Thursday, October 27, 2016

Three Robertson wine farms: 3. Zandvliet, Ashton

We used to love going to Zandvliet as part of the Wacky Wine Weekend for their salmon braai. Paul de Wet sold the farm last year to A N B Investments owners of holding company ClemenGold and Citrogold citrus brands, a huge producer of naartjies (Clementines) and other citrus n Mpumalanga, so we were keen to go to the farm to see what its future holds
We were welcomed by Werner Els, Zandvliet's Brand ambassador, who had organised a Zandvliet wine tasting of four of their most popular wines, paired with ClemenGold products. You can buy a box containing all the components, so you can do this tasting at home or with your wine club. The box contains four wines and the four products and costs in the region of R830. As it was such a pleasant day, we sat out in the garden under the trees
A view of the farm showing the huge shade cloth area where the horse paddocks used to be, and the vineyards in the background. The Nardacot Clementine orchards have been planted under the shade cloth. The vineyards have been brought down from 150 hectares to 100 hectares. Gone are varietals that didn't produce well. More shiraz will be planted, not Chardonnay and they will get back to 150 hectares of grapes. They are redoing the cellar, The question on many lips has been "What do these guys know about wine?" Werner told us. Zandvliet was too good a brand to lose. "The Directors at ANB, they certainly know a lot about citrus, being amongst the largest producers in South Africa, but actually not much about wine; except that they grew up with the Zandvliet brand and loved it!"
The four wines we tasted. We used to sell three of these in our wine shop, Main Ingredient. The VLW is new. We began with the 2016 Chardonnay, a brand new vintage with more new oak introduced, is very fruity almost with naartjie flavours. This was paired with a good bitter ClemenGold marmalade on a plain biscuit, which echoed the flavours of the Chardonnay. Then one of our favourite Shirazes, the Kalkveld from the 2014 vintage. Made with only French oak (Paul de Wet used to make two versions, one in French and one in American oak). Elegant, with incense wood notes, good dark fruit on the nose and palate with good grippy tannins. This was paired with a 70% dark chocolate containing ClemenGold peel. We didn't like the chocolate, it was not of good enough quality to complement the wine, and it had bloomed. Then the 2012 VLW Cape Vintage Shiraz. VLW stands for Vintage Liqueur Wine. A very sweet dessert wine, rich and fruity with liquorice and chocolate. Lighter than Port (16.6 % alcohol) and spicy, rather like Christmas pudding. Paired with the ClemenGold chocolate Panforte which was a perfect match. They have older vintages in older barrels. Then a new addition to the very popular My Best Friend range, a natural sweet Muscat 2016. Werner told us that Natural Sweet wines are very popular in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, so this will go to that market. Only 7.5% alcohol and 100 r/s. We found it a pretty wine falling between two stools, not zesty and fruity enough for a refreshing hanepoot and not quite as sweet as a muscatel or NLH. Its nose speaks of age, its palate of young fruit. It's a sweet quaffer. And dipping the ClemenGold biscotti into it is just the thing to do. Probably good with spicy food
The tasting glasses with the four paired ClemenGold products. Had we more time, we would have like to have tasted some of the more conventional wines, and we look forward to making another, longer, visit to do that
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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