It may surprise you to know that almost every grape type has its celebration day. August 30th is the celebration day for Cabernet Sauvignon. The Stellenbosch Wine Appellation prides itself in its Cabernet Sauvignons, which grows in maritime climates close to False Bay, to the hills of Polkadraai, the slopes of the Helderberg, the Simonsberg and out into Koelenhof and Bottelary. My Asara #3 is one of these.
Grown in the hills of Polkadraai, Asara offers many soil types, aspects, and heights above sea level. And always the lovely cooling breezes from False Bay which ameliorate the summer hills in the vineyards. There is a Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard along the road into Stellenbosch facing East towards the Simonsberg from which the grapes for the celebrated White Cab.
The block from which most of the grapes for the Asara The Vineyard Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, our Asara #3, are harvested faces south west with equal mix of Oakleaf and Tukulu soils. The 16-year-old vineyard is mature and the soils well drained. Another block has sunlight reflected from one of the Asara dams adding rich berry flavours. Harvested in dawn hours the grapes are placed into small lug boxes to maintain the integrity of the fruit. The grapes are cooled, stripped of their stalks and then lie in the juice for three days. This is called cold maceration, and its starts the colour running into the juice. The French call this saignée – bleeding. Fermentation is then completed in stainless steel tanks with regular pump overs of the fermenting juice onto the skins which rise to the top. Once pressed the juice returns to the tank for malolactic fermentation. And then 18 months in 225 litre French oak barrels, 10% of the barrels were new and the balance made up of 2nd and 3rd fill barrels. The wine is then prepared for bottling.
Bottled in a Bordeaux shaped bottle with the elegant Asara label, under natural cork, In the glass, the wine is a bloodplum red at the core and pales out to ruby garnet at the rim. The nose is classical Cabernet, blackcurrants and Ribena. Pencil shavings. On the palate it is sparky from entry, filling the palate with its elegant tannin structure and the harmony of frisky acidity and Christmas pudding spices, dark fruits and long aftertaste.
My friend Diane Bibby is walking this path with me providing a recipe to go with the wine. For the Asara The Vineyard Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, our Asara#3, we offer Diane Bibby’s Roast leg of lamb with sweet onion marmalade. Click here for her recipe.
If you are in or near the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation, a visit to Asara is well worth it. The Sansibar Gin Bar has a selection of over 450 local and imported gins – some conventional, some craft. Great lunch time [and dinner] pizzas on offer and a variety of dishes cooked in their wood fired oven.
Read more about Asara Wine Estate and Luxury Hotel – Click here