Having lived in the Groot Drakenstein for almost ten years, I have a huge feeling for the place and those majestic mountains. A feeling of great nostalgia overcame me as I drove though the valley on the way to Oldenburg. I had been to a lunch in Cape Town with the owner Adrian van der Spuy where we tasted through the range of the Estate’s wines with Adrian and Simon Thompson, his viticulturist and winemaker. Special love for their Chenin Blanc and Merlot. The reason for the lunch was to launch the new wine from the Estate, the 2010 Oldenburg Rhodium. I wanted to see the place for myself, and it is beautiful. The modern tasting room looks out on the amazing vista of the mountains and the vineyards, just losing their leaves in early winter.
Rhodium is a precious metal and most of the world’s production comes from South Africa. The wine veers to the right bank of the Gironde, as in this Bordeaux blend the leading grape – half of the blend – is Merlot. 40% is Cabernet Franc and the balance Malbec. On harvesting bunches and berries are sorted for this premium wine of the Estate. Maturation takes place over a period of 18 months in French Oak Barrels, which are 300 litres in size, half of them new. The wine is deeply coloured, almost back in the centre moving up to red purple on the edge of the glass. Interesting smells of squashed tomato leaf and fynbos herbs, graphite and a wave of berries, red leading black. The tastes are echoed in the mouth, tannins are soft and accessible and there is an undertow of blueberries. The oak and its concomitant spices act as a perfect platform on which the fruit can shine.
Although it really should be left to lie for a couple of years to really come into its own, we took it to friends Paddy and Sophia Lindop on Saturday as she has promised us a leg of lamb from her father’s farm in Douglas in the Northern Cape. She’d roasted it with a coffee, cardamom and turmeric rub. The lamb was sublime with the accompanying roasted root vegetables and char-fried Brussels sprouts with pine nuts, and just the perfect partner for the Oldenburg Rhodium 2010.
If you would like the recipe for the lamb, which originally appeared in Crush, the digital online Magazine, click here.