Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vine Garden Tasting at Bosman Family Vineyards in the Hemel en Aarde Valley

The Bosman family has two farms, one in Wellington and the other called De Bos Farm in the Hemel en Aarde valley. On this farm, in conjunction with their Lelienfontein Vine Growers, they grow a library of 47 different grape varieties and several clones of some of those varieties.   
This privilege is one enjoyed by only very few wineries anywhere in the world today and makes Bosman Family Vineyards custodians of their wines from their very roots. It is also the essence for the enterprise’s slogan: ‘From Vine to Wine’. Selecting from a broad spectrum of high quality foundation status plant material in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Ceres Karoo, Klein Karoo and Leeu-Gamka, Lelienfontein Vine Growers cultivates vines of the highest standard with minimal risk of infections and viruses. It is actively involved in research and development through representation. It is through Lelienfontein Vine Growers that Bosman Family Vineyards has established the most enviable of situations for a winemaker - a veritable library of 47 different grape varieties that are at its disposal.
Bosman Family Vineyards MD, Petrus Bosman and Winemaker Corlea Fourie guided a group of media through the vineyards, where we were able to taste many of the ripe grapes of the 47 different grape varietals grown in this location. This was followed by a forest lunch and wine tasting under the pine trees. 

It was a muddy and damp day, but tasting different clones of Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cabernet and several other varietals was an enormous privilege, as there are so few places where one might ever again get this experience at this time of the year, when the grapes are ready for harvest. Were the differences visible? Yes, indeed they were. Yet another valuable learning experience in the world of wine making.
We began the day early with a coffee at the One&Only Hotel where we picked up our transport for the rather long 2 hour journey to the Hemel and Aarde Valley .
Thank you Ian Manley for the coffee and croissants we enjoyed on the bus. Most appreciated.
On arrival we were treated to a taste of their newly released Method Cap Classique Chenin bubbly
The MCC is entitled Steen, another name for Chenin Blanc.  The wine has grassy and bready notes on its faintly tropical nose, is crisp and tropical and has a good mousse

The day was a little bit damp and they had made sure lots of umbrellas were available for our trek through the vineyards and afterwards at lunch
Each varietal and then each clone has about three or four rows and each bears their bona fides. So these are Rows of Sauvignon Blanc, Clone SB 108C x R110 Lynne's tasting notes for the grape she tasted are “Gooseberries (English), one note but a good blending wine from the French.
We learnt a great deal from our guides about varietals and how to use them
A good bunch of Sauvignon blanc showing a little rot and nice ripeness in the rain
A close up of the information labelling for the varietals
Clone SB11 R is also known as the Weather Station and is widely used in South African sauvignons. As you can see, it is quite prolific.  It is figgy, has a nice acidity and some hanepoot sweetness when ripe.
Pinot Noir Clone PN 52C....
...showed some very large healthy bunches
Lots of technical questions were asked and well answered
Winemaker Corlea Fourie with PRO Ian Manley
A field of American rootstock vines
Behind the vineyards is a lovely pine forest, where the sound of the wind is magical. This was where the tables were set up for lunch
It was a huge buffet spread of many different things so we all had lots of choice
Cheese, meatballs and sausages, grapes and salady things
Great chicken liver pate, biltong, droƫwors, prawns on French toast, good breads, chutneys, pickles and relishes
Chicken wings, figs stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in Parma ham and dips
Smoked and cooked salmon with gherkins and cream cheese on mini French toasts
Lovely local cheeses
and cold meats with nuts and fresh asparagus
A place setting with the Bosman wines we could drink with lunch
There was a good selection
Dining in a pine wood was a lovely experience
We are introduced to the wines
by Jan Bosman, Lelienfontein nursery manager, who ably guided us through the vines
Corlea Fourie, Bosman’s winemaker
Phillip van Zyl, editor of Platters Wine Guide
Petrus Bosman
Back labels tell a story
Misty damp vineyards from the pine forest
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© John &  Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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