Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Visit to Niel Joubert Wine Estate in Paarl

Charles Withington has had a respectable career in wine. He owns the Darling Wine Shop and has become a friend. During his tenure as General Manager at nearby Backsberg, he got to know the Jouberts very well and has looked after their export marketing since the mid 90s. Recently, he suggested that we should all go and have a tasting and lunch with them. We met him there last Wednesday and a wonderful day was had by all
The farm is on the Simondium Road in Klapmuts, near Paarl and, on going through these imposing gates, you drive far up the road into the wooded countryside
until you come to these gates guarded by the two handsome Belgian Shepherd dogs who greet you effusively
The manor house, where they have their offices
The vines are behind and all around this leafy farm and creep up the Simonsberg
Lovely garden designs. It must be pretty when the creeper is in full colour
Into the tasting room to meet daughter Mari. Should you wish to visit they are open by appointment. http://www.nieljoubert.co.za/ It's a family farm, bought in 1898, and is now run by third and fourth generation Jouberts
Mari Joubert is in charge of PR and Marketing
Winemaker Ernst Leicht came in and told us about his wines
We tasted these wines in the cellar and photographed them at the same time. We began with the 2009 Christine-Marié MCC which is made from 100% unwooded chardonnay. It has lovely vanilla, perfume and aged lees on the nose and melon, limes and cooked pear on the palate, with good mousse and good length
We went on to taste the 2015 Chenin blanc, full of tropical fruits but crisp, dry and refreshing
Then the Pinotage Rosé Blanc de Noir, with pretty, floral fruity notes
The 2013, just bottled, Pinotage which smells of expensive wood, but has only been dusted. It tastes of red plums, with good tannins and licorice, banana, chocolate and coffee at the end. Something most Pinotage lovers will like, especially at the price, which is R52 from the farm
The 2013 Cabernet is excellent, with pretty cassis berries and leaves and vanilla on the nose. Its full of soft, sweet clean fruit, richness, elegance, some green tannins with licorice on the end. It is a good food wine and a snip at R63. It is punching well above its station and we think will also lay down well for future drinking
Their 2012 Shiraz, which is their biggest seller here and overseas, has incense wood and Chanel perfume, it is spicy, woody, herbaceous, with clove, cinnamon and pepper notes and some capsicum in with the fruit. Lots of wood on the end
This 2008 Christine Marié Chardonnay shows how well South African whites can age, which is why we bought a case. It spent 18 months in new French barrels. It is an elegant, classic Chardonnay, not over-wooded, but full of fresh golden fruit
Charles Withington
Viticulturalist Daan Joubert with winemaker Niel Joubert jr
Niel Joubert has accumulated a collection of classic American cars, mainly convertibles, from the 50s and 60s
Most of them are General Motors brands, but he also has a Packard
We then left the tasting room and headed for lunch at Daan Joubert's home across the road. It is very old and has been sympathetically and beautifully restored by the family. Daan is a stickler for detail and doing things the right way, says his wife, Eleanor
The family's elderly golden retriever
Lunch was set up for us in the dining room and we started with cups of a lovely seafood soup accompanied by the 2014 Herr Leicht, a great match. This is an unusual blend of 69% Sauvignon Blanc, 22% Nouvelle and 14% Chenin Blanc. It is made for the Namibian market
The main course was served with the 2006 Christine Marié Shiraz which is very refined, spicy on the nose and yet full on fruit and nicely matured on the palate. It was served with a corn, radish, cucumber, rocket and chevre salad and...
... beautifully cooked oxtail on the bone with onions. We were converted immediately. It is not a dish we have enjoyed before, but all the sinew and fat had been cooked away, leaving only the meat on the bone in its rich juices. It was also served with rice. The shiraz was the perfect match
We had lots of good conversation over lunch and then it was time for dessert. A wonderful soft cake filled with sweet cream and walnuts and 'iced' with fresh cream
Served here by Daan's wife, Eleanor
We enjoyed this with homemade limoncello. It was, deceptively, served in a Herr Leicht bottle
A beautiful handle on a piece of antique furniture
The vineyards have very interesting drainage ditches every four rows

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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