Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Hillcrest launches new Saartjie wine range

Arno Smith, the winemaker at Hillcrest Wine Estate in Durbanville, invited us and other media to come and taste his newly released wines named after his rather cute Jack Russell terrier, Saartjie. Each of the four wines was paired with some tapas style food and a great evening was enjoyed by all. The wines are now available for tasting and buying at the Hillcrest tasting room.
This is Saartjie, the winemaker’s 2 year old Jack Russell terrier who is his constant companion and his muse and a loved and valued member of the team
Winemaker and viticulturist Arno Smith. He was appointed general winemaking assistant to then winemaker Graeme (Curly) Reed and he made the Sauvignon Blanc and the Rosé, In 2016 he was appointed General Manager and Winemaker. This was his maiden vintage of the red wines
The farm is owned by senior partners in Haw and Ingles, a Cape based construction company specializing in road construction and rehabilitation. Besides wine, they also produce olives, olive oil and now a range of craft beers
Broadcaster Guy MacDonald gets some love
We began the tasting with the Saartjie 2017 Semillon. Made in old white wine barrels, it is in the oxidative style. They allow it to ferment naturally in the barrels and add French oak staves. They made 1 barrel in 2016 which is now sold out, and 1,000 bottles in 2017. Oxidative whiffs, with honeysuckle perfume and 'fine herbes'. Nice limes and cooked apple on the palate, rounded mutton fat texture, as you should find in Semillon, a pinch of Durbanville salt and the wood supports but doesn't show on the palate. A good, enjoyable wine, especially with food
The menu
The Semillon proved itself as a food wine as it went very well with the two dishes served to us: an unusual but good apple and camembert Strudel with figs...
... and cooked pears, gorgonzola and walnuts on a quite tough pastry biscuit.
Then we tasted the 2016 Malbec. Huge notes of expensive French oak on the nose with a little violet. It is a dark, almost black garnet in colour and has intense fruit on both the nose and palate. This is a 10 year wine. Dark berries , cherries, plums and chalky grippy tannins with more violets on the end and some good fruit acidity to help it last the distance. Our favourite wine of the evening and we will try to keep our bottle as long as possible. Lots of quality
This was served with Beetroot and goats cheese
and a rather sweet spicy butternut soup with a parmesan cracker
Then the 2016 Cabernet Franc Still very young this also has lots of incense French oak on the nose with some herbs, with red and black berries. Soft and sweet fruit on the palate with some salty liquorice. It ends with chalky tannins and supporting fruit acid, with a little wildness thrown in
We had this with morsels of good roast pork on top of carrot puree and topped with a very sweet spicy apple chutney ...
... and rather dry chicken koftas on humus, topped with a nice moist smoky paprika tomato relish
Then the 2016 Petit Verdot, which was very popular in the room. It has intense perfume, cassis, coffee mocha on the nose, soft and sweet on the palate with good fruit and a kick of acidity on the end to help it last. This will sell well, it is a good expression of the grape
Accompanied by some rare tuna chunks, seared on the bottom, topped with sesame and rolled cucumber ...
... and awesome rare roast beef slices on crisp rosti with good French mustard, the dish of the evening and so good with the wine
Desserts to tempt were date and coconut balls and extremely moreish dark chocolate Rocky Road chunks which went well with the good coffee -they should sell these in the shop. Lynne bought her annual 3 kilos bucket of black olives from the restaurant shop, a bargain at R220. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening, the wines, food and the company. Thank you Hillcrest
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