Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Springfield Estate releases the 1997 vintage of Méthode Ancienne Cabernet Sauvignon

In 1997, Abrie Bruwer, owner of Springfield in Robertson, made a vintage of his Mèthode Ancienne Cabernet Sauvignon. When it came time to release this wine, Abrie said it was not ready. He has been cellaring it ever since, waiting for it to mature. They even went so far as to experiment with ageing 600 bottles under the sea, corks sealed with wax, for 3 years, to see if it would speed up the maturation process. Now, after all this time, nearly twenty years, they are releasing the wine. A limited quantity is available and we were invited to taste it at a new venue in Wale Street in Cape Town. We know that South African wines can age for much more than 20 years.
This small venue is called Open Wine. It is run by an Italian, Raphael Paterniti. He explained that it is based on the Italian Vinoteque, a good wine selection, and all wines available by the glass. John Collins, Springfield's Distribution Agent and Abrie's daughter Jenna Bruwer, who handles the marketing, were there to show us the wine. There were also a few bottles of the Work of Time 2010 open for us to taste as they will be changing over to this new vintage soon
Initially, the wine is intense. Cassis on the nose first, then ripe cherries, cassis leaves, forest floor and good toasted French oak. Sweet fruit opens and finishes strongly, very concentrated and strong, with dark wood on the end of the palate as it dries
Lynne taking copious notes. We also tasted the newly released 2010 Work of Time. Perfumed, with violets and wood, cherry & cassis. Soft and silky on the palate with crisp berries and extracted long flavours of cherries and pips and nice warm alcohol. There is some grippy chalk tannin, as there should be. Ready now or to keep a while longer
The story of the wine from Springfield: "Using native yeast and berries crushed before fermentation, for the first time. This wine, with the additional extraction from the crushed berries, took much longer to mature and for the hard edges to soften. Even after two years in new French oak, and four years of further bottle maturation, it was still too closed and the tannin structure too tight to be released". After that vintage, they used whole berry maceration and the wines matured more speedily. The wine will be sold in 2 packs and boxes of six. However, they will not be releasing the wine that was aged under the sea
Some of the wine selection in Open Wine. Small snack bites and signature dishes can be provided at a charge. There is some seating in the various small rooms and, if you want to eat a different meal, food can be ordered from surrounding restaurants. They don't charge corkage, they charge "foodage"
It's an old building with some Art Deco touches in the stairwell
Raphael is proud of his bread oven
The 'menu'
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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