Thursday, March 12, 2015

On tour in Franschhoek and Durbanville

John has had some wonderful groups of American tourists in between all the other activities we write about this week. While Lynne was tasting at L'Ormarins, he was touring in Franschhoek, starting at Haute Cabrière, where Eben Kleintjies gave a very eloquent presentation about the production of Mèthode Cape Classique wines
finishing with a demonstration of sabrage, following the tradition set by Cellarmaster Achim von Arnim
After Cabrière, the party moved to Chamonix, where Gottfried Mocke led us through his cellar, starting with the destemmer, where newly harvested Pinot Noir grapes were being brought in and prepared for processing
His explanation of the wine-making process was followed with interest
These concrete eggs are used to ferment part of the premium chardonnay
The maturation cellar is deep under the hillside
and Gottfried told the party about the barrels he uses and the maturation process
The oldest part of the cellar is more than 300 years old and is used to mature his very small production MCC
After the cellar tour, we enjoyed a tutored tasting of the Chamonix wines
Then, as it was time for lunch, we moved on to Foliage Restaurant, where chef Chris Erasmus produces wonderful food using fresh local ingredients. This was his terrine of foie gras, served with a brioche muffin
and the best pork belly John has ever enjoyed, with the most evenly crisp crackling, tender meat and almost no fat
Foliage is waiting for their wine licence, so we brought in the wines Chris will serve as his house wines: Reyneke Organic white and red blends, sold to us by Ludwig Maske at La Cotte wine sales

Then on to La Bri, with apologies to Irene Waller for keeping her waiting while the guests wanted to visit flea markets etc. She was, as ever, the perfect lady and greeted us with her typical charm, enthusiasm and deep knowledge of the wine business, leading us through a tasting of her best wines
showing us the fermenting red grapes in the tank
and even letting the guests try punching down the cap of red grape skins in the fermenting juice
Then, a few days later, off to Durbanville with another group, where Durbanville Hills cellarmaster Martin Moore led us through his 
huge cellar which produces massive quantities of affordable, good quality wines and also smaller quantities of premium quality wines
which were shown to us by Brand Home Manager Kate Jackson
Then on to Nitida, to see how quality wines are produced on a much smaller scale
with tasting room manager Inge taking us through the extensive Nitida range of wines
Winemaker Danie Keulder then took us through his cellar, where we tasted the new sauvignon juice, part fermented  and fully fermented 2015 sauvignon blanc
Time had caught up with us and we had to skip the cellar tour at Altydgedacht, but Nikki led us through a comprehensive tasting of their wines, including the excellent Gewurztraminer. the Barbera and the very newly bottled 2015 Sauvignon blanc
after which we were off through the evening traffic to Constantia to drop the guests off at their guesthouse and continue to L'Avenir in Stellenbosch for the launch of the new Pinotage Lounge. Another beautiful day in the Cape wine country
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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