Friday, October 07, 2016

Kleine Zalze marks 20 years and looks to the future - A tasting and lunch at Terroir

Kleine Zalze recently marked 20 years and invited us to celebrate with MD Kobus Basson and the winemaking team to a special tasting and lunch at Terroir cooked by Chef Michael Broughton. We applaud the comment on their invitation: Kleine Zalze supports responsible drinking and will be providing transport from Cape Town and wish more people would adopt this policy. It seems Government may have pre-empted it in their proposed new version of the Licensing laws by making licensed places responsible for what happens to people who drink their products
A warm welcome with some Kleine Zalze Brut Rosé MCC
Happy staff
Trained to pour properly
Marquee up in case the weather changes
Caroline Rillema of Caroline’s Fine Wines and Cellarmaster Alastair Rimmer
Marketing Manager Anthony van Schalkwyk made the welcome speech and told us that everyone present had made some contribution to the estate whether trade or media. about the current wines we would be tasting. Behind him is the current white wine list for Terroir
The tasting began with the 2011 Vintage Brut a nice crisp blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the colour of a partridge eye. Bready and elegant with fine minerality, with notes of both raspberry and apple from the two grapes. It goes through malolactic fermentation in tank, is 10 month on gross lees, a second fermentation in bottle and then 36 months on lees, and then a year on cork so it is a five year investment and retains freshness. No wood is used
Then to the 2016 Cellar Selection Chardonnay with its good concentration of yellow fruit and noticeable acidity, quenching, with pear and stone fruit notes. The 2015 Vineyard Selection Chardonnay which is barrel fermented has smoke and liquorice. Elegant with full on layers of golden fruit, with good acidity and a balanced round mouth, this was voted one of the top 10 Chardonnays in the world
The menu. With the first two wines we were served this platter of tiny samosas in chutney, Light as air melting cheese Gougères and Panko covered fish goujons with truffle mayonnaise
Cellarmaster Alastair Rimmer spoke next about the wines and how they were produced
Then came the starter of Roasted and pickled butternut dressed with maple syrup. Butternut has always been a great match for Chardonnays It had some small morsels of tender gnocchi basted with brown nutty butter, also a great accompaniment. The pickled butternut was interesting in that it highlighted the acidity of the wine, while the maple syrup highlighted the wines fruity sweetness. The mozzarella, seeds and nuts added good texture
Lynne with Jan Boland Coetzee, a national hero for both his Rugby and his excellent wines at Vriesenhof. He was thanked for being a mentor to Kobus over the years, helping in the Kleine Zalze vineyards and the cellar. He has done a remarkable 51 harvests in his career, and who has done more in the industry?
Kleine Zalze proprietor and Managing Director Kobus Basson spoke about peoples' contributions. David Hughes was the first to taste the new wine when it was produced in 1986
While Kobus spoke, they poured the next flight of two wines. The theme for today is Past, Present and Future. He is very excited about the future; the SA wine industry is getting very good feedback about our wines, and they see it in sales, as there is uptrading in price points generally overseas. After 20 years the SA industry has developed well, we have made mistakes, bumped our heads and learned a lot. We are more comfortable venturing out into the world knowing what to do; there is a great future for this industry. The next 20 years will be more exciting: There is energy in the industry and in the different regions, a new generation of winemakers is emerging and there is an appreciation overseas of what we are doing. We are refining already established styles, not changing them. The Cape Winemakers Guild wines are in a different class
Suddenly the room was filled with the most delicious aromas of caramel and the sea. Then the prawns arrived, perfectly cooked , on a sweet corn and basil risotto surrounded by sauce Americaine, a rich seafood broth where the shells are roasted then combined with the lobster or prawn meat, pounded in a mortar and cooked with onions, tomatoes, white wine, brandy and cayenne pepper heat and butter. No wonder we could smell the dish before it arrived. And it was worth waiting for it.
We drank the Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2010 and the Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012 and 2015 with this dish. So cleverly paired. The older wines have herbal fynbos hints, age shows complexity and depth and there is a hint of honey on them. They are full of fruit but have refined acids and soft chalky tannins, so elegant, so good with food. The 2015 has malt, salt and an apple zing. They are moving away from minerality, malolactic fermentation and oak
It was great to see Dave Hughes who has been challenged by a stroke but is recovering nicely
Winemaker RJ Botha talked us through these wines. He said we can brag about these wines; we are known for our Chenins. SA should be proud and look after them, especially the old bush vines. Kleine Zalze has been working with these grapes for a very long time. They are switching the style to more freshness and no botrytis, although they can do that as a special. They will be more fruit driven and elegant in future. They work with three different vineyards, Faure, Stellenbosch mountain and Bottelary. The vines are all 35 years old and dry land vineyards. These wines age well
Time for the reds. The Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 and 2012 and the Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 accompanied the next course. The 2005 was showing its age, full of tomato cocktail hints and a little brettanomyces character; Sweet fruit, nice spice with layered black berries and dark toast on long flavours of cassis leaves. The 2012 has cassis leaves and fruit, elegance, incense wood, violets on the nose. On the palate, it's a soft cassis bomb. Delightful. The new 2013 has spicy red berries violet and tomato on the nose. On the palate silky soft, with good berry fruit and chalky tannins. A block buster in waiting
These were paired with an interesting coarse cut tartare of smoked springbok with beetroot, shimeji mushrooms, salt baked celeriac and rich and smooth truffled chestnut; perfect with the springbok and it echoed the chalky tannins in the wines. A little viscous
The next course was slow roasted fillet of lamb neck, so tender with spring vegetables: broad beans, artichokes and a pea puree and served with a potato galette. The good wine jus was slightly sweet, perfect. This was served with the Family Reserve Shiraz 2008 & 2012 and the Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2013. The 2008 nose is savoury and spicy umami, with salty liquorice, shilli then lots of sweet fruit and tomato. The 2012 Has balsamic incense wood notes, warm linen on the nose where the fruit is shy. On the palate silky cooked raspberry and cranberry fruit with cinnamon ginger spice on the end. The new 2013 is a spice box of cumin, fennel and coriander. Deep concentrated blackberry fruit, cherries, cassis and some leaves on the end
And then it was time for the cheese course, served with a apricot and vanilla compote and more of the Shiraz. A lovely meal with excellent wines
No fighting over that cheese!
Chef Michael Broughton gets to taste some of the wine
And chats with the man who made it
Journalist Neil Pendock seems to be enjoying the day too. We certainly were
The wine line up. We were happy to have transport arranged to take us home
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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