Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Durbanville Season of Sauvignon

This annual festival heralds the new releases of the Sauvignons Blanc from the Durbanville Valley. We went on Saturday and we started at the furthest farm, Phizante Kraal, where we were given a tasting of four bubblies from the area, two made from Sauvignon Blanc, in the media lounge. They had also laid on brunch, but we were rather tardy after our long Karoo trip and there was not much left when we got there, entirely our fault but we had eaten breakfast.
Each farm had organised its own tasting, its own entrance price, its own deposit on glasses and its own entertainment. So those farms who could afford to go to town had a lot of visitors, more than the others. At previous festivals people circulated from farm to farm much more than we saw this time. We managed to get to 8 farms but didn't manage to taste at all of them. And a 9th was just too popular and we were not allowed to go in. We had a good lunch at Hillcrest
Four bubblies to start the day off well: Nitida The Matriarch MCC, Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc; Daria Pop Song Sauvignon Blanc & Bloemendal MCC from Chardonnay & Pinot Noir
Brunch is almost over
Some egg, cheese and bacon quiches topped with pesto
Cheese and apple on French toast
PR manager for the valley, Angela Fourie
Off to Diemersdal next, but the car park was full to bursting. They were charging R100 entrance per head, so people were spending the day there. We had media passes, but had you moved around a bit, the day could have become quite expensive with all the individual charges. We skipped on to Signal Gun, where Marli Geldenhuys very kindly gave us a tasting glass to take with us, as well as a gift of some wine and their craft beer. We were not given any glasses for the day and were expected to put deposits on glasses at several of the farms, on one of which the staff were quite rude about it. Paying and then retrieving the deposit at each farm would have taken up a lot of time and we didn't have much cash on us - we live a fairly cashless life; debit cards are king. We had two glasses in our car already, there for emergencies such as this, but managed to break one of them trying to hold glasses and camera while closing the heavy lid!

We spotted this butterfly romping in the lavender there
People having fun at Signal Gun
One good thing was you could taste all the Durbanville Sauvignons at each farm, if you knew where to look! But you could only buy the one from the farm you were on. Here, they were on a barrel next to the tasting area and you could help yourself
The most stunning banks of vygies (mesembryanthemums) in clashing colours
More on the way out. On the left were the farm's emus in their enclosure
Next, to friendly Meerendal, where David Sibande and Denise Croy looked after us. We were offered lunch, but we had already been booked into Hillcrest. We will return soon
There was a Saturday morning market on the green and lots of things for children to do. And they were not too busy
The roses are spectacular at the moment
Marketing Manager, Bennie Howard CWM, was giving a guided tasting of Sauvignons in the cellar, including one each from Chile and New Zealand, and we were rushed in to join it and received a warm welcome
Luckily it had just begun. We tasted some great Sauvignon Blancs and especially liked the older 2009
SA, drink your Sauvignon Blancs with some age, they really do get better and less acidic. Bennie generously gave us a bottle of the wonderful 2009 Meerendal to take home
Bennie with winemaker Liza Goodwin and broadcaster Guy McDonald of Magic 828 AM
The 2015 Durbanville 12 - made with grapes from 12 Durbanville wine farms
The Meerendal Hotel in the historic manor house. The farm was founded in 1702
Off to lunch at Hillcrest, where the organisers had booked us for lunch. Loriane Grobbelaar found us and she ably organised wine and lunch
Not exactly a selfie, but he asked nicely
Graeme Read, winemaker and now brewer, with a sample of his brew. They also gave us some olive tapenade and some olive oil to take home
We bumped into friends at the Restaurant and John had a great Burger and Lynne a steak salad. We enjoyed a bottle of the 2015 Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc, always a favourite
Then off to Altydgedacht, which was thinning out. The restaurant had been busy, we were told
Owner and Cellar master Oliver Parker tasting some of the other valley wines.
Ollo with his son David
We did a quick tasting with the girls and then it was time to be off to the next farm. It was almost time for the Rugby to start
Baby calves and their mothers and some who looked just about to calve
A quick call to Durbanville Hills next; it wouldn't be the Sauvignon festival without a visit here
They were open till 5 but had just closed the tasting room at 4 because there were too many enthusiastic tasters so, sadly, we didn't get to taste the new wines. However, they did give us a bottle of the new Sauvignon Blanc in a cooler bag to take home. We will just have to return soon and see our friend, Cellarmaster Martin Moore, who was overseas
Brand Home Manager Kate Jackson with friends of Durbanville Hills
The view toward Klein Roosboom from the terrace at Durbanville Hills
Everyone was sitting in the marquee watching the Rugby World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks when we got to Klein Roosboom. John was recording it on PVR so we didn't want to watch too much until we could see it at home
Nice to hear the anthems though
We said a quick hello to Karin de Villiers winemaker/owner and tasted the delicious new Sauvignon Blanc. She kindly gave us the open bottle and another to take home
Our final stop was De Grendel, who were staying open till 7. We thought a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc on the terrace in the sunshine with the fantastic view would be a lovely end to the day
Sadly, the view was covered in sea mist, as the day was quite hot and the sea still Antarctic cold! They were not busy
We stayed for a little while, then went home to watch the disappointing Rugby
Stephanie Phelps and Shannon Stirrup, the girls in the Tasting room were super and very welcoming. They were hoping Sunday would be busier
Thank you to all the farms we visited and thank you for the wines and generous presents we received from some of them and the lunch and the tastings
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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