Asara The Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016, good with Dianne Bibby’s Roast Butternut and Lentil Bobotie…

Asara The Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016

It is no surprise to me that this delicious ‘Cape Blend’ is in the ABSA Perold Top Ten Red Blends for 2019. This special blend is made up of 40% Shiraz, 385% Pinotage and the balance Malbec. Malbec, known as the forgotten grape of Bordeaux, Malbec has been a great success in Argentina and more and more in other wine areas of the world. Small plantings in South Africa, only just over 452 hectares. The Cape Blend is a loosely defined category, with Pinotage being the only variety that is stipulate. The Asara The Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016 is unique with its Malbec component. The grapes are picked off vineyards in the Polkadraai Hills in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation.

Pinotage in its usual generosity on the vine

The Pinotage grapes are grown on high altitude rich Tukulu soils which encourage colour and fruit forwardness in the wine. Pinotage and French oak barrels together like horse and carriage and the two deliver delicious coffee chocolate flavours. The Shiraz comes from a single block planted in Oakleaf soils. Where with supplemented irrigation, the vines undergo slight stress and produce small berried bunches packed with flavour.

The average yield is 6 tons per hectare. At hand harvesting time, the grapes are taken to the cellar for elevation. The Pinotage, once fermented goes onto French oak staves. The malolactic fermentation which takes place on the staves gives a creamy texture to the wine. The Shiraz and Malbec undergo maturation in previous full 225 litre French oak barrels so that the oak supports rather than competes with the fruit. The best of the barrels were set aside for the the final blend, after which the wine was prepared for bottling.

Malbec ripening in the Asara Vineyards

From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with a screw cap. In the glass the wine is a a deep opaque bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The aromas are of red and black cherry and berries, roadside brambles, mulberries and ripe red plums. These duplicate themselves on the rich and full palate with the oak and its concomitant spices and dark chocolate and Palma violets in undertow. Long fruity, yet dry finish.

Dianne Bibby’s Roast Butternut and Lentil Bobotie

The Asara The Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016 is a wine for all times. Perfect at the Braai lunch when slightly chilled. Great as the after dinner bottle of wine for discussion and dark chocolate. However, it is with food that it shines. The Argentinians would happily serve this with an Asado [which we call a braai]. As the evening are still cool, Dianne Bibby’s Roast Butternut and Lentil Bobotie is a perfect partner to this wine. It is a vegetarian dish. A traditional Bobotie would also be excellent. Click HERE to see the recipe and to view Dianne’s website.

Dianne Bibby is a Johannesburg Food Stylist, recipe developer & food Blogger

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