If there is anything worth celebration on Neethlingshof Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation, it is the way they have in the last couple of years started conserving and rehabilitating areas of indigenous habitat, particularly the unique ecosystems surrounding the estate’s granite hills. This has resulted in the return of a number of indigenous animal and insect species which in turn have meant the return of owls to eat the rodents who eat the insects. Guinea Fowl have returned to eat the seeds and the insects and the Caracal or Rooikat – the African Lynx – have returned to eat the guinea fowl, so beautifully depicted on the label of the Neethlingshof Caracal 2016. The Caracal is now successfully breeding on the Estate.
The grapes come from well-established vineyards on Neethlingshof. The oldest is the Cabernet, now over 30 years old. The different grapes come from vineyards at different altitudes and aspects. All are cooled by the cooling afternoon breezes of False Bay which ameliorate the summer heat in the vineyards. This allows for slower ripening and thus a fuller flavour in the final wine. The yield from all the vineyards was restricted to an average of 5 tons per hectare to further enhance the quality of the fruit used to produce this wine.
After hand harvesting, the grapes were delivered to Neethlingshof Wine Maker De Wet Viljoen and his team for destalking and crushing, the grape varieties are separately vinified with cold fermentation which lasted seven days. After malolactic fermentation the wine was matured in a combination of 300 litre new, second-fill French oak and about 10% American oak barrels, for a period of 16 months, before fining and bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle with an elegant label depicting a Caracal catching a guinea fowl in mid-air. In the glass, at the heart it is a dark Indian ink bloodplum which pales out at the edges to ruby. On the nose, there are the plums, cassis and black cherry flavours beautifully supported by judicious oak – and the concomitant spice and vanilla. The flavour on entry is full right through to the aftertaste. A generosity of berries and plums and soft dried prunes. The tannins are firm and supportive of the ampleness of the fruit.
This is a food wine for meat eaters and vegetarians. Any meat dish will partner it as would a vegetarian dish full of reduced tomato, mushroom an aubergine flavours. Lizet Hartley’s Rabbit with White Wine Dijon Cream Sauce and Pancetta Crisps. OK, you can use chicken. Click here for her recipe.
Lizet Hartley of Melkkos en Merlot
Information & product from Manley Communications
Read more about Neethlingshof Wine Estate – CLICK HERE