Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tasting Diemersdal Sauvignons at the cellar

An invitation to Diemersdal to taste their newly released Sauvignons Blanc. Cellarmaster Thys Louw (a confessed Sauvignon Blanc addict) now has 10 Sauvignon Blancs in his range, all different and good

Adorning the parking area are the Strelitzia reginae plants. It is a monocotyledonous flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. Common names include strelitzia, crane flower or bird of paradise, though these names are also collectively applied to other species in the genus. This one really does look like a crane
Rachel welcomed us with a glass of their Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, fruity and full of refreshing passion fruit, gooseberries, and limes; it reminded us of a German Sekt
The line up of wines we were to taste
First was the new 2018 Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc where Thys has used a new method of making for South Africa. It has perfume, tropical jube jube sweets on the nose, and is very tropical and concentrated in style on the palate. The fermentation of the wine is postponed for four months as the juice is frozen, When it is defrosted it goes through a 2 weeks fermentation, temperature controlled at 14-16° C and is bottled soon after. They do this in New Zealand and it does mean that fresh wine will be available in the middle of the year

Taking our seats for the tasting in the restaurant which was closed for the function. The Reserve 208 Sauvignon Blanc has pyrazines, peppers, herbs and fynbos on the nose, clean citrus crispness also with herbal notes, long flavours and a hint of salt on the end. A classic rendition. And then we were excited to taste the new 2018 Eight Rows. The grapes were planted in 1992 on 1.1 hectares. It is Thys's epiphany wine, his favourite and ours. Elderflowers with grey minerality, quite shy initially. Clean, clear juice, lovely classic Sauvignon Blanc, long flavours of figs, green pepper, limes and minerality on the palate. A food wine
PR Consultant Emile Joubert welcomed us. Next we tasted the MM Louw 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, made from a vineyard planted in 1982. Its in the Blanc Fumé style; they use 40 to 50% new oak, big 500 litre barrels that are rolled to stir the lees, so the wine has a light smoky character. Sweet pear fruit, green peas, & leafiness on the nose, a typical Sauvignon blanc palate of Elderflower, green pepper, figs; crisp and clean with some caramel wood on the end. Needs time. Sauvignon Blanc needs to age to become superb, this is not suited to early drinking
Thys tells us about the wines. He really is passionate about what he does. Our next wine was the MM Louw 2013 Sauvignon Blanc The age has made it a magnificent wine. Asparagus and peas on the nose as expected, clean on the palate with more peas and long lemon citrus flavours, rounded wood on the end. This wine has layers of flavour and minerality and is superb. Our highest scoring wine
Then the Private Collection 2016 Bordeaux Blend with a pretty floral nose from the Petite Verdot, wood smoke and cassis, cherry fruit.. Velvet on the palate with nice dark berries and dark chocolate and coffee wood. And finally something from the vinoteque, the Private Collection 1984 Red Blend of Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Cola notes on the nose, the wine is red brown with an orange rim. The merlot brings soft sweet and sour fruit and warmth with hints of Brett. The wine has lasted well, but doesn’t stay long in the glass. Tannins wood and some fruit remain.
Time to move on to the red wines. They are 40% of Diemersdal's production. First, the Pinotage Reserve 2017. 2009 was the maiden vintage; the block was planted in 1972. Merlot cherry and red berry notes on the nose, with lactic hints and wood smoke. On the palate, chalky tannins first then chocolate cherries and a dry finish. This needs age. Fermented in open kuipe, then malolactic fermentation takes place spontaneously in French oak barrels from March to May, 14 months. Take the time to cellar this wine. We can announce that this wine is one of the Top 10 Pinotages this year, awarded today 16th August 2018
Locally grown and regionally sourced produce inspire Chef Martin De Kock to blend his classical French training with the flavours of Provencal France, Spain and a touch of Asia. The herbs and some of the vegetables are from the kitchen garden, the preserves and pickles home-made and the bread freshly baked. (Quote from the farms web pages). He told us that he changes the menu as he finds the produce locally and in season. Tapas are changed twice a week, the menu twice a month
The lunch menu sounded very good and it was
Cape Wine Master Duimpie Bayly and journalist Esme Erasmus of Die Tygerburger in conversation
They make their own masa for the taco. It was topped with crisp tempura prawns and charred sweet corn, with smoked avocado, lime, and chipotle chilli. Zingy, tingling with flavour and texture
Tako Yaki is one of Japan's best-known street food translates as octopus balls. A crisp fried dumpling which reminded us of the bread sausages in Portugal, topped with katsuyobushi, dried flakes of fermented smoked tuna with pickled ginger, a smoked fish gel, spring onions, mayonnaise and micro greens. Another taste and texture sensation. We drank these two dishes with the 2017 Grüner Veltliner which is aromatic and herbal, crisp and clean with good sugar balanced by acidity, very true to its Austrian parents, a characterful food wine par excellence
A barley and Jerusalem artichoke "risotto" topped with mustard flower seeds and leaves. So full, creamy rich and satisfying
We had the 2017 Malbec with this dish. Chewy with a big nose, savoury, sweet velvet fruit which keeps on giving. On the palate, candy, cherry and aged sweet balsamic; sour sweet fruit, long dark flavours with salt, liquorice and some Pinot character on the end
On to the main course. There were two. First, the Slow cooked pork belly with wonderful whirls of crisp salted crackling. The pork was cooked sous vide for 12 to 14 hours. Presented on a reduction of palm sugar and rum, baby beetroots, with a lemongrass and pistachio praline and a smoked beetroot puree. Complex, rich and an interesting mix of flavours
Tender Chalmar Sirloin with a waterblommetjie bourguignon, king oyster mushrooms, richly caramelised onions, a paper thin potato tuille and foraged herbs and flowers
Dessert was a try of bite sized Friandise L to R. We were not given descriptions, so this is what we tasted. A Turkish delight made with too much agar agar, so the texture was more vegetable than dessert; a half of a ginger and pecan nut muffin with a coffee choc vinegar dots and chocolate chips; a mini macaron with rice cream had savoury and grape jam flavours; a brandy snap shard on date puree and a chocolate crisp truffle; a mini fritter dumpling which resembled a canele, topped with dehydrated raspberries
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2018

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