Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Day in Franschhoek 1: A morning visit to Stony Brook in Franschhoek

What do you do the following day when you have stayed the night in Franschhoek? Well, of course, you visit some of the farms who have invited you to come and see them. Especially those that you have been meaning to visit for a long time.
So we began at Stony Brook, which is at the top of the Valley, turn right at the Monument and wind your way along Green Valley Road until you see their sign on the left. Owned by the McNaught family, this is truly a family run farm. Nigel McNaught's wife Joy runs the tasting room and son Craig is the winemaker. 14 hectares of this 23 hectare farm are under vines. The focus from the beginning at this boutique winery was on crafting premium-quality wines that reflected the area and the styles of wine that excited them
Joy in the Tasting room was busy dealing with orders when we arrived
She came and sat with us on the terrace and guided us through their tasting
We began with the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc made from Elgin fruit; They believe that Franschhoek does not grow good Sauvignon Blancs. This is perfumed on the nose, leesy, full of greengage plums and tropical notes with good dry tannins. Very different and enjoyable.
Then the J (on the left below), an interesting blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 35 % Viognier and 10% barrel fermented and matured Semillon. The wine was designed to go with spicy food like Thai or Chinese. Perfumed with peaches, this has a rich textures and flavours, with layered peaches and other fruits, and is nicely dry on the finish.
The flagship Ghost Gum White wine, 2014 (on the right) is a blend of 2/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Semillon; lovely citrus and pear flavours with a mouth-filling creamy finish from the Semillon
Plants surviving the drought
Then we tasted the 2014 SMV a blend of 65% Shiraz, 32% Mourvedre and 3% Viognier. This wine is in the Rhone style and designed to go with rich meaty dishes. Cherries and berries on the nose and palate, with soft juicy tannins, a dark toast and licorice end, made to last too. Then 2014 The Max named after the dog with attitude who roams the tasting area, a friendly ?? 50% Cabernet Sauvignon 40% Merlot, 10% Malbec this wine has spent 224 months on wood, 40% new and 60 second fill. The grapes are hand sorted so no greenness gets into the wine. Cassis perfume, incense wood, minerality on the nose, silky soft on the palate very intense berries, chewy tannins, long fruit flavours with the wood just carefully supporting with some chalky tannins on the end. Another 4.5 Platter wine that impresses
The terrace is nicely sheltered by the trees and umbrellas
Our final wine was the flagship Ghost Gum 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% new French oak for 32 months, this has the classic Cabernet Cassis nose, Pure cassis on the palate with warmth from the sunny fruit, nice chalky tannin. The fruit stays pure on the palate. One to invest in. Impressive and worth more than its 4.5 stars in Platter. Clean elegant and well integrated, with richness and zingy citrus flavours than light toasted French oak on the end which holds it all together
 The Flagship Ghost Gum wines are named for this magnificent eucalyptus tree, which is difficult to photograph
Thank you Joy for a really great tasting, and for the signed copy of your book, we are so grateful for your time 
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