Here we are, in the time at harvest of the worst drought in living memory in the Western Cape, with a sublime Méthode Cap Classique from De Grendel. While the weather was very dry, the quality of the grapes was unaffected. Cooling breezes from the cold Benguela Current in the Atlantic Ocean, a mere 7 kilometres away, ameliorated the summer heat and the lack of water and produced fine quality Chardonnay [64%] and Pinot Noir [36%] grapes for producing the De Grendel Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2016.
The bunches were harvested by hand and then in the cellar, Charles Hopkins, founding winemaker on the Estate and his team, whole bunch pressed the grapes which produces a more elegant wine. The stalks in the press act as filters for the juice. The juice was cool settled and then taken to stainless tanks for both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. The resulting wine is called ‘base wine’ which was then filtered and bottles in the traditional Champagne shaped bottled, given a shot of sugar and yeast known as the ‘liqueur de tirage.’ The secondary fermentation takes place under crown cork which adds much to the flavours and the excellent fine bubbles. After 15 months lying on the lees, the wine was degorged and closed with a natural cork and the little wire muzzle.
From a traditional Champagne shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is classic De Grendel, simple and elegant. In the glass, the wine is a pale lemon gold with a mass of the tiniest of bubbles which rise and form a crown around the edges in the glass. The aromas are of white tropical flowers, Granny Smith Apples, ripe white fleshed peaches and lemon cream biscuits. The apple and citrus flavours abound in the long and gently waning aftertaste.
I always feel that a wine like this is an all occasion wine and should not be kept only for celebration. A times after a hard day, one needs something to give you a lift and a wine like this certainly does. Even if taken as a mid-morning refresher, or a sundown sipper with a bowl of fat green olives and some roasted and delicately salted roast almonds. During a meal, it will complement a clear cool summer soup, a Ceviche, an ultra-smooth chicken or duck liver paté, a main course of fish and certainly a dessert of a crisp pastry with crème patissière and red berry fruits. While Ian Bergh, the Chef at the De Grendel Restaurant, has many dishes on his menu to match this vibrant wine, we can’t all get there. So, at home, Nina Timm’s Easy Lime Mousse Slices, are a great accompaniment. Click HERE to get Nina’s Recipe and to look at her great website.
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