Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tasting new releases from Stellenbosch Hills with lunch at Panama Jack's

We always look forward to this annual wine event, as we never know what Stellenbosch Hills will come up with each year. Whatever it is, it is always enjoyable, as are the wines. This is an award winning co-operative wine cellar established over 70 years ago, in 1945, and is now a collection of 16 successful members making the best of their Stellenbosch grown wines, on a very wide range of terroirs. The winery is in Vlottenburg and you can visit the tasting room to taste for yourself. The wines are very affordable
This year, we were invited to Panama Jack’s in the Cape Town Docks to taste the new wines and meet the new wine maker. Panama Jack’s has been there since 1989, and not much has changed. It is known for its good seafood and fish and atmosphere. It started as a small shack selling food and drinks to people working on their yachts and grew into a larger, quirky windblown shack near the container port. All the women at the event wanted to take down the flags lining the ceiling and put them in the washing machine. It’s an original, and it works. A great time was had, good wine was tasted and good fish was consumed

 We began with the Polkadraai Sparkling Pinot Noir. Refreshing, but a bit sweet for us
The canapés were huge trays of very good sushi, sashimi and nigiri which were demolished very quickly. Hint: the media LOVES good sushi and you must provide soy, ginger and wasabi
The event took over a large portion of the restaurant
Time to begin the tasting
These are the reds we tasted. The first 4 are 2015. The Merlot has coffee wood ,dark cherries, sweet fruit support by fruit acids, chalky tannins & along finish. The Cabernet is full of cassis berries and leaves with tight tannins and warm alcohol. Might be built to last. The Shiraz is spicy with shy fruit & vanilla wood. sweet berry fruit soft chalky tannins. The Bush vine Pinotage is rich, a little over-extracted, cherries and milk with mulberries added. The 2014 Red Reserve (a blend of 50% shiraz, 28 Cabernet, 11% Merlot and 11% Petit Verdot) was our best. Expensive oak, cassis berries, vanilla and violets on the nose. Soft sweet enticing fruit well supported by fruit acids. A pretty wine with very soft tannins and a background only of wood..
Three white wines and five red. The 2016 Chenin Blanc is tropical with grass, hanepoot and guava. It was refreshingly crisp. The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc has already gained awards. Its crisp grassy nose with some seaweed and herbal greenness in background. Warm alcohols and pungent flavours of Cape gooseberries and yellow plums on the crisp palate. The 2014 White Reserve a blend of Chardonnay, Semillon and Viognier delighted and was most people's choice to go with the rest of lunch. Its a great food wine. The peachy viognier shows on the nose with some butteriness from the oak. It spent 10 months in new oak and it is just there as great support. On the palate the richness continues and there are nice layers of flavour, starting and ending with white and golden peaches.
The new winemaker James Ochse, who joined earlier this year from Distell
 GM & Cellarmaster PG Slabbert 
catching up with Lynne
The menu. We were allowed to choose which wine we wanted with each course
A choice of starter: 6 large and plumptious oysters which, we heard, were fresh and excellent
or Calamari fried, or grilled Cajun style, served with tartare sauce and rice
The table after the tasting; just to show that we don't drink all the wine at tastings
Greek salads were served with the main course
which was perfectly cooked and just pulled from the sea fresh, no frills Kingklip, still moist in a light batter or grilled with a buttery sauce. Also served with rice
Oh, dessert. Lynne can often refuse but Banoffee pie is a challenge she fails and this was a good one. Served with the Stellenbosch Hills sweet dessert Muscat de Hambourg 2013, full of honey, sweet red berries, and roses
A lovely tasting and lunch, very gemütlich and friendly
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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