In my series about the Wines of The Asara Wine Estate & Luxury Hotel, with Dianne Bibby’s wonderful food, I have chosen one of the Asara Speciality range wines – The Asara Carillon 2014.
A Carillon is musical instrument using bells. There is one in the Cape Town City Hall, which, sadly, I don’t think is in use any more. Cape Town’s first official City Carillonneur Jan Luyt, who was the Town Clerk sent a demand to the Cape Town Railway Station Manager to prevent unnecessary whistling of engines during recitals. I remember listening to a concert by Jan Luyt in the 1970s. For Asara though Carillon is a wine – and nods in homage to the Bell Tower on the Estate, which is rung twice a day to inform guests that a batch of fresh baked scones has arrived in The Asara Deli.Grapes with Botrytis Cinerea
The grapes, used for this magical wine, are Chenin Blanc, which come from two vineyards, blocks in a gully fed by a small stream. Here is the perfect place for Botrytis to form on the grapes, sufficient moisture in the atmosphere surrounding the 22-year-old vines in the one block and 12 years old in the other. Sunshine helps the botrytis develop. The grapes hang on the vines well after the ideal ripeness period, the botrytis grows on the vines desiccating the grapes as it forms a layer around the berries and makes tiny holes on the skin of the grape.
An Asara French Oak Barrel
Harvesting takes place in the cool of early morning and the grapes are taken to the cellar and cooled overnight. Once sorted, the bunches go whole into a bag press, where gentle pressing takes place followed by two days of skin contact between the juice and the skins. When crushed, the grapes are almost raisin like and give forth an unctuous sweet syrupy juice. Once fermentation is under way, the juice is taken to 225 litre 7 year old French oak barrels. The barrels are sealed for 6 to 8 months and not opened. They are occasionally rolled at certain phases of the moon to stir up the lees, which help build the mid palate in the wine. Once this period in the wines life is over bottled, to preserve its wonderful crisp freshness and elegance.
The Sansibar Bistro – Home of great food at Asara Luxury
From a 500ml bottle known as an Alsatian Flute, elegant Asara livery, the top of the bottle dipped into easy remove black wax. In the glass, it is the colour of diluted fynbos honey. First smells almost overwhelm with desiccated pineapple and those stunning soft dried apricots and honey. These all follow through on the palate from entry with sweet tropical fruits like mango, musk melon and a golden thread of fruit acidity and minerals. All components in perfect harmony and will allow this wine to age beautifully if properly cellared.
The Asara Carillon 2014 is a wine that can be used at both ends of the meal. At the beginning, there is a lovely smooth chicken or duck liver pate, or foie gras at special times. It goes well with soups, such as a mildly curried butternut soup. As a dessert or cakes and bakes wine, it really shines. Dianne Bibby’s Apple Galette with Walnut Frangipane & Caramel is the most wonderful partner to The Asara Carillon 2014 as it has the acidity to counterpoint the sweetness. Click here for her recipe.
Read more about Bibby’s Kitchen – CLICK HERE
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