De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest 2015 & Nina Timm’s Chicken Liver Paté – 09.12.2016

De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest 2015

I remember that the 2015 vintage and the times leading up to harvest were unusual.  Dry and windy conditions during flowering meant that the coastal crops were reduced by something like 15%. The final grapes and bunches were smaller and the flavours more concentrated and the vintage was lauded by winemakers as one of the finest in recent years.

Kudzai Mwerenga, who looks after the De Grendel Vineyards

Once the harvesting was done on the De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc vineyards, Kudzai Mwerenga, the Vineyardist, selected 10 tons of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes which were left to hang on the vines and become naturally infected with Botrytis Cinerea, the fungus responsible for noble rot.  The fungus penetrates the skin of the berry and utilizes the water, resulting in a concentration of sugars and flavour. Eight weeks later, there were only 4 tons left on the vines.  Once in the cellar, fermentation takes place and is stopped at 9.8 % by volume.  However there are 180 grams per litre of residual sugar in the wine, resulting in a very sweet wine with a naturally high counterbalancing acidity.  Only about half the amount of juice is recovered than would be recovered from a dry Sauvignon Blanc and making it extremely sweet. When harvesting for the dry Sauvignon Blanc 700 litres per ton are retrieved, whereas for the noble rot affected grapes only 380 litres per ton are retrieved.  This of course adds considerably to the cost of the wine, and one of the reasons it is often sold in a 375ml bottles.

Botrytis Cinerea on a bunch of grapes

It looks like
Packed in an elegant box, in a Burgundy shaped bottle with a superior screw cap.  In the glass a rich gold unctuous wine.

It smells like
Gentle nose with desiccated pineapple, tropical white flowers and ripe Adam figs, large purple skinned beauties.

It tastes like
The expectations created by the nose of a dry wine are soon done away with by a delicate burst of fruit, sweetness and acidity. The longest of aftertastes.

Nina Timm’s Chicken Liver Paté

Its good with
This is a wine which many would serve after a meal with the coffee or at the dessert stage.  However, it is good as an aperitif and indeed with a lovely smooth chicken or duck liver paté. Nina Timm of My Easy Cooking has an utterly delicious paté on her website. Click here for her recipe.

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