Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Elgin Cool Wine & Country Food Festival - Day Two

After a hearty breakfast on the verandah, looking at the autumn colours of the Hemel en Aarde, it was time to head for Elgin
Lovely early morning light
A stand of old gum trees with the Babylonstoren mountains in the background
So quiet and still, just lots of birds moving at this hour
It looked as though it would be a warm day, and it was
Off to Charles Fox to taste three of his MCC bubblies. South Africa cannot replicate Champagne; our climate and terroir are so different, as are our temperatures. We do our own thing so well with Mèthode Cap Classique made in the traditional champenoise method. But if anyone is getting close to a good marque, it's Charles
Zelda Fox pouring us a tasting of Charles Fox Brut, a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier. Perfumed with crisp apples and pears in a good mousse, with some nutty notes
At the tasting counter, we tasted the other two MCC's. The Brut Rosé, full of strawberries and red fruit, quite charming, and then Cipher, their 2011 Prestige Cuvée, made from 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay. Nicholas Follet is their international consultant and is helping them reach these high levels of production. It is dry and elegant and full of citrus and brioche - impressive
They have some bargains on Lallier French Champagne at the moment, should you want some. Only from the farm
A three vintage box of Charles Fox Brut
We then took a left turn up the hill to Iona, which has super views over Elgin, being one of the highest farms
The family whippet, enjoying the sunny day
We had lunch there and, while we ate, we were given a generous tasting of these wines. We love Andrew Gunn's style of Sauvignon, clean, green and feisty, some wood contact and a drop of Semillon added with nice minerality. We would drink it every day if we could; it keeps so well and ages beautifully. For quaffing, try the Sophie Te'blanche, it’s more tropical and full. Named by the vineyard workers who couldn’t say “Sauvignon blanc”
The Chardonnay went perfectly with our lunch; it’s full of buttery limes and lemons with some wood. Layered, filled with intention and promise. The Limited release Pinot Noir is fresh with fruit and closed by the wood - it is waiting to come out to dance in time. And then there is the One Man Band, a spicy and hot Shiraz blend that warms the heart. The cabernet, Petit Verdot and Mourvedre all add their own signatures to the wine
Andrew playing host to lots of visitors who came for the wines and lunch. Andrew's wife Rosie is a renowned cook, which was why we chose Iona for lunch. We were not disappointed, even though the choice was simple
An excellent Chicken Prego ciabatta roll was what was on offer. And we relished it. She made the thick and spicy Prego sauce, added homemade mayonnaise, some rocket and perfectly cooked moist chicken . What more could we want? Closed ....
.... or open. The delicious sauce permeated the roll, so we had to eat it all
Rosie Gunn in her kitchen
Almost done after a busy weekend
Then it was time to be off to Oneiric, high in the hills.
We tasted a few of their wines but, to be honest, did not do them justice as we were starting to fade by the late afternoon
Owner Matt Pascall behind the counter for the weekend. His daughter Shan, Oneiric's MD, who normally does this is away on a well deserved holiday in the USA, at last

They are a very talented family and the tasting room is also a shop, full of things they make; handicrafts, knitted and sewn items, lovely pottery tiles and other pottery items that are used as jewellery or for decoration, made by Matt's wife Jennifer Pascall, a talented potter.
There are also bottled fruits, olive oil, preserves and other food items to buy
And the view from the farm is perfection. Time to head back to Cape Town
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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