The Asara Bell Tower 2012 is becoming one of my favourite red blends. Much awarded over recent weeks in both local and international wine competitions, Asara is coming out of its shell. First vintage for winemaker Danielle le Roux whose 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage Rosé are already making their mark. I have tasted the 2016 Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay in the barrel and there are a couple of wines to look forward to.
Asara is situated in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation in the Polkadraai Hills to the west of town with many different aspects. The wine is a blend of the Big Five Bordeaux Grapes, 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot.
Winemaking style on Asara is classic with those blocks which perform well year after year being chosen for The Bell Tower. The vineyards soils are essentially based on decomposed granite, rich in minerals, deep and well drained. Height above sea level also plays a part in that the grapes will naturally take time to ripen and this adds to the flavour components in the final wine. Hand harvested in the early morning into small lug boxes and then taken to the cellar and chilled. Whole bunches are hand sorted, destalked and then cold maceration takes place over the following week. Once fermentation starts, pump overs take place four times a day and then the wine is left to macerate on the skins for one month. Malolactic fermentation took place in the tanks which was followed by 18 months in 225 litre French oak barrels of which 15% were new and the balance of a variety of previous fill barrels. The barrels are then selected for blending and the wine prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled in a Bordeaux shaped bottle under cork with an elegant black label. The Bell Tower is on the Estate next to the deli and is rung at 10h30 each day when the fresh scones come out of the oven. In the glass it is a deep opaque Satsuma plum which pales out to garnet at the rim.
It smells like
Berry fruits, blackcurrants and blueberries. Toasty oak with its concomitant spices.
It tastes like
Easy entry, rich and round, mouth filling. Generosity of fruit. Excellent harmony right through into the long aftertaste reflecting delicately the oak treatment and weaving the soft tannins into the wine.
It’s good with
Perhaps an after dinner bottle? Sitting in the warm summer evening discussing important issues like whether the pink marshmallows have more flavour than the white or a recent exciting sporting experience. I jest. Certainly a wine which needs savouring, a wine which is made for food, yet does not ask for the full Sunday Roast lunch as a partner. A lovely spiced up mid-week supper dish like Meeta K Wolff’s Vegetable Split Pea Dal, Spiced Cauliflower Pumpkin and a Kumquat Chutney. Click here for her recipe.
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