Monday, March 27, 2017

Wine Concepts Chenin and Pinotage at The Vineyard

Chenin Blanc and Pinotage shone at the Wine Concepts Celebration
Last Friday saw us at Wine Concepts’ Chenin Blanc and Pinotage Celebration at the Vineyard Hotel. A chance to taste new and older vintages of both of these varietals which are such an important part of the South African wine portfolio, to network and to meet and taste the wines of a few new (to us) producers. Chenin blanc continues on its climb to the top of South Africa's white grape varieties. It can do so much, show a huge variety of different styles; it ages superbly and it suits our climate, varied as that may be at the moment. The same could be said of Pinotage, although it struggles to gain respect from people who don't know or understand it, receives less exposure, less lauding and, sadly, the amount planted seems to be in decline. Pinotage shows its stellar face when it has some age and is treated much like its parent Pinot noir in the vineyard and cellar. Cynics who taste it blind often pick it as their favourite wine of the tasting after dismissing it as an oddity beforehand. Lynne concentrated on tasting the Chenins, John cherry picked both varietals. It was impossible to taste them all; there were 88 wines on show
Simonsig's Francois-Jacques Malan with their Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé MCC 2015 made from 80% Pinotage, the balance being Pinot noir and Pinot meunier. It is delicious and we enjoyed a bottle with friends last night
Lanzerac GM Barend Barnard pours a glass of Lanzerac's new release Chenin blanc, a delicious example of the new direction Lanzerac is taking under the direction of winemaker Wynand Lategan
Wine Concepts MD Michael Bampfield Duggan, the originator and host of the show
Mother and daughter Old Vines team, Irina von Holdt CWM and Francoise Botha. Irina put Chenin back on the map in the early 90s with her Old Vine Chenin in a blue bottle. The varietal does so many things so well that it was abused, disrespected and neglected. Irina saved some wonderful old vineyards from destruction and started the resurgence of Chenin as South Africa's flagship white grape
Creamy mussels and vegetables, always a great partner for Chenin
Keelyn Gibbons from Mulderbosch with the superb Mulderbosch Steen op Hout
Emma Borg with her Painted Wolf range. A percentage of the money earned from the sale of these wines goes to an Endangered Wildlife Trust research programme for the conservation of the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon Pictus or Painted wolf). Delicious wines with a mission
Mini hamburgers to line the stomach and ease hunger pangs
Remhoogte's range includes one of Lynne's favourite Chenins, Honeybush Chenin blanc, rich, full and, as the name says, honeyed with a touch of botrytis
 Diaan van Zyl and Cellarmaster Chris Boustred of Remhoogte
Allee Bleue wines shown by Carol Maggs and Brian Smith
A new range of wines from Antebellum in the Swartland. The eponymous flavour of the Petrolhead suggested a bit of Weisser Riesling in the blend

Bellingham cellarmaster Niel Groenewald pours a glass of the Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin blanc. Hints of apple an citrus with a little toasty vanilla. Made by a winemaker with a great understanding of balanced flavours
A mild vegetable curry served by The Vineyard. Pinotage is a great match for spicy foods
Michele Stewart and Andrea Erwee showed the Fable Mountain wines from Tulbagh
The Fable Mountain Jackal Bird white blend comprises 41% Chenin Blanc, 18% Grenache Blanc; 17% Chardonnay 14% Viognier; and 10% Roussanne. Complex and full-flavoured
More spicy food to match the Pinotage: a small bobotie
Mandy and Jeremy Walker of Grangehurst discuss their iconic Pinotage with Kevin Gleeson. A touch (10%) of Cabernet sauvignon adds a serious dimension
Sushi with a splash of soy. Just the thing to go with a glass of Chenin
Karen Steytler of Kaapzicht  showed their comprehensive range of Chenins and Pinotages. The Kaapzicht Kliprug Chenin Blanc 2015 (from the 1947 vineyard) is elegant with a full complex nose and is crisp and dry on the palate. Sadly, the excellent flagship Steytler Pinotage is sold out, but the quality of the Kaapzicht wines always makes a great impression
Jon Meinking of I Shot Images caught in the act of photographing Barend Barnard
Longridge's lovely Chenins relaxing in a bath of Pinotage (someone spilled a bottle). The Longridge 2014 Chenin Blanc has lots of wood on the palate which should become less evident after a couple of years
Lynne bought a case of each of the two wines that impressed her the most: Stofberg's Mia Chenin Blanc 2016 from Rawsonville is tongue tingling, exciting and the Migliarina 2015 Chenin Blanc has an elegant, smooth, full mouth feel and a long, long end. She was also impressed with the Wild Ferment Chenin Blanc from Delheim, full and rich and long. The Mulderbosch Steen op Hout, made by Adam Mason, is rich and complex and his own Marvelous is full of apples and pears. A new farm for us was Wildehurst. Their 2015 Chenin Blanc with white peach and pear and a touch of salt  evolves as you taste it

Ginny Povall's Botanica 2014 Chenin (a Platter 5 star) has a perfect acid fruit balance with a note of honey on the end. Rijks Reserve Chenin 2013 from old vines is concentrated and full, with honey notes as well. It always impresses us and the winemaker, Pierre Wahl is, deservedly, current Diners Club Winemaker of the Year
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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