8 Wines recently tasted; did we have fun?…

Asara MCC 2016, Speciality Range

One of my current favourites, please don’t keep it only for celebrations. We use it as a wine with meals, certainly gets things off to a lively start at the end of a busy day. Made from 100% Chardonnay, it is a real refresher

Pour
From a Champagne shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label and foiling are quite traditional. In the glass, a pale golden straw with a mass of the tiniest bubbles rushing to the surface and making a little crown around the edges of the flute. The aromas are of fresh sliced Granny Smith apples, with orange rind and marzipan notes. From entry it is alive and has a golden thread of acidity running through to the long aftertaste. The palate is generous, though delicate with notes of fresh baked brioche and fulsome citrus. The bubble really makes it a special glass.

Pair
Serve chilled – and not only at a celebratory event. Delicious as an aperitif with some nibbly bits like fat green olives, pan toasted almonds. Will match almost any dish on the menu provided the flavours match. Erica Platter, author of a few Durban Curry books recommends MCC as a perfect partner for curry.

Bosjes Chardonnay Reserve 2018

While the Bosjes Wines are only available on the Estate which lies between Worcester and Ceres, it is well worth landing a bottle. There is a Shiraz Reserve 2016 as well. The wines are blended by Cape Wine Master, Allan Mullins.

Pour
From a beautifully packaged dark green Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is so simple and elegant, it simply says Reserve and has a pineapple emblem. The pineapple is an international sign of welcome, particularly to be found on gables and front gates. In the glass, the wine is a gem bright pale straw. The aromas are lemon led citrus and summer stone fruit. The palate is full and generous, creamy with undertow of toasty oak and its spice and vanilla. Good harmony in the tail end.

Pair
Do not serve too chilled. Good with a butter roasted organic chicken.

Ben Wren & Angus of Ben Wren Wines

Huge amounts of wine are sold in bag in box presentations. Ben Wren, yes, an actual person, recently launched his premium bag in box Ben Wren Wine, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Red and a Rosé. While I have yet to taste the Sauvignon Blanc and the Rosé, the red is a cracker. Exactly the kind of wine, the tap of which you want to turn midweek at supper time, or over the weekend at a braai.

Pour
Twist the tap on this smart box for a great glass. In the glass, it is cherry red and mildly translucent. Classic Swartland stuff. Alive, soft and oh so easy to drink. It is led by Cinsaut, hence the cherry colour and the delicious rustic fruit flavours. Shiraz adds its class as the backbone of the wine. The other little blasts of fruit come from Mourvèdre and Grenache. Use a large glass, serve it lightly chilled.

Pair
This is an ‘I’ll go with anything’ wine. Seared Tuna. Chicken. Duck. Lamb. Beef. A cracking Burger. A piece of spicy Boerewors. You name it. Sushi? Yes!

Tierhoek Chardonnay 2017

We have tasted some excellent wines from this Estate recently. This one is a stonker – or smashable as the Australians will have it. Two pickings, one fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain freshness, crispness and minerality. The second picking went into oak barrels for a round and creamy wine. Batonage was done regularly for the six months in the barrel.

Pour
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with a screw cap. The label is a charming etching of a Cape Leopard [the Tiger]. In the glass, the wine is a pale buttery yellow. Whiffs of poached quince, baked Granny Smith apples, brioche. The palate is full and generous and wonderfully rounded. Lovely wine for those who think they don’t like a wooded Chardonnay.

Pair
As a Chardonnay, don’t serve it too chilled, it performs better when not too cold. A roast duck or guinea fowl, or a brilliant organic chicken would be great partners. As would Tuna Sashimi, roasted Pork Belly or Veal.

Piekenierskloof Heirloom White 2016

Piekenierskloof Wines are named for the Pike men who used to guard the mountain passes in the Wine Appellation that now bears their name. The Chenin Blanc grapes [65%] which lead this blend are 53 years old. The balance of the blend is Grenache Blanc [20%] and Chardonnay [15%]. Taken off at a low yield of but 5 tons per hectare. All bush vines and planted in sandy soils. Only free run juice is used for the fermentation in new and previous fill 500 litre French and American oak barrels and matured for 4 months.

Pour
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, close under natural cork. The label is a smart white, minimalist one. In the glass, the wine is gem bright pale golden straw with lime green flashes. The aromas are of ripe white fleshed peaches, melon, quince all of which meld with the crisp entry, through a fabulous mid-palate and into the long and gently waning aftertaste.

Pair
Seafood. Sushi, Sashimi, Ceviche. Paella. Our own Pickled Fish – click here for the recipe. Chicken in a sauce with white grapes. A simple pan fried tranche of SASSI friendly Hake with butter, lemon and parsley.

Guardian Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Made for early drinking as you can see by the vintage. Fermented in open and closed top fermenters and then taken to previously filled French oak barrels for maturation for 6 months.

Pour
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with a screw cap. In the glass, the wine is an opaque blood plum at the heart which pales out to a purple tinged ruby at the edges. The aromas and flavours are all classic Cabernet Sauvignon, blackcurrants, raspberries and milk chocolate. The wine is like a velvet glove on a steel hand, powerful, well balanced, and soft and accessible. Elegantly balanced, the wine is made for early drinking.

Pair
Do chill it for about 30 minutes before serving. Good with any red meats, from under the grill, out of the oven, and off the braai. Slices of tuna flashed onto the braai will make a great partner.

There is a Merlot and a Shiraz in this ‘drink me young’ range.

Weltevrede 1912 Chardonnay 2015

The Jonker Family and their team of Vineyard and Cellar Workers have farmed on their Estate near Bonnievale since 1912. The 1912 range of two wines includes this Chardonnay for which specially selected grapes are used.

Pour
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is a flourish o scrolling and whirls and seals giving the impression of something very special, which of course it is. In the glass, it is a pale golden straw, gem bright. The aromas are of soft citrus, fresh sliced mango and truly ripe pear. Mint and ginger juice are in undertow. Very special wine

Pair
This is a serious sipper, though it is good with food. It is brilliant with a real old fashioned chicken pie, as it is with a bowl of pickled fish on the patio in the winter sunshine. Or a bowl of creamy mushroom soup.

La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2018

We have been tasting through three vintages of La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc recently which really proved one thing to us, the Sauvignon Blancs which are superbly made will last a good 5 or more years if cool cellared. The wine is made up of Sauvignon Blancs from Elim and Napier and the 12% Semillon is from Elim. One may use up to 15% of another variety in a wine like this.

Pour
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with a screw cap. The label is printed with a lino cut by Jacob Hendrik, famous South African artist of the 20th Century. Sadly, his daughter Marita died in England this week. In the glass, the wine is a pale butter yellow. The aromas are of grapefruit and green herbs. Green peppers and brisk cape gooseberry are in undertow. A truly great and satisfying glass of wine. Will last a further 5 years with cool cellaring and then reward you greatly.

Pair
The wine is a perfect aperitif. It will go well with sushi, sashimi and ceviche. Perfect with a vegan or vegetarian salad with sun dried tomatoes, crisp lettuce, avocado [though some vegans don’t eat avocado] slices of cucumber and fennel bulb.

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