Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tasting in the Hemel en Aarde Valley - Bartho Eksteen

We spent the weekend in the Hemel and Aarde Valley at a friend's 70th birthday celebrations and much fun was had. As part of the celebration, they had arranged to have an informal tasting with winemaker Bartho Eksteen on his property Die Wijnskool. Bartho was in great form. He told us he prints all his wine labels in Afrikaans only. He says the French, Italians, Germans and Spanish do it, so why not him. He reassured those who do not speak Afrikaans that, if you want to know about the wine, his web site and all sales material is in English
The wine that absolutely blew us away was Bartho's Rosé entitled Blom (flower). We liked this pale blush wine so much that, not only did we buy a case, but it is also our Wine of the Week. You can read about it in detail
Bartho, who was the winemaker of the year in 2010, is always good value; he is a great raconteur with many amusing anecdotes and lots of wine wisdom. He runs a Wine Academy for school children from Grade 8 to Matric, giving them a great start to a career in the wine industry when they leave school. We also tasted and enjoyed. Diners Club sponsored the school until last year; he is actively looking for new sponsors
These were the wines we tasted, starting with his Sauvignon Blanc called Meester (school master) which has a tiny dash of Semillon. Fig and green grapes, clean and crisp with long flavours, in the New Zealand Style. He went there with his Winemaker of the Year bursary. This is a great food wine for dishes with rich sauces. Ouskool (Old school) is his Rhône style red and the Wijnskool Sauvignon Blanc, NZ on the nose with green fig leaves and elder flowers and then in the more tropical style on the palate with full flavours; and the Wijnskool Tree of Knowledge Shiraz, meaty and spicy with toast and licorice on the end
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