Saturday, August 17, 2019

The 2019 Top 10 Pinotage Awards at The Olive Press, Boschendal Estate

The Top 10 Pinotage Awards lunch was held in the recently inaugurated Olive Press venue at Boschendal last week. Canapés were served on the stoep where all the 20 best rated wines were on the tables for tasting and the winemakers, who were distinguished by white Panama hats, were there to discuss them
Fleur du Cap Cellarmaster Pieter Badenhorst and Duimpie Bayly
Black bread topped with salami and bressaola and accompanied by a tapenade
KWV winemaker Izelle van Blerk gets a taste of the bressaola
Journalist Johan of Wynland magazine takes one of the booklets with details of the top 20 wines
Another crisp and changeable winter’s day looking over at the Franschhoek mountains
Amanda Harlow and Braam Gericke, Wildekrans
Tables set for lunch and the awards ceremony
The Podium
The top 10 trophies are hand blown glasses; behind are the decanters which go to the rest of the top 20 wines
Our  MC for the day was Radio Sonder Grense presenter Martelize Brink
 Stellenbosch NG Kerk Dominee who said Grace
Mr Pinotage, Beyers Truter
Tina Playne, ABSA’s Managing Executive of sectors and segments relationship banking
The Winning Wines
The ABSA Top 10 Pinotage wines are from 6 different wine regions,
with the Stellenbosch and Paarl regions boasting the highest amount of winning wines with three and two wines respectively

First prize for the best socks, Adri Truter of Beyerskloof (John is getting some for his birthday). Nice Vellies too Adri
Wearing matching Vellies, father and son Beyers and Adri Truter, receive the award for Beyerskloof Winemaker's Reserve Pinotage 2107 from Tina Playne of ABSA. Beyerskloof claimed their 9th trophy in the competition with their Beyerskloof Winemaker's Reserve Pinotage 2017, WO Stellenbosch (Beyerskloof Wyne), winemaker Anri Truter
The two 2018 vintage wines in this year’s winning line-up, the Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2018 and the Badsberg Pinotage 2018, are the only wines from the Durbanville and Breedekloof regions respectively
Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2018
WO Durbanville (Diemersdal Landgoed), winemaker Thys Louw with Juandre Bruwer and Mari Branders 

Badsberg Pinotage 2018, WO Breedekloof (Badsberg Wynkelder), winemakers Henri Swiegers and Jaco Booysen
Kanonkop made history by making the ABSA Top 10 Pinotage for the 14th year
Not only is their Pinotage the oldest winning wine this year, but also the only winner from vintage 2015
Kanonkop Pinotage 2015, WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch (Kanonkop Wine Estate), winemakers Abrie Beeslaar and Alet de Wet
Simonsig rounds off Stellenbosch’s winning wine tally in this year’s ABSA Top 10 Pinotage winning line-up, with their Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2017, WO Stellenbosch (Simonsig Landgoed), winemakers Debbie Thompson and Michael Malan
Vondeling Wines, making its debut as an ABSA Top 10 Pinotage winner with the Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage 2016,
WO Voor Paardeberg (Vondeling Wines), winemaker Emile van der Merwe and cellarmaster Matthew Copeland
The Vondeling Bowwood is joined by another 2016 wine from the Paarl region, namely the Anura Pinotage Reserve 2016,
WO Simonsberg-Paarl (Anura), received by winemaker Stander Maass and Lance Bouma
The Fleur du Cap Series Privée Pinotage 2016 and the Wildekrans Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve 2016 are the two other 2016 vintage wines that emerged victorious. The 2016 vintage is the most represented vintage with four winning wines
Fleur du Cap Series Privée Pinotage 2016, WO Coastal Region (Distell – Fleur du Cap Wines), winemaker Pieter Badenhorst
Wildekrans Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve 2016
WO Botrivier (Wildekrans Wine Estate), (Amanda) Mandy Harlow and GM/winemaker Braam Gericke
And last of the Top 10, but not least, we have the Survivor Pinotage 2017 as sole representative from the Swartland region,
(Overhex Wines International), winemaker Ben Snyman. The award was received by Gert van Wyk and Gerhard van der Wath of Overhex Wines International

The Museum Class Trophy winners:
Fairview Primo Pinotage 2007, WO Coastal origin (Fairview), winemaker Anthony de Jager
Hill & Dale Pinotage 2007, WO Stellenbosch (Hill & Dale), winemaker Guy Webber
Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2009, WO Tulbagh (Rijk’s Cellars), winemaker Pierre Wahl

2019 ABSA Top 10 The runners-up:
Lutzville Francois le Vaillant Pinotage 2016, WO Lutzville Valley (Cape Diamond Wines), winemaker Christoff de Wet
Diemersdal MM Louw Pinotage 2017, WO Durbanville (Diemersdal Landgoed), winemaker Thys Louw
Kanonkop Pinotage 2017, WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch (Kanonkop Wine Estate), winemaker Abrie Beeslaar
KWV The Mentors Pinotage (Coastal) 2017
WO Coastal origin (KWV), winemaker Izéle van Blerk
Môreson Widow Maker Pinotage 2016
WO Stellenbosch (Môreson), winemaker Clayton Reabow
Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2016, WO Stellenbosch (Simonsig Landgoed), winemaker Debbie Thompson
Viljoensdrift River Grandeur Single Vineyard Pinotage 2017, WO Robertson (Viljoensdrift Associated Wineries cc), winemaker Fred Viljoen
Wildekrans Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve 2015, WO Botrivier (Wildekrans Wine Estate), winemaker Braam Gericke
Windmeul The Legend Collection Pinotage 2017, WO Coastal origin (Windmeul Kelder), winemaker Abraham van Heerden
Windmeul Pinotage Reserve 2016, WO Paarl (Windmeul Kelder), winemaker Abraham van Heerden

The menu
The main course of a Kudu Pie in good flaky pastry served with rainbow carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, green beans,
artichoke chips, baby potatoes and a very good thick gravy

All the prize-winners (group photos courtesy of the Pinotage Association)
The Top Ten
and all the winners

Dessert was apple and pear tarts with a spiced crumb topping, with Pinotage ice cream
lots of cheese platters, with green figs and watermelon konfyt
 and fruit platters
Chocolate sauce for the apple tarts
Putting their trophies to good use. Winemakers Abrie Beeslaar of Kanonkop and Adri Truter of Beyerskloof christening their trophies
At a tasting at Constantia Glen we tasted winemaker Justin's van Wyk’s own 2018 Syrah
from his Van Wyk Family Wines and were so impressed

The grapes come from cool Elgin and have produced a rich Syrah, with beautiful fruit, elegance, power and incense wood on the nose. On the palate, cherry, berry fruit with depth and purity. Soft and juicy, it then shows some umami flavours, with a hint of white river stone minerality on the end; so interesting, so enjoyable. R260

All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

On the MENU this week. Beef and Chorizo stew

1kg shin of beef, cut into 4cm pieces – 1 Tbsp flour – seasoning - 3 Tbsp olive oil - 225g chorizo, sliced - 1 large onion, chopped - 2 large carrots, cut to rounds - 2 large courgettes, cut into rounds, ½ a cup of frozen peas – 2 Tbsp plain flour - 300ml red wine - 600ml beef stock – 1 T rosemary – 2 bay leaves - salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Season the beef and dust with flour. Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole and brown the beef. (You need to do this in batches, so don't overcrowd the pan.) Using a slotted spoon, lift out the meat and set aside

Add the chorizo and onion to the pan and fry until softened and the fat runs from the chorizo

Add the carrots and courgettes; continue to cook until tinged with colour and beginning to soften. Sprinkle in the rest of the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to let is soak up any oil and cook down a little. Pour in the wine and, stirring constantly, bring to the boil. Stir in the beef stock, peas and add the herbs

Return the beef to the pan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with a tight fitting lid and braise in the oven for two hours, or until the meat is tender - check twice during the cooking time to ensure that the meat doesn't become too dry. If it does, add a little water

The perfect wine to drink with this lovely dark and rich stew with a little spice, is our Wine of the Week, Justin van Wyk’s 2018 Syrah
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

Friday, August 16, 2019

Tasting with winemaker Justin van Wyk at Constantia Glen

Our wine club meeting this month was at Constantia Glen with winemaker Justin van Wyk. Welcomed with a glass of RoseMarie and Funa 2014 MCC, named after Rosemarie Waibel whose father, Manfred, acquired Constantia Glen in the late 1950s, and her beloved Welsh Corgi, Funa. Only available from the farm at R290 a bottle. Bready richness on the nose, a lovely tingle and clean apple and citrus on palate, long and satisfying. Because it is made from bought-in grapes, it does not carry the Constantia Glen Estate label or appellation
We began at 6 pm in the Conservatory and it was still light
Its a lovely place for a tasting; you get the views of the valley and they had a roaring fire lit
Justin has been with Constantia Glen for 12 years. He told us that the farm has 29 hectares under vines; 20 are red grapes, 9 are white grapes. They have North facing sunlight exposure but they are cooler, as they are high on the mountainside. There are 420 vineyards remaining in Constantia, of which 195 hectares are planted with Sauvignon Blanc
He told us some history of the farm
and we began the tasting with the newly released classic Eagles Nest 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and full of figs and green peppers. Stainless steel fermented Clean, crisp and lasting, showing its terroir, just the style we prefer. Then the Constantia Two a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. 7 months barrel fermented 15% new, the balance 2nd to 5th fill and there is an element of Amphora. Smoky bacon nose, dusty semillon, a lovely blend of flavours integrated, oily lanolin, with gooseberry and apple with a crisp end
A rapt audience enjoying the wines
We had two tables next to the windows
As the light began to fade over the wines, the rain began and it was quite a downpour
It makes a wonderful sound on their corrugated iron roof and the farm has some of the best views in Constantia
Some exotic touches
Next the Van Wyk wines, Justin's own brand. The Chenin Blanc is dusty and smoky with fennel and asparagus notes, rich fruit on the palate, a lovely rounded mouthfeel, with more richness on the end. Old vine Chenin grapes from Polkadraai in Stellenbosch with the best acidity. The Riesling is immediately identifiable with a touch of terpene on the nose. Non vintage from 2018 and 2017 harvests, Crisp and delicate on the palate, perfumed and enjoyable. 18 months in barrel, the grapes are from sandy soil in the Helderberg.  The final white wine was the Cape Blend, an award winning blend of  58%  Chenin, Chardonnay, Riesling and 2% viognier. Apples and complexity, a layered wine with roundness and some salt on the palate, unconventional but food friendly, with freshness and some peach from the viognier on the end. High scoring on the night
Justin's two Van Wyk Family Wines red wines, the 2018 rich Syrah whose grapes come from Elgin, has beautiful fruit, elegance, power and incense wood. Cherry berry fruit with depth and purity on the palate. Soft and juicy, it then shows some umami flavours, with a hint of white river stone minerality, so interesting, so enjoyable.  The 2018  Rebecca May is a modern blend of 58% Cinsault, 25% Syrah and 17% Grenache. Grapes from Constantia, Houtkapperspoort, Stellenbosch and Slanghoek.  Smoky bacon, wildness from the dusty Grenache and full on fruit in layers with a little lactic on the end. Drink chilled in the summer as well
The final two Constantia Glen wines are known and loved by most members of the Oenophiles wine club and never disappoint; all grapes are from the Estate. The 2016 Three is a Merlot based blend, with umami on the nose, almost soy sauce, then cassis and cherry berries. Rich Cherry berry flavours of the palate, performing so beautifully. The 2015 Five is their award winning Bordeaux Blend using all five of the traditional grapes, so satisfying, so layered and sophisticated, with soft tannins and minerality, a wine to keep and drink with good rich food. We had arranged for food to be provided afterwards and we really enjoyed a vegetable soup, an onion soup and a pot of Goulash soup, made with proper Austro-Hungarian paprika. Perfect to pair with all the wines and great on a cold, rainy evening. Good bread and butter were provided and some toast topped with cheese to float on the onion soup. We left very satisfied.  Contact the farm for details of how your wine club or group of friends could do a similar tasting. There is of course a cost involved. Check out their web pages
Thank you all at Constantia Glen for a very, very enjoyable evening, with loud applause to winemaker Justin
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus