Sunday, October 04, 2015

Stanford Wine Route Launch: Walker Bay Vineyards, Birkenhead Brewery

On our last morning in Stanford we were taken for brunch to the boutique winery called Walker Bay Vineyards which is also the home of the Birkenhead brewery. They have 20 hectares of vines and they released their maiden vintage Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in 2007 followed shortly afterwards by their red blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot
The ±20 hectares of vines planted on clay-textured soils and benefitting from the prevailing cool winds from the ocean now also include Shiraz
This is a selection of their wines and beer
In the brewery which was started in 1997, they now make 6 craft beers. It was named after the famous British iron-hulled steam troopship H.M. Birkenhead which foundered on the coast close to the estate in 1852. There were not enough lifeboats for the 643 people aboard and this gave rise to the Navy tradition of "Women and Children First" as the soldiers stood firm and let them take the lifeboats. Only 193 people were saved. The "Birkenhead drill" of Rudyard Kipling's poem describes courage in face of hopeless circumstances
First we enjoyed a beer tasting
A delicious brunch was waiting for us with smoked salmon, cream cheese, croissants ...
... fruit salad, yoghurt, avocado salad and more
Reinhard Odendaal, Winemaker/viticulturist of Walker Bay vineyards, introduces us to the estate
The six beers in the tasting are all extremely well made and are all very different. We do buy them. They can all be purchased on the farm and also are available in many South African cities and towns
Then it was time to taste the Walker Bay wines and they are very drinkable. The 2013 unoaked Chardonnay at R89 is in the Chablis style, crisp and elegant. The oaked chardonnay has a buttery nose and is full of leesy limes and lemons and cooked apple notes, but remains crisp. The Amasteca 2013 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot is very accomplished and we liked the Rosé too. Definitely a winery to watch in the future
Time for breakfast with scrambled eggs and bacon with accompaniments
Reinhard is employed by Birkenhead Holdings Limited and is also the GM. A young mover and shaker
His dog charmed everyone
He is recovering from a climbing accident
Then it was off to the Klein River Cheese factory to make some purchases to take home
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015
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