Martin Smith Paserene Winemaker

I had, before Covid, a very happy one on one wine tasting with Martin Smith in Johannesburg when he was up for a wine expo. I was so impressed with his wines, especially his Chardonnay. I know that I am not the only fan. It is so different and so utterly delicious. Martin’s partner in the business, Ndabe Mareda is a lover of wine and the two of them have created this range of excellent high end wines.

The Paserene Partnership, The Ndaba Maredes and the Martin Smiths

I was sent four wines recently and I had the happy chance to retaste the wines in current vintages….unbridled joy.

Emerald 2019, from the Elements Range

A Sauvignon Banc made with both Elgin and Franschhoek grapes. Packed in a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is quirky with a child’s swing and a mottled green.

In the glass, the wine is a gem bright pale hay colour with a lime green overlay. The aromas are typical green Sauvignon Blanc, crushed blackcurrant leaves and fynbos. Green bell pepper and white pepper are in undertow. The palate is plush and juicy with orange melon, granadilla, desiccated pineapple and strips of ripe mango. The palate is round and generous, well balanced and has a long and gently waning aftertaste.

My Smoked Fish Paté

Excellent as a sipping wine, and good with food. Crisp summery salads, Mushrooms baked with white wine and garlic. Smoked fish potted or paté is a good companion.

Dark 2018, from the Elements Range

A very different Syrah this one. The provenance of the grapes is Tulbagh and from the Pasarene Vineyard n Franschhoek.

In the glass a dark, opaque bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The aromas are focused brown spice, vanilla and a fynbos herbaceousness dark berries and plums. The palate is fresh and youthful with crushed blueberries, and ripe plums. Rich and generous with an undertow of dark chocolate and oak spice in the well-balanced aftertaste.

Chorizo flamed in Brandy

Excellent with food. A deeply flavoured slow cooked beef and red wine casserole, Aubergine Parmigiana, or a good, spiced sausage off the coals would love the Dark 2018.

Chardonnay 2018

The grapes for the Paserene Chardonnay were sourced from Elgin, real cool climate country. Once in the winery in Franschhoek they were cooled and then whole bunch pressed for 7 hours. The juice was then taken to French Oak Barrels for fermentation and maturation. During the 16 month maturation, during which malolactic fermentation took place, the barrels were rolled gently, replacing batonnage. 30% of the barrels were new and the balance 2nd and 3rd fill

From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork, covered in white wax. The label has a simple illustration of a young lady in pensive mood. In the glass, the wine is a brightshining pale hay colour with flashes of line green. The aromas are generous, with passionfruit butter, honey and sweet tropical limes and yellow apples. Oatmeal and fresh grated ginger juice are in undertow. The palate is much affected by the marine mists which come over the mountain from the Atlantic Ocean. Kelp and sea salt meld with a chalkiness. A mélange of tropical fruits, desiccated pineapple, white fleshed peaches and granadilla all add their flavours to this rich and generous palate. It has a lovely thread of acidity which runs through into a long, satisfying aftertaste.

Roasted Pork Belly

A wine with as much oomph as this one will happily take to game birds, duck, and ostrich Perfect with roast pork belly with crackling and real gravy.

Union 2016

Tulbagh as a Wine Appellation with its decomposed shale soils, its hot days and cool nights, creates wines, packed with flavour and big aftertaste.

From a Burgundy shaped bottle closed with natural cork which is covered with green black wax. The label is an elegant painting with the ghost of a young lady walking across the field with her hand held out to allow a bird to land upon it. In the glass, the wine is bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges.  The aromas are floral and smoky with blueberries, Palma Violet Dragée florals, and some applewood smoke. The palate, full and generous, has a refreshing raspberry acidity running through it into the long and gently waning aftertaste. Country lane fruits like mulberries, roadside brambles mix with charcuterie savouriness. A big carefully built wine.

Mushrooms baked in vine leaves

‘Big Built’ needs something full flavoured as a perfect partner. A tranche of beef, roasted and served with the usual accompaniments and a real rich gravy would be a great partner. As would a dish of baked mushrooms with woody herbs like thyme, garlic and olive oil.

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