While there are still some cool midweek nights, soup is an excellent option. Dianne Bibby is a great cook, food writer and photographer and she and I are working together on this trip through the Asara Collection of Wines. This time, we look at Asara #4 The Vineyard Collection Pinotage 2017. Planted on decomposed granite soils in a vineyard on one of the highest points of the Estate – this meant grapes being harvested with higher natural acidity and a lower pH – level. The vineyard is old with the roots of the vines penetrating deeply into the soil. The bunches ripen at a slower rate offering up more flavour in the final wine. As the rows are planted in a north west to southwest, the grapes are exposed to the sun twice a day.
The grapes for the Asara The Vineyard Collection Pinotage 2017 are picked at optimum ripeness with soft skins and ripe pips and taken to the cellar and sorted before destalking, this ensures that only the finest grapes go through to the wine making process. The crushed grapes are then allowed two days of cold maceration with the juice for good colour extraction before the fermentation process. Then into stainless steel tanks for fermentation with regular racking and pump overs aiming for good fruit flavours, reminiscent of soft dried prunes and dark berry fruits. The wine was racked into French oak Barrels and aged for 14 months in 30% first fill and 70% older tight grain barrels. And then it is prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle under natural cork, Elegant Asara livery. In the glass, it is a deep plum red at the core which pales out to garnet at the edges. The whiffs and palate are of layered spiced fruit, pure, vibrant and fresh. A generosity of red and purple berries, ripe prune plums, touches of dark cherry, pancetta and an undertow of mocha-chocolate. The tannins are cashmere clad and are perfectly interwoven with the fruit, the oak and its concomitant spices and a freshness in the aftertaste.
Perfect as a glass on its own with a stick of dried wors while watching the Boks beat the All Blacks or whoever their next opponents are. A sublime food wine which will pair with a number of meat dishes and for this South African grape, boerewors off the braai, a dish of bobotie, or a tranche of seared tuna. Dianne Bibby’s Tunisian Chickpea Soup is the perfect answer with the Asara The Vineyard Collection Pinotage 2017 for a chilly spring evening. Click here for her recipe.
Another interesting note is that the Asara Vineyard Collection Pinotage Rosé 2018, recently was acclaimed in the Absa Pinotage Rosé Award with an Award of Excellence.
Should you live in, near or be on holiday in Stellenbosch, Asara Luxury Hotel has the best stocked gin bar in the country with near 500 gins and over 20 tonics. In the Sansibar Bistro, the Chef Arek Witaszek has an interesting selection of dishes many of them cooked in the wood fired oven.
Read more about Asara Wine Estate and Luxury Hotel – CLICK HERE