Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wellington Groenberg Festival at Welbedacht

Groenberg Wynstok Talmfees

On Saturday, three of us drove to Wellington for the Groenberg Fest held on Schalk Burger’s farm Welbedacht. The main event was always going to be music and the crowds were expected in the late afternoon and evening. When we arrived at 12 the temperature was already at 38 degrees C and we had a quick rush around the stalls to see who was there and what was on offer. Then we got invited into the cool inner sanctum for a guided tasting of wines from the Groenberg area and that is where we remained for much of a very pleasant afternoon

The festival was held on the Welbedacht Cricket Oval. Rugby may be the game that the Burgers are known for, but they are also keen cricketers
We stared with a chat with Tiaan Burger and Hardus van Heerden, their new winemaker, and a tasting of the Welbedacht wines
Tiaan introduced us to their new MCC bubbly named Mon René after his sister. It is 100% chardonnay, and unoaked
There was a talent contest taking place and these two musicians were performing. There was music all day
Nice to see a winemaker from another region enjoying the festival. Dawie Botha of Antonij Rupert was there with his wife
Too hot for shoes? Dawie and his wife were about to go grape stomping
Then on to taste some wines from Linton Park. There was a lucky draw on entry and Lynne won a case of their 2014 De Slange Rivier Shiraz/Merlot blend, which was a nice surprise. It will go to the back of our cellar to rest a while
and we met the owners of Jacaranda farm René and Birgit Reiser. It is very small with only 2.5 hectares of grapes, but they produce four different wines. New vineyards should come on stream soon
Inside for the start of three guided tastings. The first was of some of the reds of the area: 2 Merlots, 2 Shirazes and 2 Bordeaux Blends. We particularly like the Bohemian Shiraz 2010 from Welbedacht warm and smooth with a kick of spice and very silky sweet fruit, ending in white pepper and some nice soft chalky tannins. This still has a few more years. We discovered that they grow all the Boekenhoutskloof shiraz on the farm and this vineyard is next to that one. The Jacaranda Cab/Merlot also impressed with violets and dark chocolates on the nose, soft fruit and a violet crème with cherries on the silky palate
Schalk Burger senior takes us through the tasting
The second tasting was a food and wine pairing and these different canapés had been made to each match one of the wines. The plate was so generous we didn’t need lunch afterwards and some of the pairings were excellent. The Welbedacht Cricket Pitch flagship wine was paired with the Osso bucco tart, filled with rich meat and garlic, both delicious. A surprise was the match between DGB’s RibShack Red and the open wild boar burger with pesto. Yes we admit prejudice, we were not expecting to like the wine as much as we did. It’s a nice, juicy, easy drinking wine and we would order it if we saw it on a menu. It is extremely well priced. On their stand they offered a rack of ribs and a bottle of RibShack for R80. The chocolate tart was awesome but really needed a dessert wine to pair with it.
Nice to see Wayne Rademeyer of Buffalo Ridge Buffala mozzarella, whose farm is across the road. He had a stand at the festival
Then Schalk took us through the third tasting which was The Best of the Best in the area. The 2005 Chenin Blanc from Welbedacht was their first harvest – it has lasted well and the best compliment we can pay it is that we would happily buy it, its unmistakably a Chenin, rich, layered and complex
The Springbok and Western Province rugby culture is very strong at Welbedacht. Schalk senior and Schalk junior are both proud wearers of the green and gold and the blue and white “streeptrui”. The tasting had to be over by 3, so that the Stormers vs Chiefs match could be screened. Schalk jr played, but the Stormers lost
Back out into the very warm afternoon air. The boys were watching rugby
A novel way to play Noughts and Crosses, while the boys are watching rugby
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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