Thursday, March 22, 2018

Villiera Trade wine tasting

On the Town with Villiera
Some wine farms, intelligently, showcase their wines at a town venue so that the trade can taste quickly and efficiently without having to drive out to the farm. If you are restaurateur, sommelier or wine retailer, taking time out is not easy, and using your day off to visit farms is nice, but people have lives to sort out. Villiera held their trade tasting last week at the Cartel Rooftop Bar in Waterkant Street and we had a very warm welcome from Cellarmaster and co-owner Jeff Grier, CWM
Of course we started with the MCC bubblies. Starlight is lower in alcohol at 9.5%. Crisp, with a good zingy edge. The Rosé has a bready nose, an unexpected enjoyable savouriness of marmite, then a pinch of salt and fruit. It has some Pinotage in the blend. The Brut Natural which is a 100% spontaneously fermented Chardonnay has brioche on the nose, and a nice prickle on the palate. The 2011 Monro is the top of their range, a classic rendition, which has spent 5 years on the lees, with 60% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir, 9% Pinot Meunieur and it shows. Beautiful on the leesy nose, long flavours and shows all its components, with some savouriness followed by lots of red berry fruit, then lemon and grapefruit on the crisp end
Tradition is a great name for an MCC and celebrations; it has been around for quite a while and is very popular. A blend of 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 16% Pinotage, 4% Pinot Meunier, this Non Vintage MCC has brioche and fruit on the nose, is lively and refreshing on the palate with apples and strawberries, a summer celebration
It was a very good spacious venue on a terrace overlooking the city
Time to taste the white wines
The Unwooded Chenin has always been one of Villiera's star wines; it has a classic Chenin nose and is deep and full on the palate with lovely fruit. The Barrel Fermented Chenin 2017 jumps out as a food wine immediately; it is rich on the nose and on the palate it begins slowly then blossoms out and grows in stature. Golden fruit, some soft toast notes, this wine is so quaffable and classy. We predict many more wine awards; it has already won two. The Sauvignon Blanc is full of green pepper and figs both on the nose and palate, our style of Sauvignon Blanc, with a few tropical hints at the end. The Bush Vine Blanc Fumé had gentle smoke on the nose, full on the palate and more wood on the end which will soften with a bit of age
There were plenty of rather good canapés, which kept on coming. Green Catering and Events are one to watch; we were impressed. www.greencatering.co.za. These were crisp cheese filled filo cigars
Huge oysters on ice, some plain, some with a spicy salsa
Huge juicy prawns with a rather warm salsa which some of us removed, as it does get in the way of tasting wine
They don't look very appetising, but they were lovely potato latkes, flame grilled and topped with avo and cheese
Good Paté
Tiny hot meatballs
The 2017 Jasmine, a blend of 50% Moscato Ottonel, 27% Riesling, 23% Gewurztraminer is perfect for spicy food. Lovely scents of rose and jasmine on the nose, complex on the palate with a residual sugar of just 15gm, it ends with spicy floral notes
What shall I try next?
The Grier family has had a farm in Southern France since 2006, when they acquired a 22-hectare vineyard and cellar. Domaine Grier is in the Roussillon region near the town of St Paul de Fenouillet. The wines were available for tasting. 
We really like the labels. Alba is a blend of Grenache Gris, and Blanc and they get low yields on the stony vineyard. Whole bunch natural ferment has produced a nose with vanilla wood notes, with spicy fruit. Silky smooth on the palate it opens up to delight one. Ripeness and nice warmth on the end, a wine from the South. Shown here by French intern Bérénice de Gouville
The Rosé from Syrah and Carignan is pretty and floral and very typical of Mediterranean Rosés, light and slightly spritzy, gentle fruit with nice fruit acidity. Close your eyes and you are on holiday in the South of France. The Grenache Noir is perfumed with mulberries, a powerful, intense food wine extraordinaire, fruity and silky, with some smoky wood. Savoury on the end with nice chalky tannins and a dark toast end. Odyssey, a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache, has smoky spice and nice oak notes, with salty licorice, minerality, lovely fruit, dark mulberries, and milk chocolate on the end. Olympus is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache from 80 year old vines, so low yielding, spends two years in barrels, but only 20% new oak. It is dark, almost black in colour, spicy fresh fruit and incense wood. On the palate salty licorice, delicious dark berry fruit, minerality and chalky tannins, another food wine
The lonely muso who kept the atmosphere alive but was never intrusive
Villiera’s Red wines, all very drinkable, but the prize for us was the 2007 Cabernet which showed how the current 2015 should develop. Ripe cassis fruit with a touch of mulberry; full-bodied with serious barrel aging giving a subtle cedar note. One to buy and keep for a few years. The Pinotage was a surprise as it was the first we had tasted from Villiera. Ripe plum fruit and no trace of metallic flavour which so often spoils this varietal. Delicious. The Down to Earth range is perfect for every day use. Easy drinking with no faults at an affordable price

Delia Colborne-Hagen, owner of Outsource Marketing and Cathy Grier CWM, who handles the Sales and Marketing. This was a very impressive tasting
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