Over the next few weeks, I will be talking about the wines from The Asara Wine Estate and Luxury Hotel in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation. I will be pairing each wine with a dish from Dianne Bibby, a fabulous cook, food stylist and photographer. Having eaten a number of her dishes, I thought we would share them with you to get to know the Asara Wines and more about Dianne’s fabulous food. The wine today is the Asara The Vineyard Collection Chenin Blanc 2017, our Asara #1. Knowing Asara as I do, I have watched over the last few vintages and it is such a pleasure to see the wines getting better and better each year as the vineyards age and cellar techniques have moved with the times.
Alan Cockcroft is the Vineyard Manager. He is currently involved in new plantings on the Estate some on former vineyard blocks and other in new areas which have not been under vine before. In clearing alien vegetation on the Estate, a rare indigenous blue flowering Babiana was discovered.
The Cellar team is now led by Johan Joubert, not only a Chenin Blanc practitioner of note, but an experienced and much awarded Winemaker and vineyard specialist. His first vintage at Asara will be the 2109 vintage, though he has been working as a consultant on the Estate for some time. His two assistants are Janette van Lill and Christiaan Nigrini.
Chenin Blanc was probably introduced to the Cape by the Founder of the Refreshment Station for the Dutch East India Company, Jan van Riebeek. So, it has been with us for a while. Its home is the Loire Valley in France and in particular in Anjou and Touraine. Today South African Plantings of Chenin Blanc are six times the size of those in France.
Chenin Blanc has been described as the ‘workhouse’ of the wine industry. I have always thought this unkind and would prefer it to be called one of our most versatile of wine grapes. Few are put to as many uses in this country as Chenin Blanc. From the driest of wines, through to medium dry and semi-sweet and natural late harvest. It is also used for Port style wines, bubblies, Sherry style wines, the finest of pot stilled brandy.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle under screw cap with the classical elegant Asara Livery, in the glass a pale gold. Classical Chenin aromas, guava, melon and fynbos honey. Green apples and white flowers. On tasting it is full and round, excellent mid palate and a long aftertaste. Taste of gentle toasty oak and a lovely zesty acidity in the aftertaste.
Like own versatility The Asara Vineyard Collection Chenin Blanc 2017 is good with many foods. The perfect partner for this wine is Dianne Bibby’s Ricotta and Tomato flatbread with sumac and herb oil. Nice midweek supper dish or Saturday evening snack time. Click here for her recipe.
Asara Luxury Hotel has some fabulous offerings, including the Sansibar Gin Bar which offers a selection of over 450 gins and 20 tonics. Excellent food offering in the Sansibar Bistro.
Read more about Asara Wine Estate & Luxury Hotel – CLICK HERE