Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Du Toitskloof new releases tasting; new premier Quest range. Lunch at Melissa’s Country Kitchen

On a Quest...

The week since our last MENU began with a visit to Du Toitskloof for a tasting of their new releases, including their new premium Quest range, followed by lunch at the new Melissa’a restaurant attached to the winery. Many people don't know how much the quality of wine in this area is improving. They have superb and varied terroir, an even climate and good winemakers at Du Toitskloof. At a recent blind tasting of very good value wines at our wine club, the Du Toitskloof Cabernet Shiraz scored top marks and that was for the box wine, which had been decanted into a bottle to fool us.
A grey early morning at the Cape Town International Conference Centre where we joined our coach to Rawsonville ...
... waiting in front of the main building
Melissa's have opened a branch of their restaurant/shop on Du Toitskloof so, now, great food is available.
We were welcomed with their top end Quest 100% Chardonnay MCC. This is made by Melanie van der Merwe of Tanzanite Wines
Du Toitskloof is a Co-operative Winery whose Directors are all farmer members of the Co-op. They have 22 member farms and currently grow 14 500 tons of grapes a year - 12½ million litres, of which 55% is white and 45% red. Their business principle is "It's a Journey without a destination in mind". They are creative and search for opportunities in a congested wine market
We also enjoyed great coffee and killer muffins, especially the cheese and spinach ones
The inside of Melissa’s
People enjoying coffee and cake
Lynne explores the wares
Time for the speeches. Here are Sales manager Bernard Kotze and CEO Marius Louw. They told us that they are involved in the largest Fairtrade social responsibility project in the world and have, over the years, established programmes to enrich not only the lives of their workers, but also of their families. All 22 member farms are accredited and more than 1600 workers and their family members benefit from these social upliftment and training programmes. 5 Million litres of bulk wine are sold overseas, where Fairtrade wines get good recognition. This means 40% of the profits funds the initiatives here; that is R4 million into housing, schooling, day care and medical centres and mobile libraries
Ready to begin the tasting
We tasted the Du Toitskloof Sauvignon Blanc (R38), Chenin Blanc (R32), the new Nebbiolo (R40) and the Pinotage (R42) first. All extremely good value and the Nebbiolo blew our socks off, so we bought a box to drink at home. We suspect this will be drunk all summer long, meaning several visits to the farm
Marius Louw telling us more about Du Toitskloof
Chief Winemaker Shaun Thomson took us through the wines
Willie Stofberg, Winemaker
Bernard Kotze
Johan de Wet, Chairman
Then it was time to taste the two Quest wines. Quest are their premium quality, top of the range wines. Quest 1 is the 2011 Heroes’ Journey, a Bordeaux blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 12% Petite Verdot. A silky smooth, intensely complex and concentrated wine, with deep cassis and cherry flavours and a hint of violets from the Petit Verdot. R160 a bottle; a case of this came home with us for fine dining. It is accessible now and therefore will not need aging, but won't suffer if you do put it down. 4½ stars in Platter

Quest 2 is 2011 Heroes’ Journey Rhône blend, made from 62% Shiraz and 38% savoury Mourvèdre; wild fruits with a kick of pepper, cumin and heat. Delicious with a nice dark wood end. 4 stars in Platter
The standard range wines we tasted
Time for lunch on the loggia, thankfully tented against the inclement weather
Restaurant manager Jaco Brand told us that Pierre Smit, one of the Co-op farmers, picked the waterblom at 2 the previous afternoon
The classic Waterblommetjie lamb bredie went so well with Quest 2, the Rhône blend. Both were delicious. The bredie is made with slow cooked sheep’s neck and oregano with the Waterblommetjies
PRO Emile Joubert
Last course was a cheese and charcuterie platter with olives and preserves, and lots of Quest 1
The N1 on the way home. Lots and lots of early evening traffic and lots of rain 
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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