Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Great wines and loads of fun at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

We started the weekend on Friday afternoon by checking into our AirBnB in Stellenbosch and then driving to the festival, held this year at the Coetzenburg Sports Grounds - we had no idea how vast they were and the signage was not good. Parking was a bit sparse and we parked about as far away as we could possibly get and endured a long hot walk to the festival grounds which were on the cricket grounds, not the stadium as we had expected. But we had a lot of fun when we got there
The entrance. It was not very busy on Friday night and the place was so vast that the crowds were swallowed up. It reminded us of the layout of Taste of Cape Town. We had feared a huge student host, but they are still settling in to university and apparently arrived the next day
Lots of tables and chairs in the centre with necessary shade
Getting the lie of the land
All the stalls were in a circle around the edge of the lawns
Queuing for the Food and wine pairings
We attended two. We started with Kleine Zalze. This is Cellarmaster Alastair Rimmer introducing his three wines
L to R: 2015 Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 100% barrel fermented. Grassy and classy with lots of golden fruit and limes. 2015 Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc which was quite New Zealand in style, full of green pepper pyroxenes, crisp, dry with oyster shell minerality. Just bottled, this needs some age. Vineyard selection Shiraz (85%) Mourvedre (12%) Viognier (3%) initially shy this bloomed into an elegant warm spicy peppery wine with rich dark berries and tight minerality. It gives a lot.
The audience certainly enjoyed the session
Chef Tiaan Langenegger who prepared all the food for every pairing
The Kleine Zalze wines tasted
After a quick recce to taste some wines on stands we were back in the tasting room for the Waterford food and wine pairing. This is winemaker Mark le Roux
The wines tasted: Waterford have just released their MCC. Made in the 2007 vintage, it is full of appley, leesy crispness with good aged character. It is 50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir. Then the 2013 Library Collection Riesling - a first for Waterford and Mark le Roux Some terpenes, dry but full with layers of limes and lemons. Then the Kevin Arnold Shiraz, with rich fruit, perfumed, spicy chocolate and liquorice and layers of fruit and wood
The food paired with the wines. The apple jelly was a great match to the bubbly, but we did not understand why the cucumber foam was there. The slow cooked pork belly with good crackling, set on a rich, creamy, buttery cauliflower  purée and caramelised onions was absolutely perfect with the Riesling. The best match of the session. And we will be serving more cauliflower purée with pork in future. The rich smooth chocolate truffle made with masala chai and a smoked praline echoed lots of the flavours in the Shiraz
Pick n Pay had a large wine shop with discounts for all bearing the Smart Shopper card
Evening, starting to cool down and everyone having fun tasting
Mark Le Roux back on the Waterford stand with Cellarmaster/partner Kevin Arnold
The line up of wines for tasting
A fringe of stone pines atop the hill
The girls at Glenelly gave us a lovely tasting
Friendly familiar faces on the L'Avenir stand
A proud cockerel, a symbol of L'Avenir's French owners
Laibach's organic wines cooling
Cellarmaster at Laibachm Francois van Zyl
On to Guardian Peak with Warren Granat-Milder and Charles Pohl

...and we couldn't miss out Michelle van Eeden at the Thelema/Sutherland stand
Or Marissa Groenewald and Jean-Mari Strauss on the Muratie stand, We just missed Rijk and Kim Melck
The drawcards on stage that night were Karen Zoid and Kurt Darren
We had a special invitation to come and taste La Jeunesse Delicate with cellarmaster Albie Koch on the De Toren stand. Delicious
Works if you have lots of empties
Late night chats with Wim Braak of Piekenierskloof wines and his mate William Fullard
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus
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