Say what you like, if you call your wine De Grendel Amandelboord Pinotage 2016, I will find marzipan in the aromas. I so often have preconceptions before I even smell or taste the wine. There are notes of coconut which could have led me astray. Happily, led astray. This amazing wine – and it is an amazing wine, comes from vineyards high up on the Tygerberg Hills with a clear view over Table Mountain, Robben Island and Table Bay. The chill breeze off the Benguela current, which flows northward from the South Atlantic straight up the west coast, ameliorates the summer heat in the vineyards which are a mere 7 kilometres away.
The summer of the vintage of 2016 was a particularly hot one which resulted in a 30% reduction in the size of the crop. Kudzai Mwerenga, the viticulturist and his team worked hard to bring in grapes of fine quality, concentrated flavours, which produced full flavoured wines.
The grapes for the De Grendel Amandelboord Pinotage 2016, were harvested by hand early in the morning and once in the cellar were were destalked and crushed and taken to open top fermenters by founding Winemaker Charles Hopkins and the cellar team. Here the fermenting grapes were subjected to pneumatic punch downs four times a day. Once dry, the wine was pressed in a basket press and then taken to barrels for malolactic fermentation. 11 months was spent in 225 litre barrels of which 20% were new French oak barrels, 10% new American oak barrels with the balance made up of 2nd and 3rd fill French and American oak barrels. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled in a Burgundy shaped bottle with a superior screw cap. The livery is classical De Grendel, elegant black. In the glass, it is a deep plum at the core which pales out to a deep garnet, almost ruby at the edges.
It smells like
I found marzipan – is it there? Fabulous whiffs of blue- and red berries.
It tastes like
A generosity of fruit from entry through to the tail. Side issues of sweet brown spices, coconut, chocolate, coffee and and and. The mid palate is redolent of dark fruit, the tannins are cashmere clad, the oak is there and the wine, while complex and layered, is in such perfect balance – it is a privilege to drink a wine like this. It is a laster and will go on improving for the next, 8 to 10 years.
It’s good with
If you are within reach of De Grendel, the food in The De Grendel Restaurant prepared by Ian Bergh, chef and his crew will more than make you happy. At home, this wine is made for meat, duck and venison. It is a perfect match with a lusty vegetarian main course too. Alida Ryder’s Creamy pumpkin risotto with crispy Haloumi pops and spicy chilli syrup is a great example. Click here for her recipe.
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