Friday, November 04, 2016

A vertical tasting and a Japanese celebration and lunch at Stark-Condé

It was an interesting invitation. The Japanese Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Mr Shigeyuki Hiroki, was to present Hans Peter Schröder, joint owner of Stark-Condé with a Certificate of Commendation, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, for his role in fostering cultural relations with Japan. And, after the presentation, we would have a vertical tasting of Stark-Condé’s Three Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Jonkershoek Valley from 2000. A first for this farm. Then a Japanese themed luncheon. How could we refuse?
Stark-Condé is a true family run farm. Owner Hans Peter Schröder studied and worked for many years (over 25) in Japan. He has a Japanese wife, Midori, whom he met at Tokyo University. They have two daughters and one, Marie, is married to José Condé, the winemaker. She runs the Post Card cafe. Their other daughter and her Spanish husband also live on the farm with their children
The main building contains the wine cellar and the Post Card Cafe
The tasting room is situated on an island in the middle of the lake and you get to it over very beautiful bridges. It is shaded by weeping willows
The very Japanese roof of the tasting room with its dragons
This is where the event started
The lake is full of huge Koi
The tasting room is designed like a Japanese house
We enjoyed a glass or two of the only Estate white they produce, called The Field Blend, made with Roussanne, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Verdelho, a Rhône style blend, refreshing with a touch of tropical
We were served many interesting Japanese canapés, all delicious. This is Chawanmushi, a gentle savoury steamed egg custard containing prawn and shimeji mushrooms
Skewers of Yakitori chicken with leeks and sesame
Soba buckwheat noodles in a broth
Rare roast beef rolled around asparagus and topped with ginger
Deep fried oysters with daikon radish and mayonnaise
Tourists enjoying the deck of the tasting room, the wines and the superb mountain views
José Condé chatting to journalist Graham Howe and Lynne
The presentation of the Commendation. It was read to us by Japanese Ambassador, his Excellency Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki, who also made a speech. The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries of the world. Hans Peter Schröder is the only recipient in South Africa and the first ever from the Cape
The presentation
The certificates
Mr Schröder made a short thank you speech
Mr Schröder and his wife Midori are of the founders of the Cape Town Japan Club established in 2007 and, with their guidance, the Japan Club become the home, not only for the 200 Japanese residents living in and around Cape Town, but also for their South African spouses and families as well as friends of Japan. Here they are with members of their family, both daughters and José Condé
All the guests were invited to have their photograph taken with the family
A huge dragonfly hovering over the lake
Another seating area on the farm, next to the lake
The Schröders with Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki
The lunch table on the terrace
Inside the Post Card Cafe
We than moved into the barrel cellar for the vertical tasting
José Condé explains that we will taste the Cabernet from 2000 to the current release 2014. There were a couple of years when the wine was not made or is now sold out
This is the first time that media have been invited to the farm and the first time that the wines have been tasted in this order. The Cabernet vines were planted in 1990.The first five were pure, rich, deep Cabernet sauvignon, small quantities of Merlot and Petit Verdot were added only after 2007. They are intense and full of the expected cassis, vanilla, chalky tannins, (softer with age) and expensive French wood. They are aging very well indeed. The 2003 was our favourite from the first group, with the 2000 following close behind. That has lasted so well. with all the structure and fruit to go further
The second group of six wines from 2009,10,11,12,13 and 14 (still available) changed slightly with the addition of the other two grapes, more in richness and flavour with cherry from the merlot and violets from the Petit Verdot. Usually only 5% of each is added. The chalky tannins are large, but so are the wines. The 2009 scored 18 and the 2011 18.5. Lynne's description of this wine is shy initially, then vanilla ice cream, cassis and balsamic hints, then the flavour door opened to full on cassis, lovely fruit with violet and wood notes. Wines to cellar and appreciate in future. A very successful tasting
Dr Dave Swingler
Cathy van Zyl MW
José Condé talking about the wine
Some of the line up
Magnums of the older wines
Time for lunch
Sharing a laugh
Hans Peter Schröder relaxing
Lunch was clever. We were given small nori sheets,
some cooked sushi rice, ginger and wasabi,
some fresh fish and seafood and lumpfish roe,
avocado and some vegetables
You could eat sashimi or make your own rolls. It was great fun and rather delicious. no one worried about perfect rolls, we just rolled up our sleeves, the nori and had a good time
Dessert was a French flourless chocolate cake topped with green tea powder, matte. It was the lightest version we have ever had
Girls chatting
Last view of the lake

And as we left everyone was given a beautifully wrapped gift of 2 Starke-Condé wines, the Field Blend and the Oude Nektar red blend
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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