Asara Vineyard Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 & Tracy Foulkes’s Caramelized Onion Thyme & Taleggio Cheese Tart – 25.04.2017

Asara Vineyard Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Asara Wine Estate is situated in the rolling Polkadraai Hills south-west of Stellenbosch in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. Stellenbosch is strong Cabernet country and the big flavours come from the slow ripening of the grapes.  Summer heat is ameliorated by cooling breezes off False Bay.  The marine climate carries right through to the north-western parts of the Appellation.  The benefit is the slower ripening of the grapes which use the time to build up flavour and colour in the berries.

Asara Wine Estate Vineyards

Careful control of the leaf canopy restricts the sunshine to the bunches to once a day.  Sun rays are reflected off the farm dam which aids a softer gentler ripening. Asara’s main 16-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon block faces south-west and the soils are half Oakleaf and half Tukulu. The harvest taken from the vineyards is a low 4.5 tons per hectare.

Hand-harvesting of the grapes for the Asara Vineyard Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 takes place in the cool of early morning straight into small lug boxes. These are swiftly taken to the cellar where they are bunch sorted, destalked. 50% of the grapes are crushed while the remainder are left whole for carbonic maceration.  After cold soaking for five days, the fermentation process starts I large open top fermenters. During this time the grapes are punched down into the fermenting juice for gentle colour and flavour extraction. After pressing malolactic fermentation takes place and the wine is matured in 225 litre French oak barrels for 18 months. 10% of the barrels are new and the balance is made up of 2nd and 3rd fill barrels. The finished wine is then prepared for bottling.

Cabernet Sauvignon ripening on the vine

It looks like
Bottled in the classical Bordeaux shaped bottle under a natural cork closure.  In the glass, it is a deep ruby plum at the core which pales out to intense garnet at the rim.

It smells like
Classical Cabernet blackcurrants, red berries, oak and its concomitant spices.

It tastes like
Juicy sappy berries, red, black and blue.  Red currant acidity. Big mouthful of wine, though medium of body. Good mid-palate flavours and a long tail in which the tannins are well interwoven.  Very satisfying wine.

Tracy Foulkes’s Caramelized Onion Thyme & Taleggio Cheese Tart

It’s good with
This is the perfect bottle for after dinner, when you want something to back up the serious post prandial conversation with a piece of snappy dark chocolate.  Or indeed before dinner while watching sport with a stick of delicious biltong and a sharp pen knife.  It is of course the perfect food wine.  Perfect with a fine vegetarian main course like Tracy Foulkes’s Caramelized Onion Thyme & Taleggio Cheese Tart. Click here for her recipe.

Tracy Foulkes

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