Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Groote Post launches their SeaSalter white blend at the Cape Grace

Minerality in wine is 'a good thing'; it adds to the complexity. Sometimes, a little salt is found in wine. It is not a negative flavour and adds some nice savouriness, it helps to highlight other flavours and aromas in the wine, as it does in food and it often comes from the same areas. We look for it in wines from Darling, Durbanville and other West Coast areas. Groote Post has some in this new Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend just released by the Pentz family of Groote Post and it is an impressive wine. We were invited to taste it and six of their other wines this week at the Cape Grace Hotel
This interesting wine made from 73% Sauvignon Blanc and 27% Semillon. 50% was aged for 4 months in 500 litre French Oak barrels and it was bottled in April 2016
Trade and media were invited to taste this wine at the Cape Grace
Our welcome drink was Groote Post Brut Rosé MCC; 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, it has lovely strawberry and raspberry hints, nice yeasty brioche. Red berry flavours, crisp and juicy
Nick Pentz, owner of Groote Post and wine maker Lukas Wentzel
The wines, ready to taste
Nick gave us some background to the wines. Neil Ellis was an inspiration to Darling when he came seeking different grapes from good vineyards in the 1990s when quotas fell away, which was when Groote Post made its first planting of Sauvignon Blanc, and this led the way for other grapes. The Old Man's Blend they make is named for Nick’s father, Peter Pentz. He was farmer of the year in 1998, but not for wine, for milk! Nick told us that this new wine, SeaSalter, takes Sauvignon Blanc to a different level with its saltiness and dustiness. They have made Semillon for a couple of years; the blocks were planted specifically to put into a white blend. West Coast and specifically Darling minerality plays a part and the ocean smell on warm beaches is there too. It is named after a village in the Canterbury District of Kent in England which Nick visited. He thought that the name just suited this wine to a T. The Atlantic Ocean is just 6 Km from the farm and he says, "the packaging has to reflect the west coast with its ice sea, standing on the beach with the waves crashing on broken shells and the resultant salty invigorating ocean smell"
The family line up of Peter Pentz, his wife Lesley, Nick's daughter Nicki and his wife Annelie
Winemaker Lukas Wentzel with Sales manager Wimpie Borman. We learned that Groote Post is 30% down on crop this year, that the vines are all dry land but the drought is playing a part. Nick Pentz says that the next three to four years will show who is whom with the grape shortage. They say their good soil will see them through, but it is likely to be a reduced harvest. They are now taking out more leaves in the vineyard; canopy management is key or the wines become too acidic.
The tasting began with the Groote Post Kapokberg 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. It is full if the lovely Sauvignon flavours and aromas of fig leaves, green pepper and elderflower, clean and crisp with a lovely golden mouthfeel, zingy and with good texture. Lukas finds blackcurrants on their Sauvignons Blanc and when we looked, so did we. They use Diam corks. We then tasted the 2015 Kapokberg and it was very different. Unusual but pleasant, there is nutty sesame on the nose and some warm linen, and more sesame on the palate with crisp green apples. This is showing some rewards of aging and is very enjoyable
Lukas guided us through the wines. Next came the Groote Post Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 with golden fruit on the nose and a slight smoke whiff. Lemon and lime crisp on the palate. Then the Groote Post Darling Hills Semillon 2015. A waxy semillon nose with pears and oil. Refreshing on the palate with crisp limes, lemons and juicy William pears. This wine has had a little wood maturation. It will age beautifully. The 2009 Groote Post Sauvignon Blanc is full of tinned asparagus on the nose, more golden fruit. notes too. Crisp on the palate with a slight bitterness on the end. Lukas told us this was the old style, which they are not making anymore
And then finally it was time to taste the SeaSalter. The Semillon and Sauvignon components were made separately and then blended. 40% of the wine is wooded; the rest is made in tank. We were so impressed with this wine; it is our Wine of the Week. R250 a bottle on the farm. It does indeed smell of sea mist with some kelp and herbs and minerality too. It sparkles on the palate with lovely fruit acids, a tingle on the front of the tongue, rounding on the end from the Semillon. Refreshing, it has had wood and lees contact and the salt stays on the palate at the end. And it is a food wine. Quite French in style, we suspect it’s headed for some awards in future
Then it was time for some food to go with the rest of the wines in our glasses. We were very impressed with the spread that the Cape Grace Hotel prepared. Trays of the canapés were offered and there was a large table at the end of the room. This tray has a vegetarian medley with spiced chickpeas and vegetables; on the spoons are shaved springbok with poached pears (interesting pairing), a butternut soup, small light as air curried chicken vol au vents topped with raita and rosti topped with slices of rare fillet steak and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. All excellent
The duck spring rolls with the Hoisin dipping sauce were very popular
Small crisp sesame coated salmon fish cakes
And some small spinach and feta quiches topped with a small roasted tomato
Those delicious rostis topped with fillet and mushrooms in sauce
Lukas finding out what the food is from our friendly server
Father and son, Peter and Nick Pentz
And a toast for NIck's family with Lukas and Wimpie with PRO Posy Hazell in the centre. A very enjoyable tasting indeed

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