Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jordan harvest report and launch of Inspector Peringuey Chenin blanc

Phylloxera is a tiny destructive louse, native to North America, which  preys on and destroys the roots of grape vines. It was accidentally introduced to France in the 1860’s, spread rapidly and devastated the vines there and in the rest of Europe and they all had to be replanted. It also made its way to South Africa on vine root stocks and caused major devastation. It is the reason that all vines in most of the world have to be planted on American root stocks which are immune to it. It was discovered in Mowbray in the Cape in 1886 by a French scientist, Dr Louis Albert Peringuey. He was an Insect taxonomist who became Inspector-general of vineyards in the Cape. Jordan Wine Estate has honoured him by naming their newly released 2014 Chenin Blanc after him and we were invited to their Harvest lunch to taste it
Jordan’s new Harvest T-shirt
Gathering for a welcoming drink outside the Bakery
Chef George Jardine menu planning inside the Bakery
and contacting suppliers
Lynne was delighted to see that he has just produced a cookbook and bought one immediately. The recipes are very accessible and as George said, we have probably eaten half of them already. She can’t wait to try cooking some of them at home
Gary Jordan welcomes us with glasses of the Jordan Barrel fermented 2013 Chenin Blanc
Kathy Jordan and Jacques Steyn
Platter editor Philip and Cathy van Zyl MW
Gary tells us what a great harvest it is this year and about the weather that led up to it. He said how amazing the grapes are, that they have never seen better and that it is going to be a bumper harvest. It started two weeks early, on the 22nd of January, the earliest recorded harvest in all the 23 harvests they have done on Jordan. They are mid way through and about to start picking their red grapes, starting with the Merlot
Kathy told us that they are very busy in the cellar, and they are still doing some pre-harvest bottling! They may be able to finish in time for Easter this year, but will still have work to do in the cellar
The farm dogs at all our feet. We heard about the Chenin blanc vine improvement programme they are doing with Ken Forrester and Bruwer Raats by doing clone selections from existing vineyards to get rid of viruses. The launch today is of the 2014 Chenin. It was the first vineyard they planted on the property, the vines were trellised and they are the Montpellier clone, which is different from most of the chenin clones planted in South Africa
We ventured briefly into the cellar to taste the sweet juice of the just picked Chenin grapes and the fermenting must from the previous day’s picking. The juice was sweet and grassy, while the must was full of guava and green grass, herbs, and lemon zest with crisp zingy fruit acids, but in perfect balance with the grape sugars and has great depth of flavour. It is amazing to see what the addition of yeast and one day’s fermentation can do to grape juice. We can’t wait to see what this year’s Chenin will be like. It will go into third fill oak barrels
While we were in the cellar, the grapes kept coming in and the press was working full time
Working on the press
Listening, taking notes, tweeting and tasting
Kathy pouring out the fermenting must for Angela Lloyd
Then it was time to taste the new 2014 under the trees with lunch
Gary getting us all seated
He introduces the 2014 Jordan Chenin, named after Inspector Peringuey, and tells us his history
These are similar to the stone age tools that Peringuey was digging for when he discovered Phylloxera in the vineyards in South Africa. These have been found in the vineyards on Jordan and are very impressive. Obviously stone age man lived on this hill
They are well made and all have a purpose
The 2014 Inspector Peringuey Jordan Chenin Blanc. It has complex flavours of warm golden berries with gentle alcohol. The nice balance of acid and sugar with restrained elegance and minerality make this an excellent food wine
The lunch menu
The cheese and charcuterie platter to share
One of this year’s wine apprentices. Ksenia Findlay is from Scotland (but originally from Russia), speaks with a cultured Glaswegian accent and is loving her harvest at Jordan
Alan Mullins CWM, having a great day
The vines going up the steep hills
Three good breads from the Jardine bakery with aioli, pesto and tapenade
Food for some customers
Alan Mullins chatting with Ina Smith, who runs the South African Chenin Blanc Association
The dessert platter with sweet delights from the bakery. The absolute killer was the chocolate pie with meltingly crisp buttery pastry, thick chocolate ganache and, beneath it, sticky, salty caramel. We ate far too much of that. Because we could. And wanted to. The fruit and nut filled brownies and the tiny almond cakes topped with lemon icing and poppy seeds were also super moreish. You can go and buy them all at the Bakery.
Dax Villaneuva with Jeanri-Tine van Zyl
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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