Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Durbanville Delights in the heat

We started on Tuesday with a wine tour to four Durbanville farms for our friends from Greece and Johannesburg. We began at De Grendel, always rewarding with its great wines and that superb view of the City, Table Bay and Table Mountain. Then to Durbanville Hills for some Sauvignon Blanc and onward to lunch at Meerendal which, sadly, was a bit disappointing. We ended with a great tasting at Nitida, before heading home for an late afternoon nap and/or dip in a pool as the heat had sapped us all
That magnificent view from De Grendel
We could have tasted on the terrace but, in the heat, the inside venues are more attractive options
For our tasting, we chose to sit in the cool inside tasting lounge, which has the view, and where Douglas gives excellent information. Lynne loved the Op die Berg Chardonnay and the Shiraz so much that she bought both of them for our cellar. The Koetshuis Sauvignon blanc is a masterpiece. They have a very good Viognier, fresh and letting the grape talk, without the heavy barrel influence shown by too many South African Viogniers. We understand that the late Sir David Graaff was influenced by the great Viogniers from Condrieu, and it shows
You can also sit on the verandah and then go downstairs to the restaurant for lunch
In the very modern Durbanville Hills tasting room, also with great air conditioning. They had a special on 2014 Sauvignon Blanc so we picked up a box of 12. In addition to the "standard" sauvignon, we really enjoyed the premium Renosterveld and Biesjeskraal sauvignons. We also liked the Renosterveld Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinotage
Meerendal Manor house, which is now a hotel
Unfortunately, Lynne had booked the wrong restaurant. The service at the Crown (a franchised restaurant on the estate) was pretty poor. Our young waitress, who was very sweet, had no training whatsoever. We asked for olive oil and she didn't know what it was. It was very hot inside and the single fan was struggling to cope. Air conditioning is far better. We ordered glasses of Meerendal Chardonnay 2008 and Shiraz 2012. The Chardonnay was horribly oxidised and was replaced with the younger, much fresher unwooded version. There was only one other occupied table, but the food took a while and was not at all exciting. Large burgers, but the calamari portions were very mean and overcooked. Lynne had meant to book Carlucci's Bistro, also on the farm, to sit on their terrace, but the only restaurant mentioned on their website is the Crown. Carlucci’s is listed as the deli, which is misleading. We were too hot at the end of lunch to do a tasting

The bill for our lunch, not bad value if the food and service had been better
Bernhard Veller, owner of Nitida. We had a great tasting with Bernhard and his team in their cool tasting room. We enjoyed all the wines but the Coronata Integration white blend, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon and the Calligraphy red blend were all exceptional
Winemaker Danie Keulder (ex Groot Constantia) is very informative about wine and a lot of fun too. We know he is doing very exciting things in the cellar. He is just about to start his second harvest with Nitida. We should have gone to their Cassia restaurant for lunch
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

No comments: