Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tasting at Ormonde and Groote Post, Darling, with lunch at Hilda's

Harvest has begun in our winelands and we have guests from overseas. We love taking them on wine tours and sightseeing trips and we do always do the normal round of what to see in the Cape. But did you know that there are several smaller wine areas which don’t get so many visitors, and who will make you incredibly welcome. Our English guests had been here for a while, so planning a trip to an area they had not visited before was special. Which led us to Darling.
The day began warm and clear and we only took just under the hour to get to Darling on the Malmesbury road. Our first stop was at Ormonde. Zia du Toit, the marketing manager, welcomed us with open arms and a VIP tasting with Riedel glasses was set up in the cool tasting room. Zia gave us a marvellous tasting of all their wines. Ormonde is one of the largest winelands farms with 450 hectares under vineyard. It is owned by the Basson family. They vinify 1000 tons themselves and sell off grapes to many other wine farms. This is definitely a gem of a place to taste Swartland wines
They are known for their 4 star Chardonnay. When Lynne heard that their 2011 Ormonde had been in all new French oak for 9.5 months, she was concerned but the wine is very, very interesting. It is not over wooded. In fact it tastes very like a Burgundy Chardonnay, just a very young one. It's asleep, restrained and resting, but gathering its skirts together. We bought a case to put away in our cellar to see if it does develop in the same way that the French Chardonnays do. We also absolutely loved the Theodore Eksteen 2008 Shiraz/Grenache. This wine is at its peak, full of smoky bacon, spice and chocolate with warm berries on the nose and salty & meaty and then the beautiful soft spicy berry flavours overtake the palate and stay. A stunner, Lynne scored a very rare 19.5. Top price too at R250 a bottle, but so worth it. A wine to drink with great food on special occasions. The Vernon Basson Bordeaux 2008 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc has notes of blackcurrant, incense and vanilla and tastes of pure fruit: dark berries, some cherry in layers with nice soft tannins. It has a great future too. An SA classic. We finished with a chocolate tasting and they have very good chocolates!
The line up of wines we tasted
Riesling grapes awaiting the crush on Groote Post, our next port of call
A classic Cape window at Hilda’s Kitchen restaurant on Groote Post. We had lunch under the grape pergola
Their famous brie and tomato tart, which Lynne had to start. The pastry is absolutely perfect, the filling creamy and full of good tomato and basil flavours.
John had the kudu carpaccio with a peach pickle, a chutney and pickled red cabbage
A lovely sheltered place for lunch
Door into the cool house
Three of us plumped for the roast lamb with tomato and mint salsa. Such tender lamb and a great sauce. Nice roast potatoes accompanied with some green beans, sweet potato and carrots
John had his Hilda favourite, their very good steak roll, served with wicked potato wedges, garlic aioli and a toasted cheese croute
Inside is cooler, should you care to eat there
Hilda’s Kitchen, named for the legendary 19th century Swartland cook Hildagonda Duckitt, is in the old manor house
Wimpie Borman showing us the Riesling grapes which were coming in from the vineyard. We all tasted the grapes and it is intense with hints of honey, and good acidity – think it will be a great year for Riesling.
Winemaker Lukas Wentzel in the cellar while the grapes are being gently crushed
An unusual Acacia wood barrel awaits some riesling
Farm workers working hard in the late afternoon heat getting the wine into the tanks
Wimpie gave us a good tasting in the tasting room, but the heat got to some of us! Sorry lad, they had too much lunch. We tasted all the Kapokberg wines and loved them. The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc is clean and tropical and varietal, the 2014 Chardonnay was a little spicy and full and the Pinot Noir has smoky bacon and sweet cherries. Don’t miss tasting their Methode Cap Classique Brut Rosé, it’s irresistible.
A delivery of wine bottles arriving outside!
Groote Post’s cellar and tasting room
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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