Thursday, October 26, 2017

Groot Phesantekraal estate in Durbanville

Groot Phesantekraal Rebrands itself
For many years many of the Cape's highly awarded wines, especially Sauvignons Blanc, contained wine from this prolific Durbanville farm owned by André and Ronelle Brink. They recently rebranded themselves Groot Phesantekraal and released their own 2016/7 wines with new branding,. We were invited to go and sample them over lunch in their restaurant on the farm. (They were previously known as Phizante Kraal). You can do so yourself this coming weekend at the Season of Sauvignon in Durbanville
The farmhouse
Welcomed by a glass of their new Groot Phesantekraal Blanc de Blanc MCC, bottled 2015, 17 months on the lees, newly released
A nice sunny day at the farm’s werf
Journalist Graham Howe, Judy Brower of and consulting winemaker Etienne Louw who also makes wine for Altydgedacht and Maastricht in Durbanville
Michelle Coburn of Woolworth's Taste magazine, broadcaster John Meinking and Wine Concepts' director Mike Bampfield Duggan
Corn and Zucchini fritters topped with cucumber and tomato jam
Salmon and potato fish cakes topped with soused onions
Owners Ronelle and André Brink. André is known by his childhood nickname Oubaas, He is the 4th generation Brink on the farm; they have been on the farm for 120 years. André took over farming in 1996. When selling their grapes was no longer worthwhile, they started to make their own wine
Aromatics often found in wine on display inside the tasting room
2017 Top 10 trophy for Groot Phesantekraal Sauvignon blanc 2017
We were led to the Chicken Coop - where we did the tasting. These buildings were originally old farm buildings and the chicken coop had been slightly altered to allow tastings to be held here
First we tasted the 2017 Chenin Blanc. Fragrant with Elderflower and some yellow peach, crisp and dry with some guava. R50
The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc has strong pyrazines on the nose; clean and full of minerality, it is typical of the varietal, with a touch of expected Durbanville salt with passion fruit, white peaches, green peppers and a long end. Priced at R72. It grows on the top of the hill, with prevailing winds blowing through the vineyards to cool them. One of the best sites for Sauvignon Blanc in the Cape, they get 15 tons a hectare. They get some frost in winter and the block has irrigation, but so far it is farmed as dry land. A full tank of the 2017 vintage has been left on the lees for longer and this will be bottled soon
Then the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite lactic at first, this rich cabernet has excellent incense wood, cassis berries and leaves, and cherries. Made by their second cousin Marie Louw who is making wine at Nitida. On the palate, it is soft and silky, a little spice with salty liquorice drop and choc mocha on the end. A long finish too, this wine was awarded a gold at Michelangelo
Winemaker Etienne Louw says his midlife crisis is adventure. He has been chairman of the Durbanville Wine Valley and says Brand Durbanville is happening well. Twelve farms are not competing but are working closely together, neighbour helping neighbour. (We so wish other areas could do this). Wine of Origin Cape Town will help the brand enormously
Andre Brink gave us some important history of the farm. Olof Bergh was given the farm by Governor Simon van der Stel in the 17th Century. Anna de Koning was the daughter of the first freed slave Ansela van de Kaap, and she married Olof Bergh
Media in the Chicken Coop, ready to fly to lunch
An antique Blue Delft plate
The wines with lunch were the Anna de Koning wooded Chenin Blanc, from 44 year old vines on Bloublommeties Kloof, with golden fruit peaches, apricots and Cape gooseberries, concentrated fruit in layers with wood on the end. The red wine was the Berliet Pinotage, named for a 1920s Berliet car which is owned by the Brink family. It is in the old style, with dark fruit; quite substantial with a touch of rusty nails
The outside of the old farm building now used as the tasting centre and restaurant
Ready to serve lunch in the restaurant
André 'Oubaas' and Ronelle with winemaker Etienne Louw
Two long tables for lunch
Choices for lunch were off the normal restaurant menu, so you can go and sample them yourself. The chef is Jan van Deventer previously at Whisk
The wine list
Lynne chose the very tender pork belly with Dauphinoise potatoes, onion sauce, broccoli and sliced apples with a red wine jus
The vegetarian option was Fried Polenta with beer battered vegetables
John had the pan seared Kabeljou fish fillet on top of a Chorizo and sweet potato risotto, topped with beans and shaved fennel with coconut cream
The mini Apple frangipani Tart with cinnamon ice cream for dessert was very popular indeed

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