Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wine Cellar launches their new tasting venue in Observatory

Wine Cellar is one of the premier outlets in the Cape at which one can buy fine local and international wines and also store your own wine collection perfectly, should you not have a cellar. We were invited to this newly finished function room (which is available for hire) for a tasting of David Trafford’s Sijnn wines, paired in a blind tasting, with some foreign wines. It was an excellent tasting of some very, very interesting wines and this was followed by an excellent Pork Chasseur dish accompanied great chewy artisanal bread, unsalted butter and good cheese.
The tasting room all set up for the tasting. It now has a large photographic mural of the Stellenbosch mountains
Co-owner of Wine Cellar, David Brice, welcoming us all and telling us about the refurbishment and other changes. The end wall has been carefully covered with rocks collected by him and others from the Sijnn property on the Berg River and shows some very interesting sandstone and quartz river washed rocks
They still have to put up some shelves but, otherwise, the room is now finished
We began with a glass of Drappier Brut Nature Champagne
Bottles wrapped for the blind tasting
David Trafford tells us about his wines. The first one we tasted was his 2013 White Blend made of 76% Chenin, 20% Viognier and 5% Marsanne Roussane. It is a typical Chenin, full of rich layered fruit – golden apples and plums with a hint of woodsmoke. Good acidity and freshness. R175 a bottle
Roland Peens of Wine Cellar took us through the foreign wines. The second wine was a 2012 De L’Orée, a Hermitage Blanc made by Chapoutier from 100% Marsanne. Also golden fruit with a more mature backbone, almost a sherry-like character in the centre and some wood on the back palate. Roland rather spoilt us with this wine; he has just unpacked it and wanted to taste it. It’s a rather breathtaking R1450 a bottle. John found it very hard to spit a wine costing a large number of Rand per mouthful
This was followed by a Niepoort 10 Vertente Field Blend from the Douro in Portugal; full of bloody merlot cherries, smoke, violets, cassis and smoky bacon. Dry dusty tannins, cherries and chalk on the palate. Still to open up. R225, This was paired with David Trafford Off Centre: a Trincadeira and Mourvèdre blend. Green herbaceous nose, with cherries beneath. And greengage fruit with crisp acidity then mulberries and chalk. David said he was trying to make it taste foreign. He succeeded. R220
The delicious bread basket which had some of us Banters recanting for the evening
The Pork Chasseur with mushrooms on a polenta slice was prepared by a local caterer in Nelson Road, Observatory
James Pietersen of Wine Cellar making sure everyone has enough glasses
The line up of the wines we tasted. There were some very interesting foreign wines and many of them did match well with the Sijnn wines. The two Syrahs were both exciting. Sijnn 2012 was full of chocolate and cherries with smoky bacon and soft chalky tannins. We scored it high. R270. It was matched with a 2012 St Joseph Syrah from Northern Rhône, Le Grisières, which had a rather rich Burgundy nose of complex fruits, forest floor, mushrooms and leather. Pure red and black berries with chalky tannins reminded Lynne of Hartenberg’s The Stork Shiraz. R300
The last two wines were also very interesting and delicious in a very different way. A 2012 from the USA - Robert Haas Côte de Tablas Creek in California, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Mourvèdre The nose is pretty with layers of fruit - mostly rhubarb and raspberries. On the palate, light red cherries and berries with whiffs of wood smoke R465. This was paired with the Sijnn Red: Vanilla and dark fruit with herbs on the nose, delicious rhubarb and vanilla custard on the palate with soft chalky tannins, some salt and umami flavours. This was our best wine of the tasting. We confess, we are huge Trafford fans and have several of his good wines in our cellar, some of them Winemakers Guild wines
David Trafford with his Sijnn winemaker, Charla Haasbroek, and Harry Pieterse, who were responsible for building the stone wall
They hold these tastings fairly regularly. If you are interested, you need to get on their mailing list. We loved the evening and the opportunity to taste these wines
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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