When Sarah Graham and I cooked at The African Relish Cookery School at Prince Albert in the Karoo a couple of months ago, we took with us not only a fellow chef, Sue Barber, a fabulous array of dishes, but an even more fabulous collection of wines.
It was a particular joy to me to introduce Springfield Estate Wines from Robertson to our guests. And recently at a trade tasting in Cape Town tasted some of their new vintages. I think it was Springfield who started giving their wines poetic names, names which refer to the place or the manner in which the wine was made. For whatever reason, the names work really well and Life from Stone and Whole Berry Cabernet means only one thing, that is Springfield. Almost all of their wines are printed in heavy red in the Platter Guide – and justifiably so. The Springfield 2013 Life from Stone is an utterly sublime wine and one of my favourites from the tasting – land a bottle if you can.
Stony vineyards have less soil in them. Less soil means concentrated fruit. Old vines densely planted have the same effect. The proximity of vines to each other makes them struggle and produce great fruit. So Life from Stone it is.
And we found it went very well with a dish I thought I had created, but then found it was an old Tuscan tradition, Chicken cooked under a brick! A fun dish. Click here for the recipe.
Abrie Bruwer, the owner of the Estate is quoted in the 2013 Platter guide as saying “No tricks – just making choices that lead to quality, hundreds of little choices are made each day.” Abrie’s sister Jeanette does a sterling job marketing the wines of the Estate.
She told me that the more popular the Springfield Whole Berry Cabernet gets, the shorter the ‘season’ lasts as it is a single vineyard wine, a vineyard which can only produce a certain amount of grapes. The grapes for the Whole Berry Cabernet Sauvignon are made in the age old tradition of picking by hand from old vines, taking them to the cellar in baskets and placing then into open tanks and allowing the natural vineyard yeasts to do their work. Free run juices are fermented and then taken to French Oak Barrels where they mature for a year.
Springfield Work of Time is another one of their wonderful wines. This is a four way classical Bordeaux style wine. Fermented whole with the natural vineyard yeasts and left for 5 weeks on the skins before a two year barrel maturation and a further four years in the bottle. Work of time is aptly named.
When you are in the Robertson Valley, Springfield is “well worth the detour” as they say n the Guide Michelin.
Springfield Wine Estate, Robertson
Tel: 023 626 3661
Open for sales and tastings Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 17h00 and from 09h00 to 16h00 on Saturdays