Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Annual Grande Provence Harvest Day Festival

An early start last Saturday to get to Franschhoek in time for the 'OFF' for a tractor ride into the vineyard to pick some grapes with the other families. Then you could stomp some and make your own juice which they will turn into wine. We arrived in time for a good coffee and rather healthy muffin and then picked a row and a half of Cabernet on our own, getting to be good at this. Then the day just got better and better

Grande Provence opens its doors to a day of harvest fun for the family
An early start last Saturday to get there in time for the 'OFF' for a tractor ride into the vineyard to pick some grapes with the other families. Then you could stomp some and make your own juice which they will turn into wine. We arrived in time for a good coffee and rather healthy muffin and then picked a row and a half of Cabernet on our own, getting to be good at this. Then the day just got better and better
On arrival you are greeted by this life size bronze elephant statue by Jean Doyle - very impressive. Lynne giving it a hug. Or was it just too early to stand up straight? Some people don’t do early mornings easily
Off to check in
Those healthy muffins and the queue for coffee
Karl Lambour, Grande Provence general manager, winemaker and cheerful muffin server
Playing chess with Pa. And they all knew the rules. Encouraging
Gathering together
Karl makes his welcome speech to the crowd
The future programme of events
And we are off on our tractor ride
Arrival at the vineyard
Oh great, we can taste the new rosé to give us energy for picking. It's lovely, crisp dry and full of red summer fruits
Wow, impressive Cabernet Sauvignon grapes
And we had a regte Cape band to serenade us as we picked. They sang many of the old Kaapse Klopse (Cape minstrels) songs that we all know and love and can sing along to: Daar kom die Alibama; January February March; Welcome to Cape Town and others
Show me how to do this please
One of the two boxes we picked, we are getting good at this
Grapes in a lug box waiting to be sent to the press
Phones at the ready!
Back to taste four Grande Provence wines: The Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc - crisp and dry, made from Durbanville grapes, full of cats pee and elderflower and a little Durbanville salt. The Chenin Viognier blend is dry, notes of grass, pineapple, apple and peach on the nose, fresh juicy white peaches and a lees character on the palate, a food wine. The Pinot Noir is woody, spicy, forest floor on the nose and dark rich cherry flavours with a kick of maraschino and dry chalky tannins showing it will age well, our favourite wine of the tasting. The Angels Tears Merlot Cabernet, a steal at R38 a bottle, has wood smoke on the nose, bacon, cassis and, on the palate, good red berry fruit with some nice soft chalky tannins. It opens up in the glass. Drink, don’t keep
We were ably guided through the tasting by this young man from the tasting room, whose name we did not get
Enjoying tasting the wines
Inside the manor house, the table is set for another more formal tasting
Tables being laid for lunch outside. The weather played along well; even though it was a grey day, we only had a few spots of rain at midday
Into the wine cellar, where Karl told us about the harvest this year. It is the second year in a row that they have harvested a month early and he is predicting that el Nino will stay for another 18 months. Global warming and the 2°C rise in temperatures worldwide is changing things. In the last 2 plus months they have seen the warmest and driest days ever recorded in the wine industry. It is a 10 to 12 year cycle, more grapes are being grown in peripheral areas, but they do not benefit from our Mediterranean climate with wet winters. It means writing a book with different chapters each harvest, using different techniques, different yeasts and taking risks. But you need to control the parameters. They let all their reds ferment naturally, yeast is only added to the white wines. This is Karl's fourth vintage at Grande Provence. Grande Provence follow the IPW system of wine making, a voluntary environmentally sustainability scheme. www.ipw.co.za/
Then it was time to taste the newly fermenting juice of the Sauvignon Blanc. Sweet honeyed grape flavours, with good pyrazenes, figs and some grape leaf hints. The sugar in this wine was 180g/L, but most of it will be fermented out and turned into alcohol. The grapes are from Maastricht vineyard in Durbanville.
And then the juice of the Malbec grapes, which is all to go into the 2015 Bordeaux blend. Great concentration of berries, rhubarb and raspberry on the nose, green leaves and hot just ironed linen. Superb red mulberry juice flavours on the palate, an absolutely beautiful wine to be. Some green tannin, some savoury umami notes and a long end. We tried to persuade Karl to keep back some for one or two barrels of this single varietal, which we think has enormous potential
Then off outside to see the grape stomping. And we could do that with a glass of the spicy Grande Provence Shiraz
It’s from the 2010 vintage
Get down into the grapes, nice and sticky
paddling in juice
Fashionable feet
Mom and children enjoy
And then it was time for lunch. What a menu they produced

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

Post a Comment