Friday, July 11, 2014

Bottling the 2014 vintage from The Vineyard

You may not know that the Vineyard Hotel does actually have a vineyard in the gardens, on the side of the Liesbeek river, where they grow mainly Sauvignon blanc and some Semillon. We have been made custodians of one of these vines. 65 bottles of the Vineyard Hotel’s maiden vintage were bottled in August 2013 – an historic occasion that marked the first time wine has been produced in the Newlands area in over 150 years.
They had a very good harvest this year. Our grapevine produced 15 bunches, so much better than the single bunch of the previous harvest. And they managed to get 220 kilos of grapes this year which produced 184 bottles. They were vinified by Nic Van Aarde at Warwick and we were invited to come and assist with bottling them and taste these on Thursday , and enjoy some lunch afterwards where we tasted some good wines from Simonsig, Warwick, Meerlust, Waterford and Klein Constantia.
We all gathered at 10 am and enjoyed a cup of coffee in the reception area of the Vineyard Hotel
and then boarded our buses for the ride to Warwick in Stellenbosch
It was a rather cold and grey day
We had a warm welcome, especially from Tata Madiba, who is made entirely or wire and beads. The talent and creativity of our beaders never ceases to completely amaze us. Mike Bampfield Duggan looks completely dwarfed
A very welcome glass of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel MCC bubbly
And some delicious warm fish croquettes
No chance of running out
Brian Cluver, Warwick Sales Manager, and Roy Davies, General Manager of The Vineyard Hotel
We started in Warwick’s tasting room
Next door, tables were arranged for the tasting and lunch
Glasses awaiting wine in the cellar
Empty bottles at the start of the bottling line
Some fine tuning was needed before we could start
This is how it the bottle filler works
The first two bottles are filled
and we are off. Everyone had a chance to fill two bottles of the wine
Roy Davies has his turn; David Wibberley, Vineyard Food and Beverage Manager, waits for his
Everyone stands a-waiting, but we had some delicious older sauvignons to taste while we did
Roy Davies tells us about the harvest and how much Sauvignon and Semillon were grown, picked and vinified
The indomitable Kitty Petousis, owner and matriarch of the Vineyard Hotel. She said she was grateful that the vineyard was providing them with some income at last. To her taste the wine was a “lekkerwyn” and she said it made her day
Everyone is wrapped or rapt. Warm winter clothing and close attention to speeches.
Great assistance from the Warwick team
Warwick winemaker Nic Van Aarde tells Roy and us how he made the wine
Still trying out the bottling line
It is a knack, but not hard to learn
We could taste 3 older Sauvignons from Warwick, the 2003, 2004 and 2007.
We loved the age on the 2004 and it is still very elegant. The freshness and asparagus with deep layers on the 2007 makes it a winner
Roy tasting and discussing the wines with Jos Baker
No sir, we may not take them home. Johan Malan of Simonsig obviously likes the new vintage.
Then we learnt how to cork the bottles
and back to Brian for another taste
Wines available for tasting with lunch: Kevin Arnold Shiraz friendly soft and with its spicy layers was very good with the food. The Klein Constantia 2009 Cabernet was elegant and mature and full of cassis
Making notes while we get ready to taste the wines
The Vineyard blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. From the left: 1. Direct press from 2013 juice. Dusty winery nose, nice blend of acidity and fruit. Elegant and much better than expected. 2. Fermented in barrel, 3 days on skins 2013 Good acids, long flavours, more Sauvignon showing than Semillon, needs time to integrate. 3. 2014 dusty. still quite ‘grapey’, clean and lean, nice tannins and good SB on nose. It will be a good wine. They are very classically made and taste exactly as they should. People were not expecting them to be that good but they were.
Warwick’s tasting room manager. Lawrence, pours for us
Platters to share were the starter, A good paté in the jar with some chilli, nice charcuterie, sliced mushroom topped with cheese. A baked camembert, shredded pork on tortillas and some salad.
Chef Dane Newton brings us a platter. Note the wood burning stove in the background, which was very welcome.
Main course was a perfectly cooked steak, topped with herb butter, some crisp chips and some good coleslaw. Simple, but so well done and all the steaks were cooked, perfectly, to order
A glass of Warwick Trilogy to accompany the steak.
The winemakers get together with David Wibberley of The Vineyard and Brian Cluver
Sponsors Johan Malan of Simonsig and Kevin Arnold of Waterford Wine Estate
The bus ride back home is always a jolly affair. We really enjoyed meeting Indaba Dube, sommelier at the Vineyard Hotel
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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