Asara Wine Estate & Luxury Hotel is situated in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation on the rolling hills of Polkadraai, home to many fine wine producers. The hills offer different aspects, altitudes which in turn offer microclimates and facings to the sun and the prevailing afternoon breezes from False Bay which ameliorate the summer heat in the vineyards. This allows for a longer hang time on the vines, resulting in fuller flavours, aromas and excellent colour from the grapes. The Cape Blend traditionally requires a percentage of Pinotage, the Cape’s own grape. Wineries then blend in which ever grape varieties they find suitable to make up the blend. The Asara Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2015 is a unique wine in that it contains one third Malbec, a Bordeaux variety which has found its real home in Argentina. The other components are Shiraz and Pinotage.
The soils of the vineyards are deep, encouraging flavour and colour. The Pinotage is grown high up on the farms. The soils are Tukulu, same as the Malbec, while the Shiraz vines are planted in Oakleaf soils. These are shallower soils, reducing foliage vigour and enabling manipulation through irrigation. The resulting grapes are slightly dehydrated, reducing size and concentrating spiciness, structure and flavour. The average yield is a minimal 6 tons per hectare, concentrating the vineyard efforts on fewer grapes.
Hand harvested in the early morning, the grapes are taken to the cellar where they are separately vinified. Once fermented the Pinotage goes onto French oak staves for 4 to 5 months where malolactic fermentation takes place – this develops a softer creamier taste in the wine. Further maturation takes place in 225 litre French oak barrels after which the best barrels are selected to be blended and prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle closed under natural cork. The label is classic Asara, simple and explanatory. In the glass, the wine is a deep bloodplum at the heart which pales to ruby at the edges. The aromas and flavours follow on one after the other. On entry, there are complex layers of dark berry fruits, roadside brambles, mulberries and spice from the grapes as well as the oak. There is a rounded generous mid palate with an undertow of dark chocolate and Parma Violets. The long ending it dry, but ‘sweet fruited’ and lasts and lingers.
As with my other Asara listings in this numbered range, I use Dianne Bibby’s recipes. The wine is an excellent glass on its own, and benefits from chilling in the fridge or an ice bucket. Dianne Bibby’s Red Wine Ragu with Rigatoni is a great partner for the Asara Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2015. Click HERE for her recipe.
Should you be in the Cape, either as a resident or on holiday, Asara is a destination for a day here all manner of food and wine offerings are on hand. The Sansibar Gin Bar has over 520 different gins on the shelves and the Bar Team can produce a stunning selection of Gin based Cocktails.
Read more about Asara Wine Estate & Luxury Hotel – CLICK HERE