaugural Riesling Competition

Just Riesling

Media release

24 February 2009

Just Riesling holds inaugural Riesling Competition
Six local judges were joined by six renowned international riesling producers at Cellars Hohenort hotel, last Sunday 22nd February, to assess a line-up of 26 local rieslings.

The contest was organised by the Just Riesling association, formed in January 2007 by a group of riesling producers in the Cape, with the aim of furthering the interest of this noble variety.

The wines were divided into three categories:

DRY (under 10 grams per litre of residual sugar),

OFF-DRY (between 11 and 30g/ ℓ), .

SWEET (above 30g/ ℓ) - all of which were in the botrytised Noble Late Harvest style.

Most wines were from the 2005 to 2008 vintages, but a few older examples were included in the sweet class.

The first three places overall were taken by sweet wines, headed by the Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2008, and followed by 2 vintages of De Wetshof Edeloes - the 1991 and the 1998 – in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Winemaker Andries Burger’s Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling 2008 also led the dry category, just pipping Thelema’s
2008 Sutherland offering, also from cool Elgin, while Jordan 2006 was 1st in the off-dry category.

Panelist and winemaker from legendary Mosel producer Dr Loosen, Ernst Loosen was fairly impressed with the line-up, considering many “pretty attractive”, especially those in the sweet category.

Other panelists included international judges: fellow Germans Hermann Donnhoff, Egon Muller & Philipp Wittmann, Austria’s Willi Brundlmayer, and Dirk van der Niepoort from Portugal’s Douro Valley;
and local judges: Cathy van Zyl MW (chair), Miguel Chan, Ginette de Fleuriot CWM, Tim James, Angela Lloyd & Ingrid Motteux.

The producers involved in this association intend to meet the challenge of raising the standard of local rieslings by advancing viticultural and oenological research, as well as increasing awareness of the variety by holding such competitions in future.

Issued by Just Riesling

Contact: Thea Ackermann
021-689 5797

Additional Information

Overall Winners
1. Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2008
2. De Wetshof Edeloes 1991
3. De Wetshof Edeloes 1998
4. Jordan Riesling 2006

Category Winners

DRY <10g/ℓ residual sugar:

1. Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling 2008
2. Thelema Sutherland Riesling 2008
3. Villiera Woolworths Riesling 2007

OFF-DRY 11 - 30g/ ℓ residual sugar:

1. Jordan Riesling 2006
2. Thelema Rhine Riesling 2007
3. Deetlefs Weisser Riesling 2008

SWEET >31g / ℓ residual sugar:

1. Paul Cluver NLH 2008
2. De Wetshof Edeloes 1991
3. De Wetshof Edeloes 1998

Just Riesling committee members:

Paul Cluver, Paul Cluver Wines
Paddy Bomford, Hartenberg Estate
Lowell Jooste, Klein Constantia
Gary Jordan, Jordan Wines
Bruce Jack, Flagstone

Santam Classic Wine Trophy

Article courtesy of GQ Magazine South Africa

01 Mar 2009
Santam Classic, Wine Trophy

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meerendal Vertical Tasting of Pinotage and Shiraz 1969 - 2008

Meerendal celebrates forty years of bottled wine in South Africa!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The exact day that Meerendal was granted to Free
Burger Jan Meerland in 1702, a big celebration took place at Meerendal Estate.

As part of the South African Wine Industry's 350 years celebration, Meerendal has added its celebration:

It is forty years ago since the first release appeared under the Meerendal label in 1969, a Pinotage and a Shiraz, Meerendal was also one of only a handful estate that started bottling wine in the 1960's through KWV, of relevance it’s important to note that Meerendal was also one of the original 14 wine estates proclaimed in 1973, when the Wine of Origin system was established.

Being the only Certified Sommelier present, I felt honoured and fortunate enough to be invited and rubbed shoulders (discreetly of course, it is a fact that good Sommelier, should always be modest, humble and down to earth, after all we are only wine servants…..) alongside South Africa’s most respected Wine writers, some of the Cape most experience winemakers, Industry leaders, Cape Wine Masters, owners of Fine Wine Shops at this famous Estate in Durbanville to celebrate.

We sat down in the cellar to a fascinating vertical tasting of Meerendal Pinotage and Shiraz spanning the forty years. It included those 1969 wines as well as a selection of Vintages from the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and the 2000's to mark this historic occasion.

Both the Pinotage and the Shiraz are amongst a handful Cape wines worthy of listings in any fine dining environment of the world’s best establishment, or from a private collectors perspective, they show balance, finesse, elegance with just the right amount of so call New World fruitiness, but above all the structure to improve and mature with cellaring.

The fine acidity and savoury character in both wines throughout the vintages was another bonus, when it comes to pairing with foods.

After that tasting, there is one thing that further support an ongoing personal observations of the past 5 years, yes great Cape wines do have the aptitude to age and improve with time, showing multifaceted complexity, the 1969 on both were still in pristine condition as well as all the 70’s and 80’s and I must admit it’s the oldest still wine from South Africa, I have tasted to date, and there was so much to learn about the evolution of one of the most fascinating wine producing countries of the world, if the wines of the 60’s to mid 90’s were all low in alcohol +/- 13% alc, the wines from 1995 were all over 14% alc with some past 15% alc, which is a worldwide trend and obsession with full phenolic ripeness as well as global warming, adding it’s shares in the equation.

This is a growing misconception amongst restaurant patrons, as well as a handful of Sommeliers about the age ability of Cape wines, in general yes 97 % will not see the 5 - 8 years old mark from vintage, but the remaining 3 % certainly have the legs and structure, to improve well over that period, and rubbed shoulders with the world’s best in terms of longevity and I believe we as Sommeliers should be as good an educator as possible to our patrons, and help in the process, of better understanding mature Cape wines with food pairings.

Certainly after tasting this line up and closely analysing the co-relation between Total Acid and pH, of each wine tasted, there was indeed very little variation between the wines made in 1969 all the way up to the latest vintage in barrel, therefore I must conclude that the doubt about the modern wine if they will age as well as their predecessor, I would say YES, with no doubt and actually, the modern wine will have an edge in 40 years time (2005 - 2008) as their fruit concentration is much more saturated, hence will last longer, (well if kept under optimum cellaring condition) after this line up there is one things that needs to be applauded in the Meerendal Pinotage and Shiraz, is the quest for balance wines, irrespective of change of winemakers and this is more a proof of terroir influence rather than man influence. The vines have happy feet.

Balance wines is the key for longevity, further complimented by the age of the vines, these are 2 wines that should be on any respected wine list of the world’s finest dining address, as they epitomise the greatness of the Cape know how, they are for sure amongst my list of top 100 South African wines I can recommend, to the most demanding wine connoisseurs, at a click of a finger.

The unique and interesting factor in the Pinotage tasting, was all the wines were made
from grapes from the same vineyard, planted by Kosie Starke in 1955 that is still producing fabulous fruit, its 6.2 hectares in size with 18041 bush vines.

The vineyard is called the "Heritage Block" hence the name on the label and the planting material came from the original stock of vines from the father of Pinotage, Prof Abraham Perold. The Starke family was good friends of Prof Perold.

History, heritage, respect of traditions, proof of ageability, all the factors required to sell that special bottle, to create a unique wine experience in a fine dining context.

To further cement this historic occasion cuttings were taken from the Heritage Block Pinotage vines, last year and 350 young vines have been propagated by Cape Vines that will be ready to plant in a special location next to the Heritage Block in August 2009.

In this way the heritage and legacy of Pinotage at Meerendal will be ensured as it is also part of the festivities of South African Wine 350 Years.

The tasting was concluded with a great surprise - the first tasting of the Meerendal
Methode Cap Classique Sparkling wine - a Blanc de Blanc 100% Chardonnay MCC from the 2007 vintage.

My Tasting Note of the 2007 Meerendal Méthode Cap Classique Brut - 85 Points

“Pale, brilliant, lively mousse, expressive and very fragrant aromas for a Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay, sweet oak character along with a medley of delicately ripe citrus fruit and orange blossoms, good attack with tight acidity, well complimented with leesy character, broad mouth feel, long length, very good debut, will improved with cellaring when the faint nutty character, present now will be more pronounce and adds to the overall complexity of the wine.
A must have, well made Cap Classique, on the fruity side for now, great as an aperitif, but as the wine ages will be more suitable to serious and complex dishes, such as cream base infused with white truffles and crustaceans”. Only 2100 bottles made.
With an amazing low Ph of only 3,09 and a Total Acidity of 7,18, enjoy this MCC from winter 2009, but will also age very well, under optimum condition until around 2022+

The arrival of the Meerendal Bubbly was done in traditional style, with Meerendal's
Marketing manager Bennie Howard, Cape Wine Master, doing the Sabrage and Liza Goodwin, Cellar master, tasting the first glass and pouring it for the guests.

Here is the list of wines tasted on that very special day as well as my own tasting note and rating using the 100 point scoring system:

Current cellar price is approximately 30 Euros per bottle


Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1969 – 88 Points
Alc – 13.02 / Rs – 1.1 / Ta – 5.3 – pH – 3.69
Clear, deep mahogany, very earthy, pronounced cherry pip, complex, multilayered with minty character, pure preserved red fruit in kirsch, fresh, broad mouth feel. Now until 2014.

Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1972 – 90+ Points

Alc – 13.44 / Rs – 1.34 / Ta – 4.99 – pH – 3.7
Clear, day bright, mahogany red with brown rim, pronounced tea leaf character, fresh, ripe dark fruit, spicy, very long length. Now until 2014

Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1973 – 90+ Points
Alc – 13.55 / Rs – 1.87 / Ta – 4.51 – pH – 3.66
Clear, day bright, mahogany red with brown rim, medium plus concentration and medium plus viscosity, complex tea scent, lacquer, light soft palate, lingering spicy black pepper. Now until 2014.

Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1978 – 86+ Points

Alc – 12.17 / Rs – 1.32 / Ta – 5.03 – pH – 3.71
Clear, day bright, mahogany tea like colour, some sediment, medium concentration, high viscosity, Oolong tea scents, multidimensional, complex, earthy, lighter and less attack than 1981, hints of brown mushroom medley contributes to the overall complexity. Now until 2013

Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1981 – 91 Points
Alc – 12.71 / Rs – 1.05 / Ta – 5.93 – pH – 3.8
Clear, day bright, mahogany red with brown rim, some sediment, medium concentration, high viscosity, earthy, dry currants, tamarind like acidity, so pure and complex, with baked prunes aftertaste, excellent. Now until 2021

Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1989 – 88+ Points
Alc – 12.41 / Rs – 1.95 / Ta – 6.12 – pH – 3.41
Clear, day bright, mahogany red hue with brown rim, medium concentration and medium plus viscosity, complex, oaky, forest floor character adds dimension and charm, pure and fresh, Darjeeling tea leaf scents, very elegant overall. Now until 2024

Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1995 (Magnum) – 85 Points
Alc – 12.19 / Rs – 2.67 / Ta – 5.79 – pH – 3.4
Clear, day bright, mahogany red hue, brown rim, earthy, gamey, dried cured meat, Demerara sugar, soft palate structure, singing elegance, good length, with slight aftertaste of dry eucalyptus leaf, a treat. Will plateau for a long time due to lovely acidity, that gave the wine life, will not get better, optimum drinking now or until 2015

From 2005 the fruit comes from block 25 and is 4.8 hectares in size with 16012 vines

Meerendal Bin 159 Durbanville Shiraz 2005 – 87 Points
Alc – 15.1 / Rs – 3.1 / Ta – 6.3 / pH – 3.7 – Harvested 15 March, from block 25, planted in 2001 – 16 month in New French oak – Bottle 1st December 2006 – 5600 bottles were made.

1st official vintage of block 25. Clear, deep red, crimson hue, medium plus concentration and medium plus viscosity, fragrant ripe dark fruit, rosemary flower, very feminine, good tannic grip, lovely savoury texture with black olives notes, from now until 2052

Meerendal Bin 159 Durbanville Shiraz 2006 – 85 Points
Alc – 14.61 / Rs – 2.8 / Ta – 6.3 / pH – 3.65 – Harvested 9 March – 16 months in New French oak – Bottle on 18 January 2008 – 5600 bottles were made
Clear, bright, cherry red with purple rim, gamey earthy, expressive marmite / Bovril character, bright acidity, need time, from now until 2046

Meerendal Bin 159 Durbanville Shiraz 2007 - Barrel samples – 90 Points
Alc – 14.81 / Rs – 2.04 / Ta – 6.54 / pH – 3.57 – Harvested on the 14 March – 17 months in New French oak –Will be bottle April 2009
Clear, day bright, ruby red with purple rim, medium plus concentration and high viscosity, clean, earthy character predominate the dark fruit, complex savoury notes of black olives and sundried tomato, Rhône in style, very much a food wine, needs time to fully express, from 2012 until 2047

Meerendal Bin 157 Durbanville Shiraz 2008 - Barrel samples – 89 Points
Alc – 14.56 / Rs – 1.54 / Ta – 5.92 / Ph – 3.69 – Harvested on 12 March – New French oak.
Clear, bright, ruby red with purple rim, medium plus concentration and high plus viscosity, clean, fragrant, jammy red berries, toast, spicy mixture of cloves, cinnamon and coarse black pepper, ripe.
Fresh attack, good concentration, lovely oak structure, still integrating, from 2011 until 2053

My top 3 Shiraz of the day was:

1 - Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1981 – 91 Points
2 - Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1972 – 90+ Points
2 - Meerendal Durbanville Shiraz 1973 – 90+ Points
3 - Meerendal Bin 159 Durbanville Shiraz 2007 - Barrel samples – 90 Points

Tomato Catering Suggest:
A classic matured and 2 weeks marinated Angus beef rump roast, scented with garlic, lavender and thyme, served with panache of crunchy baby vegetables cooked in unsalted butter and peppered Shiraz gravy and Yorkshire pudding.


Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 1969 – 89 Points
Alc – 13.16 / Rs – 1.59 / Ta – 4.49 – pH – 3.78
Deep mahogany, some sediment, complex notes of cherry, prunes and earthy character, excellent length. Now until 2014

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 1970 – 87 Points
Alc – 13.72 / Rs – 1.88 / Ta – 4.23 – pH – 3.82
Mahogany hue, brown rim, medium plus concentration and medium viscosity, some sediment, initially austere, but thereafter unfold in a ripe / preserved cherry pip, this is a very delicate wine, that sings elegance and finesse, a food wine par excellence. Now until 2014.

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 1971 – 86+ Points
Alc – 12.3 / Rs – 1.79 / Ta – 4.88 – pH – 3.70
Deep mahogany, medium plus concentration, medium viscosity, sediment, soft structure, elegant, very fresh, difficult to say it’s a mature Pinotage, excellent.
Now until 2016

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 1978 – 83+ Points
Alc – 13.4 / Rs – 1.14 / Ta – 4.91 – pH – 3.78
Clear, with mahogany, brown sherry colour, earthy, complex dry cherry, prunes character well supported with acidity. Now until 2013

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 1981 – 86 Points
Alc – 13.02 / Rs – 1.1 / Ta – 5.3 – pH – 3.69
Clear, mahogany hue with brown rim, earthy character intermingles with preserved maraschino cherries, fresh and savoury.
Now until 2026

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 1982 – 88+ Points
Alc – 13.37 / Rs – 1.8 / Ta – 5.59 – pH – 3.54
Clear, bright, with mahogany hue, medium concentration, high viscosity, some sediment, gamey, animal scented, complex cherry, sa Pinote, tea leaf scent, earthy with some mintiness, very good length. Now until 2027.

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 1996 (Magnum) – 88+ Points
Alc – 12.28 / Rs – 2.1 / Ta – 5.6 – pH – 3.45
Clear, bright, brick red slight brown rim, medium concentration, some sediment, medium plus viscosity, high octane aromas, rich, multidimensional, good acidity and freshness, now until 2042+

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 2005 – 89+ Points
Alc – 14.29 / Rs – 3 / Ta – 6.7 – pH – 3.68 – Harvested 15 February – 16 months New French oak – Bottle 10 October 2006 – 3700 bottles were made.
Clear, day bright, crimson red, cherry rim, ripe, raisin, complex notes of prunes, multilayered with some lead pencil complexity, lighter palate structure than 2006, more Pinot Noir in character. Now until 2048+

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 2006 – 91+ Points
Alc – 13.94 / Rs – 3 / Ta – 6.6 – pH – 3.58 – Harvested 17 February – 16 months New French oak – Bottle 12 December 2007 – 4500 bottles were made.
Clear, compact, dark red cherry, crimsom purple rim, ripe fragrant, fresh good attack, textured, need time. Lovely acid structure. From 2012 until 2047+

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 2007 - Barrel samples – 92 Points
Alc – 14.62 / Rs – 2.99 / Ta – 6.35 – pH – 3.6 – Harvested 15 February – 17 months in New French oak – Will be bottle in April 2009
Clear, red / blue with vibrant purple rim, turmeric spices, fresh, savoury, and elegant with lively acidity and good tannic grip, needs time for this sleeping giant. Will be fantastic with mature venison. From 2013 to 2052+

Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 2008 - Barrel samples – 90+ Points
Alc – 14.21 / Rs – 1.35 / Ta – 5.81 – pH – 3.72 – Harvested 15 February – New French oak barrels
Clear, red / blue purple rim, very fragrant, concentrated, rich explosive lavender essence, multidimensional, ripe, good tannic grip. From 2010 until 2045+

My top 3 Pinotage of the day was:

1 - Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 2007 - Barrel samples – 92 Points
2 - Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 2006 – 91+ Points
3 - Meerendal Durbanville Pinotage 2008 - Barrel samples – 90+ Points

Tomato Catering Suggest :
A trio of medium rare Venison, Oven roasted peppered Springbok fillet, Pastis marinated grilled Gemsbok loin and pan fried Kudu steak, served with plum chutney, enhance with star anise, summer black truffle shavings and Meerendal Pinotage Jus Corsé.

The occasion was concluded with a delicious al fresco lunch where guests were seated
at two long tables, a very traditional seating arrangement in the world of wine.



Sesame crusted Franschhoek Salmon Trout with salsa verdi

Mixed greens, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and bocconcini

Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – Did not taste

Bin 242 Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (barrel fermented) – 86 Points
2nd vintage, this was my lunch wine, having tasted it previously in 2008 at Cape Wine 2008, this is an extremely fine and subtly wooded Sauvignon Blanc, showing very fine and crunchy acidity very well meshed with the fragrant oak, the long broad and complex mouth feel, with delicate oily texture and hints of cardamon spices, is intriguing.
Wooded Sauvignon is starting to make a serious appearance in the Cape and this is a very fine style between the complex and world class Graves style of the Quoin Rock The Nicobar from Cape Agulhas and the fleshy, linear driven Jordan wooded Sauvignon from Stellenbosch, highly recommended for a great wooded Chardonnay alternatives. From now until 2016+

Chardonnay 2006 – Did not taste

Main Course

Beef fillet rubbed with wholegrain mustard and rosemary and a red wine jus
Deboned and rolled free-range chicken with black mushroom and truffle filling
Wild rice and quinoa pilaf with sultanas and nuts

Grilled Vegetables

Heritage Block Pinotage 2006 – Was my lunch wine of the day with the beef fillet, perfect pairing.

Pinotage Magnums 1996

Bin 159 Shiraz 2006

Shiraz Magnums 1995


Apple Tarte Tatin with saffron and mint ice cream
Chenin Blanc Natural Sweet 2008 – 90 Points
This was a revelation. Fragrant, complex, botrytis notes along with aromas you might encounter in a young Tokaji, rich, very complex mouth feel without being overly sweet and cloying, it was vibrant and very refreshing, and it was a match made in heaven with the Tarte Tatin, elegant and lots of finesse. It’s a work of art.
From now until 2040.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

NV Avondale Bio-LOGIC Méthode Cap Classique 85+ Points

NV Avondale Bio LOGIC Méthode Cap Classique Brut 85+ Points

Released in November 2008, this is one of the few Méthode Cap Classique of Origin Paarl, available and what an outstanding quality, it’s by far the finest Paarl Brut available, it’s also the first Bio-LOGIC & Organic Blanc de Blancs to be release in the Cape.

Made from organically grown Bio-LOGIC chardonnay grapes.
Whole bunch pressing was done to retain its natural expression of crisp acidity.
Wild yeast fermentation was allowed.
The result is a crisp, lively and full-bodied Méthode Cap Classique with intense flavours notes of lemon, apple pie and biscuit, and a touch of honey. Excellent length and structure

WINEMAKING The grapes were picked by hand at 18,5 to 19,8˚B and cooled overnight to 5˚ Celsius. The next day the whole bunches were pressed, the juice settled overnight and then racked to stainless steel tank for fermentation. 3% of the juice was fermented in small old French barrels. Fermentation took 12 days at around 18˚C. Then the wines were blended and left on the lees for 10 months, after which it was bottled to allow second fermentation in glass. The wine stayed on the lees in glass for between 24 and 36 months before it was degorged.

AGEING This nervy MCC is great now or until 2017, if you prefer the more pronounced biscuity character.

VALUE One of the best value Méthode Cap Classique available, considering quality at around 10 Euro from the estate

R/Sugar - 9g/l
TA - 7.22g/l
pH - 3.22

Tomato Catering suggest :
Great as a sophisticated aperitif, will paired beautifully with lightly smoked local trout, served on blinis and chive cream.

Alternatively tried it with a grilled sole or any other delicate white fish and citrus beurre blanc and glazed seasonal baby root vegetables


Wines Au Naturel

No one makes wine like Avondale do.

At Avondale, owner Johnathan Grieve is getting back to nature –
but he’s using 21st century science, technology and research in the

Johnathan Grieve is pioneering a back-to-the-future approach to
wine growing by combining organic, bio-dynamic and biological
farming principles. His agriculture is focused on balancing the soil
by putting back into the soil fungi and organisms that used to be
there. With the soil balanced, the vines are balanced and so also
the wine. Of course, synthetic fertilizers and chemical sprays are
cut out.

The radical and pioneering philosophy behind this is to take the soil
back to its pre-agriculture state and treat the vine as an indigenous
plant and a conduit for conveying the essence of the soil and terroir
to the grape and into the wine. We call this approach to
winemaking Bio-LOGIC.

It started a few years ago when founders John and Ginny Grieve made a simple choice: because wine is a natural (and delicious) product, producing it should not harm the environment in any way.
Since then, we have been uncompromising. And we trusted the wisdom of nature to guide us. We use cover crops instead of synthetic fertilizer to restore the balance of the soil.

Avondale use ducks, wasps and geese to control pests and weeds, and constantly question what they are doing, making improvements, enhancements and ever greener decision as they go.

After all, they want the Avondale farm to be there long after they are gone, creating the same delicious wine.
And they believe the best way to do this is to make it a sustainable business, one that always works in harmony with the earth. To many in the wine industry this sounds revolutionary.
But, in truth, everyone should make wine like we do.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Avondale Bio-LOGIC & Organic Chenin Blanc

2008 Avondale Paarl Chenin Blanc 90 Points

In similar vein to 2006 and 2007, this confirms the consistency of style as to my view South Africa’s best unwooded Chenin Blanc, its purity of fruit, concentration of aromas and flavours as well as multifaceted complexity is simply mind boggling.
It’s fresh, lively and delicate at the same time, excellent once again. Anyone wanted a list or show a great example of South African Chenin Blanc should looked no further.

2007 Avondale Paarl Chenin Blanc 90 Points

Made by Bertus Albertyn, this fantactic Chenin Blanc is made from 13 year old Bio Logic & Organic grown vines, and only wild yeast was used for fermentation, with a portion
fermented in old oak barrels, followed by 5 month on lees……Fresh, limes, apples, complex. Steely, lovely fruit, big opulent aftertaste, great linearity and mineral intensity.
This is by far South Africa’s best kept secret and finest expression of an unwooded, crisp, intense and complex Chenin Blanc, this could easily be mistaken for a very good Savennieres, in a blind tasting….
Now until 2016+

2006 Avondale Paarl Chenin Blanc 91 Points
Fresh, limes, apples, complex. Steely freshness, lovely fruit, big opulent aftertaste, without being heavy, bags of freshness.
Now until 2016

Tomato Catering suggest :
Grilled crayfish medaillon with granny smith apple tartare, buttered courgettes and carrots tagliatelli.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Birthday South Africa for your 350 years of winemaking heritage

Article and picture courtesy of WOSA

Today, (Monday, February 2) is South Africa’s 350th birthday as a wine-producing nation. We are unique in knowing the exact date on which our wine industry began, thanks to the diary entry of Jan Van Riebeeck, who wrote on February 2, 1659:* “Today, praise be to God wine was pressed for the first time from Cape grapes.”

Van Riebeeck was sent to the Cape in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company to establish a victualling station for ships rounding the southern tip of Africa between Europe and the east and established the first vineyards.

The country, which has just recorded a record year of over 400 million litres exported in 2008, is celebrating by sending out an electronic birthday card to members of the wine industry worldwide. Local producers are being urged to forward the birthday card to all their contacts in the world of wine, says Wines of South Africa (WOSA) CEO, Su Birch.

“We hope to reach a million people. The South African wine industry has every reason to be very proud. We are internationally recognised for our eco-friendly wine production and we have increased exports threefold in the space of just ten years. Despite extremely tough global trading conditions, in which many of our competitors experienced a decline in exports, we sold over 407 million litres of wine off-shore last year, a growth of 32% on the previous year.”

South Africa is the ninth biggest producer of wines in the world.

QUERIES SU BIRCH, CEO, WOSA (021) 883 3860, 082 563 0677
082 579 2358

* “Heeden is Gode loff van de Caepse druyven d’eerste mael wijn geparst”

Image 1:

If Jan van Riebeeck could be celebrating with us today.

Image 2

The electronic card to mark South Africa’s 350th birthday as a wine-producing nation. The goal is to send the card to at least a million people worldwide.