Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A visit to Tulbagh - Tasting Rijk's wine with Pierre Wahl

Pierre Wahl has been making wine at Rijks since 2002 and makes some impressive wines. He is also a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild and the farm has excellent terroir to produce good grapes that Pierre turns into exemplary wines. One nice marketing coup they have achieved is to have Rijks wine served in the restaurant at the famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam; great product placement. Owner Neville Dorrington bought the farm in 2000 and although advised to plant fruit, went for grapes instead, a fortuitous decision. We spent the afternoon with Pierre and tasted through the wines
Rijks tasting room/ It was here that we began to taste the wines. We started with the zesty 2013 Touch of Oak Chenin blanc, full of citrus and ripe pear layers. This refreshing wine deservedly gets four and a half stars in Platter. The wood is barely visible. The Private Cellar Chenin is much richer and more elegant
The tasting room is large and is nicely furnished with pale laminated modern wood. Next we tasted the 2013 Touch of Oak Pinotage. Aged in old barrels, this is the opposite the those coffee style Pinotages as it shows very little wood influence. It is from younger vines, trellised and night picked with 48 hr maceration
Next a Pinotage Lynne liked, the 2012 Private Cellar with a rich red berry nose, more Pinot than Cinsaut in character, very attractive. Rhubarb and spice on the palate with elegance. The display showcases some of Rijks many awards with the current wines, including their MCC Brut made from 100% Chardonnay.
Time to move outside for some welcome sunshine. You look out onto the vineyards which go over the hill and one of the farm staff cottages. It was time to start tasting the three Shirazes. First the Touch of Wood 2012, full of pepper and fennel on the nose, Sweet raspberry and maraschino cherries fruit lasts on the palate, making this a good food wine
Lynne making copious notes while Pierre introduces the next wine, the 2010 Private Cellar Shiraz. With expensive wood on the nose, this is like a super Tuscan with violets, leather and liquorice. On the palate, salty drop liquorice and rhubarb. Good acidity and length give it aging potential. A great wine to pair with rich red meats
Pierre saved the best till last. The 2011 Reserve Shiraz has that expensive oak incense with a silky soft texture of salty liquorice, delicate spicing and intense black cherries. It is very, very elegant, with long after flavours, ending in dark toasted wood. The ultimate food wine, drinking so well now. They always keep this Shiraz in reserve for four years. This vintage is running out quickly and the 2012 will be released at the end of this year. Buy now
The winemaker with his wine. He very kindly gave us the rest of the Reserve Shiraz to have with our dinner that night
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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