Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The launch of Perdeberg Winery’s new barrel cellar

We returned to work this week in time to take up our invitation to Perdeberg for the launch of their new Barrel cellar, with lunch. We have always loved their wines, especially their Chenin Blancs and we sold cases of them when we had our shop, Main Ingredient, so we knew we were in for a good day. They had organised a bus to take us out to the farm from town, for which we are always grateful, as tasting wine all day and then driving home means John cannot enjoy the day as much as he would like
The new Barrel cellar
Filled with lots of barrels of wine maturing and a table set for the lunch
We assembled in the tasting room waiting for others to arrive, enjoying some coffee and, for some of us, a glass of the Dry Land Chenin Blanc
Then we climbed back into the bus and drove to Eenzaamheid farm (it means solitude) which is one of the oldest farms in South Africa. Founded in 1692 and given by Adam Tas to his sister Sarah. It is currently owned by Christo Briers-Louw, whose family has owned the land since 1775. This is where the Dry Land Bush vine Chenin is grown
Happy travellers and lots of interesting discussions on the bus
It is a classic Cape Dutch farmhouse
We were welcomed by Gerhard van der Watt CEO of Perdeberg and PRO Karey Evett
and with a good glass of Perdeberg's 2009 Brut Reserve MCC, made from Chenin Blanc
Served with some large fresh oysters and some smoked salmon canapés
Christo Briers-Louw and his wife Marietjie with Gerhard van der Watt. He told us some of the history of the farm. Their Chenin vines were planted in 1977 and are the oldest in the Dry Land and the MCC they have 150 hectares of vines, 60 of which are Chenin Blanc. They also have a 15 hectare nature reserve for the Geometric tortoise
Viticulturist Heinie Nel told us about the growing conditions in the area. The old vines grow on deep soils with good stored moisture. It is a hot area getting up into the high 40s during the growing season but every afternoon they have cooling constant South Westerly winds which bring the temperature down to 30 degrees allowing slower ripening, more concentration and higher quality., the vine are not stressed and the grapes can be left for later harvesting. the quality of the grapes is the pruning of the bush vines t give a lower crop is also very important, as a cover crop which reduces the need for unnecessary chemicals
On the terrace listening to Heinie. Perdeberg converted from a Co-op in 2012 to a Company, marketing lead rather than just a production outlet. They have 3,000 hectares and are aiming for premium brands internationally. They are obsessed with quality. They have quite a wide supply base in the Paarl area and 38% from the Swartland. There is a gap in the overseas market and there is also a growing excitement overseas about our Chenins. Perdeberg is beginning to win prestigious local and overseas awards including a Decanter Gold and the International Trophy for Chenin
Then it was time for a tasting of some of the wines: The Waka Waka white blend; SAAM 2014 blend of Chenin and Muscat de Alexandrie; Perdeberg Chenin 2015; SAAM 2014 Chenin and the Perdeberg Vineyards 2014 Chenin. Lynne has written on her notes for this last wine BUY! and we did and took a case home
It was pleasant enough weather for the tasting to be held outdoors
We were joined by celebrity chef Jenny Morris, who has become an ambassador for Perdeberg
Cellarmaster Albertus Louw talked us through the tasting
Afterwards, we had some canapés." Smoked oysters on cream cheese mousse, and mushroom paté on small polenta cakes
Smoked salmon and smoked chicken with cucumber
The spread
Some of their past awards and trophies
A collection of writers, all taking notes
Two of the wines we tasted. Pairs of bottles were positioned along the table
Jenny Morris
Michael Fridjhon
Jenny Morris and her husband David examining the bottles
We then returned to Perdeberg for lunch and a glass of bubbly was waiting our return
Cool and crisp
It's Perdeberg's Pinot Noir Rosé, which won them a double gold at Michelangelo and an Old Mutual Trophy Silver
The welcoming committee, Brand manager Fergill Fortuin and CEO Gerhard van der Watt
who told us about the new cellar
Michael Fridjhon does sabrage on the MCC Pinot Noir Rosé
No glass in the bottle
We went into the cellar for lunch
Chef James Shipton of Salt and Pepper Catering telling us what is on the menu and how he made the food and wine pairings
The Menu, which lists the wines paired with each course. The most popular wines of the day were the Dry Land Collection Barrel Fermented Chenin. This is winning award after award. People also really like the SAAM Middelberg 2013 Single Vineyard Chenin. SAAM is a joint venture with Charles Back
The Trio of Fish
Karoo Rack of Lamb with very sickly candied sweet potatoes and fine green beans.
CEO Gerhard van der Watt tells about the wines we are to taste
Dessert was Crème Brulée, a mini lemon tart and Budino di Cioccolato - a deep dark chocolate ganache
Fergill Fortuin reminds us that Perdeberg also produced good red wines, especially their Shiraz. We hope to taste some of these soon
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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