Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hartenberg's Riesling & Rarities Rock - fun on a summer day

Lounging about at the Riesling and Rarer Varietals Festival at Hartenberg
South African Rieslings have always been a challenge for Lynne, who grew up drinking, first, terrible (when she was young and poor in London in the swinging 60's, when you took a bottle of really cheap, commercial Riesling to parties) and then really excellent examples of this grape from Germany, Austria and Alsace and loving them. When she came back to South Africa from Britain in 1992 she discovered that SA liked to taste terpenes in their Riesling (a petrol note, for those of you who don't recognise the term) and she doesn't, not at all.. You don't often find them in European Rieslings, unless they are positively ancient. The good news is that this seems to be changing.... so she hasn't given up trying them and buying those with no trace of terpenes, but with the quality and freshness, and the great fruit, sugar and acid balance she is looking for
This annual festival always seems to fall at just the right time of the year. The weather was perfect. You can lounge about on the Hartenberg lawns, on cushions and blankets, or sit at outside tables in the shade of the huge trees or umbrellas and then get up to taste some really wonderful wines. There were excellent Rieslings and each farm was also allowed to bring any unusual varietal wines they produce. There was good food on offer and great wines were tasted and bought for enjoyment at the festival or at home
All the wine stands were arranged on the bricked plinth in the centre of the gardens
Journalist and radio personality John Meinking with Nick Pentz of Groote Post
Their Riesling was Lynne's favourite of the day. The acid sugar balance is perfect, as is the alcohol at 12.5%, 17.9 gm/ltr Residual Sugar, pH: 3.12. It’s full of Lime/lemon and pineapple on the nose with ginger, citrus and honey on the palate. Sadly, the 2015 is already sold out, so we await the 2016 with anticipation
Lazy day on the lawn in the shade of the trees
This couple was selling really fantastic falafel, jam-packed into toasted pita bread. Or you could have a plate of mixed salads for R50 each. We both had falafel
Or Ghenwa Steingastner had her huge selection of Lebanese delights on offer. Seen here with Tita Stross
What would you like in your falafel?
The sales desk was busy selling bottles to drink or bottles to take home
This mini black mantis dropped suddenly onto our table. You can see why the Khoi regard them as gods, as they do look like small people. This was very tiny, newly hatched. The squares on the tablecloth are about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide. A tiny miracle
The Cederberg wine was also much appreciated. Janine Steyn was showing their excellent Bukettraube, full of rose petals and spice
Jacus Marais at the Nitida stand had their Riesling and the elegant Semillon for tasting
Poetry, not much motion and lovely wines
Gareth Robertson, Marketing Manager for Anthonij Rupert Wyne with Martin Meinert We liked the Cape of Good Hope Laing Semillon and Martin's The German Job Riesling 2014
Lots of new fans for Riesling on the Jordan stand
Lots of discussion on our table under the trees in the late afternoon
A very interesting plant in the Hartenberg garden. A tender aloe vossii, an endangered and rare grass aloe from the Soutpansberg
On our way through to Franschhoek for dinner, we came through Jonkershoek, over the Helshoogte Pass, and were horrified to see the fire damage in the vineyards and in the wild areas on the mountainsides. So it was with great excitement that we spotted this Sable antelope (Hipotrachus niger) and his two younger friends, in a field next to the Boschendal manor house with his magnificent curved scimitar horns
He is interested in us, but still nibbling on the grass
They are not indigenous to this part of Southern Africa. The southernmost edge of their range is in Limpopo, in the north-east of our country
Feeding in front of the magnificent Drakenstein mountains
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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