Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stanford Wine Route Launch: Raka

We arrive at Raka, one of the family run wineries we always visit when in the area, to buy some of its excellent wines. It is owned by commercial fisherman and amusing raconteur Piet Dreyer, the man who put squid on the tables of South Africa. He runs it with his sweetly patient wife Elna, who kindly mothers everyone, sons Josef (winemaker), Pieter (Viticulturist) and daughter Jorika (Sales and Marketing). Gerhard, the oldest son, runs the fishing business. They are a charming, hospitable and amusing family. Raka is named after Piet's Black fishing vessel. (From the Afrikaans poem by N.P. van Wyk Louw, about an African tribe being threatened by Raka, half man, half beast and as black as the night). Squid ink makes fishing boats black with its ink, Piet bought a black ship so he didn’t have to repaint it that often!
The tasting room
Piet and Elna summoned us to a long table in the tasting room for a comprehensive tasting of their wines. You can taste 4 wines free, there is a charge for more.
Piet kept us very amused and interested with his stories of how he started in business and then how he bought the farm and started making wine.
The red wines have always scored high in Platter and are mainly four star and above. We also love their white wines and their rosé and generally buy their reasonable Chenin and rosé by the case. This is their four star Quinary, a Bordeaux blend, nose full of ripe mulberries, it has layers of berry fruit, vanilla & liquorice. All the reds are appealing and worth drinking now or keeping. The flagship 5 star Biography Shiraz with pure clean warm fruit is spicy and sweet with soft chalky tannins. The Figurehead is their lasting Cape blend, one for future drinking.
Should you have a special occasion, you can buy a box of the top 6 varietal wines called Luxus for R780. On the box is printed "Born of the sea, guided by the stars, blessed by the earth"
It contains a bottle each of Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre
Then it was time for a delicious farm style lunch of traditional food. The food had been prepared locally and brought to the farm. We had a Hoenderpastei (chicken pie) with wafer crisp, flaky pastry over creamy tender chicken, and a pot of waterblommetjies (a water plant that grows in the dams)
This was accompanied by sweet potatoes and rice. We have to confess not being very fond of traditional way of cooking sweet potatoes like this when they are very sweet and soft, almost caramelised, but they acted as a sort of chutney and were very good indeed with the pie
Bud break happening on the vines up the hill
We all tried to avoid eating too much of the apple stuffed cream cake but could not resist a slice. A coffee, and then it was time to go to our accommodation to unpack and get ready for drinks on the dam at Robert Stanford estate
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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