Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Wine Concepts 8th Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Celebration

Last Friday evening saw us at Wine Concepts' annual celebration of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, held at the Vineyard Hotel. We decided that it was time to emulate the Burgundians and begin with Pinots Noir and then go on to taste the Chardonnays. They say Chardonnay muddies ones palate for Pinots. It was a good exercise for us, as we normally don't have time to taste many Pinots after so many Chardonnays. And there were a lot of wines to taste in the three hours we were there; we could only do a selection

Our favourite wine of those we tasted that evening was the Pinot Noir from Boschendal with elegant, perfumed, sweet fruit in layers of complexity, soft chalky tannins, long flavours and fruit acids that will last, making this the wine to put down and to drink now. Also impressive were the Glen Carlou 2015 Pinot Noir, the Paul Cluver Estate Pinot Noir (of course!) and the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir; such elegance. Our best Chardonnay was the biz! The Eleanor 2015 from Hartenberg. We were distressed to see so many over-wooded Chardonnays though, mostly from younger producers; we do hope this is not a trend. We do not want to repeat history

 Marcha Cooke of Jordan with Arco Laarman. Marcha showed the Jordan wooded Chardonnay and their flagship Nine Yards, both superb and experience has showed that the wooded and unwooded Chardonnays can rival the classic Nine Yards for longevity. They are all delicious now. Arco, enjoying his independence after many years at Glen Carlou, showed his Cluster and Focal Point Chardonnays. Both from cool southern regions, Vermaaklikheid and Elgin, they are both excellent but different expressions of the grape
Spioenkop Pinot Noir is made by ex master Sommelier turned quirky winemaker Koen Roose-Vandenbroucke, who came from Belgium more than a decade ago, at his unirrigated vineyards in Elgin
Radford Dale's Freedom Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch, a serious wine with dark berry flavours, made for maturity
We loved the name The Smugglers Boot which ace winemaker Richard Kershaw has given to his entry level Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot is spicy, rich and lean on the end,
the Chardonnay has delicious freshness
Sarah Revell of Vinimark enjoying a night off
 Jessica Saurwein showed her 2016 Nom Pinot Noir. Feminine delicacy and drinking easily now, but should have the legs to mature and improve for a few years. Saurwein in name, but not in the glass
This wine has quite a success story attached to it. Berene Sauls who shows a lot of determination and strength started working on the Hamilton Russell estate, doing child care for the family; she progressed through various jobs and has been mentored by Anthony and allowed to become involved on the wine making side. She now has her own wine which is rather good. She is looking to buy land in Tesselaarsdal to grow her own grapes in the future. She needs help with finding the right terroir there if there are any volunteers out there...
 Berene Sauls of Tesselaarsdal
 Jenna Bruwer of Springfield
who had two chardonnays and one Pinot Noir on show, all classics. her father Abri was reluctant to release his Pinot for several years until he was happy with the quality. He needn't have worried, it's a cracker. The unwooded Wild Yeast Chardonnay has a lovely, delicate, creamy texture from its time on the lees. The Méthode Ancienne Chardonnay is only made in the years Abri deems to be good enough. Rich lime fruit with creamy texture and good support from 1/3rd new barrels 
 The Fledge: Leon Coetzee and his Mum. The Katvis is fragrant with berries (NOT fish) and has good fruit on the palate
 Seven Springs winemaker Riana van der Merwe shows her wines from the top of the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Rich but fresh fruit in the Pinot from older barrels. Chardonnay also from older barrels, so the fruit and nutty minerality are not dominated by the wood
Storm Pinot Noir from the Hemel and Aarde Valley was vibrant and delicious
Another cracker from the Hemel and Aarde Valley, Kevin Grant's 2016 Ataraxia. The fruit and wood combine so well, they mix and marry on your palate. It is just gorgeous
It was a busy and successful tasting with lots of people enjoying the evening and the tasting
 John Collins with Catea Sinclair of Newton Johnson Wines
 Jenna Bruwer and Molly McWilliam-Smith
 Angela Estate Pinot Noir, made on Graham Beck's son Anthony's farm in Oregon. A fine expression of North American pinot
Lothian have made an interesting Cremant-like rosé MCC bubble, so reminiscent of those from France, full of caramel and red berries. Made by Richard Kershaw and Dudley Wilson. Richard also made the Pinot Noir which has notes of perfumed fruit and licorice 
Two Pinots Noir made by Nico Grobler (Eikendal's winemaker) from Elgin fruit. The Valley is light and easy drinking with lovely fresh fruit. La Brune is more serious, a classic Pinot made to mature, although it is drinking well now
La Bri's fine Chardonnay from Franschhoek
 Terence van der Walt of Siris Vintners and his daughter Aidin showed the Quando Pinot Noir from Robertson, easy drinking with clean fresh fruit

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