Wednesday, May 06, 2015

De Krans wines trade and media presentation at the Mount Nelson

We were sad to hear that there will be no Port Festival this year (they will be holding special events during the month of June) but were delighted that De Krans brought their wines to Cape Town to show them to the media and the trade. On Tuesday, we met in the Mount Nelson's Planet restaurant for a guided tasting of both wines and port and tasted some very interesting and some really delicious wines. This was followed by a tour de force tasting of exceptional canapés, matched by Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg with some older De Krans wines and port. You don’t realise how much you are eating when the canapés are so deliciously matched to good wine
The welcome bubbly was a Zero Dosage 2013 De Krans blend of Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Tinta Barocca. Full of limes and apples with some pear and a very dry finish, as one would expect from a zero dosage wine. It is very quaffable and available, only on the farm, at R140. Only 2000 bottles have been made.
Getting to know each other, again
The table set for the tasting
Port for tasting later, with the canapé lunch
They took over Planet Restaurant for the tasting
First three wines for tasting were 2015 Free Run Chenin, Wild Fermented unwooded Chardonnay 2014 and a Moscato Perlé 2015. The Chenin has a good acid sugar balance and is quite tropical. It has huge concentrations of fruit. The chardonnay is golden fruit with apples, yellow plums and a really full mouth and lots of lees. We suspect this will age well. The fizzy perlé is full of roses, litchis and peach flavours and is quite sweet for our palate. Several people commented that it was a pity that, while there were good Spiegelau wine glasses on tables for the diners, the tasting was carried out in very ordinary, thick rimmed glasses, which would not bring out the best in the wines
Boets Nel of De Krans
The tasting information was under the glasses
Winemaker Louis van der Riet took us through the wines
Nicely chilled
Louis has been at De Krans since 2013
The first red was a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon with 8% Merlot added, It has vanilla, cassis and cassis leaves on the nose, was as smooth as silk, with tight, chalky tannins and dark berry flavours; hot and juicy with some elegance
The next three reds. The Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) was the wine of the tasting, captivating and delighting many. It has rich, deep berries and vanilla on the nose, with incense and forest floor notes; very pretty. It is soft and silky, then fruit-full, then dark, moody and velvety. Showing its port proclivities well, but without the sweetness. Structured with chalky tannins, this wine will, we think, win awards. We both scored it 18/20
The Touriga Naçional 2013 has a very green and spicy nose, very herbal, full of cherries and ripe mulberries with some incense wood. A kicker of a wine, full of heat and spice, dry tannins, licorice and violets
Tritonia 2011 is the De Krans flagship blend of Touriga Naçional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barocca. Violets, dark berries and incense on the nose, it is full of sweet fruit, soft chalk and then some sweet and sour complexity, long flavours with elegance. Needs time

Boets tells us about the port to come
A typical trade/media tasting. Everyone is seriously tasting, making notes and tweeting
Some of the older vintage wines and ports to taste with lunch. Such a treat
Journalist Sandile Mkhwanazi, Head Sommelier Luvo Ntezo of the One&Only, Head Sommelier Pearl Oliver of The Mount Nelson and Pippa Pringle, PRO, who put the day together for De Krans
Our third flight, this time of 4 ports. Premier Cape Ruby NV was full of spice, vanilla, fruit, green herbs and salty licorice and the unmistakable smell and taste of just picked warm blackberries. It needs time. The Cape Vintage 2013 - Amaretti biscuits on the nose and super sweet dark plums and cherries with a good kick of alcohol. Long flavours. The Cape Vintage Reserve 2012 is dense black in colour. Herbal fynbos, cinnamon dark plums, raisins and cough candy on the nose. Sweet velvety cinnamon chocolate and jam with more cough candy on the palate. Long chalky and warm aftertaste. Then the best of the flight: Cape Vintage Reserve 2011. Brûlée caramel, herbs, pomegranate and molasses on the nose. Sweet soft mulberries, red stewed plums raisins, glace and black cherries and chalk on the palate, finishing long hot spicy and satisfying. At its peak; it scored an 18 from Lynne
Sommelier Pearl Oliver and Pippa Pringle. Pearl and Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg put together the tasting and food pairing 
The chef who prepared the food tells us about it
Restaurant staff, whose excellent service made the day so special
Wines to taste with lunch
The menu. There were three tables, each with a selection of wines, and the food came in small portions, so you could pair and match and help yourself as you preferred. It worked very well indeed
Table One with the sensational rich layered duck terrine, cured salmon and steak tartare. The seafood Fritto misto came hot from the kitchen in small bowls
Duck terrine. Layers of rich duck meat, sandwiched with duck liver paté on a slice of brioche. This was the perfect match for the older ports
Cured salmon, salmon caviar and salmon mousse
Mini steak tartar quenelle en croute with mustard, horseradish sauces and chopped onion, capers and pickles
Cathy Marston asks John if he would like some vintage De Krans
On Table 2: Gnocchi, confit egg with mushrooms; pork belly with cabbage – this had a marvellous tangy sauce.
Chicken and prosciutto – we didn’t get to taste this
Luvo (about to be a father) Ntezo, head sommelier at the One&Only
The crisp and delicious Fritto Misto
Beef en croute
Lamb, labneh and green beans
Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg with Sommelier Pearl Oliver
Samarie Smith with Luvo Ntezo
Yet another tray of fantastic food arrives
The table we all wanted to visit, the dessert table. They were all rich and delicious dessert bites. The cheese and figs went very well with the ports, but by far the best match of the day, and this was after a superbly innovative and well matched performance by the chefs, was the creamy English Stilton. It always has been
Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za persuading Winnie Bowman CWM to try another vintage port. Melvyn Minnaar looks on
John snuck into the kitchen to catch the chefs at work
Winnie Bowman with Boets Nel at the end of a great experience. We need to get the youth of today appreciating good port and wines made from port varietals. They are missing out on so much

NOTE: We use the term "Port" to describe the fortified wines we wrote about here and in other articles. The Portuguese don't like it and it is not used on the labels, but these wines were made with the same grape varietals as Ports in the Douro Valley, in similar conditions and compete on equal terms in international competitions
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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