Thursday, January 31, 2019

Survivor Wild Yeast Shiraz launch at Carne on Kloof

Last week, we were invited to the launch of the new Wild Yeast Syrah in the Survivor range from Overhex winery in Worcester. It is always appreciated when a wine launch is held in a good restaurant and this time it was at Giorgio Nava's Carne in Upper Kloof Street. We knew we were in for a good event
The restaurant is in a 19th Century house with a small covered stoep. We were warmly welcomed ...
... with a glass of Survivor Sauvignon Blanc
The range also includes Chenin Blanc, a Wild yeast Chardonnay, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon
Giorgio also has his other restaurants, 95 Keerom Street, Carne in Keerom and Carne at Parks in Wynberg, which we wrote about last year. Here he chats to Michael Fridjhon who had come down from Johannesburg for this and a weekend function
We spotted this interesting line-up of wines on the bar and discovered that these were the wines we would taste. Ben Snyman, the winemaker responsible for the Survivor range, said that he wanted to introduce us to the wines that had influenced his style of wine making and the results
Winnie Bowman CWM and journalist Mel Minnaar
We take our seats and the wines are poured. Vicky de Beer is the Food Editor of Rooi Rose magazine
With a screen of Survivor Pinotage, Chef watches the room. We were served really lovely tempura vegetables as canapés
Caroline van Schalkwyk, who manages the marketing for Overhex, welcomed us and talked about the history of Survivor, The cow stops here; it jumped off a truck and landed in the lush vineyards. It lives there still and so began the brand. (No, the cow wasn't branded). Harvest has begun in the Overhex valley
Ben Snyman is passionate about his wine. This was to be an inspirational tasting, 4 Survivors and 4 foreign wines that have inspired him on his travels through wine. He says it is all about terroir. Overhex sources the wines from all over the Cape; Bot River, West Coast, Robertson valley and other places. Five winemakers bring their experience of old and new world wine to their wine making. These are the wine areas that have influenced Ben and the Survivor wines are how he expressed those influences
The menu for the day
We began the tasting with Domaine du Tariquet 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from Gascony in France. It was so interesting to see the name of the grape on the bottle, which is not usual in France. The French concentrate on terroir. The wine is made and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Clean on the nose with hints of pyrazines, nice integrated fruit, very French. Crisp and textured with limes, loquat, lemon; nice and warm as is the area it is farmed in, very long flavours. Paired with the Survivor Sauvignon Blanc, which has a similar nose, gentle warm country wine on the nose, on the palate a slight metallic ping, yellow fruit, more Chenin flavours than Sauvignon, very drinkable.
After studying, Ben went to work at Chalk Hill winery in California for 5 months, where he learned to make Chardonnay. Newton 2015 Unfiltered Chardonnay from the Napa Valley was next. It was wild yeast fermented. Herbal miffy nose, complex with lemon, pineapple and stewed apple. A smooth entry with marzipan and wood, lemons, limes, chalk, a bit overworked. The Survivor Wild Yeast 2017 Chardonnay was better, with perfume and cooked apple on a pleasant nose. Silky, and the citrus lemon, lime and grapefruit flavours linger for a long time
The glasses on the tasting sheet. The Pauillac producer was unnamed. It’s a Private Selection 2010, a Bordeaux blend. Ben learnt that barrel selection, as they do in Bordeaux, adds value to your wine, as you can select different characteristics shown in different barrels, like different fruit characteristics, burnt sugar, nuts, vanilla wood, forest floor, to add to the blend. Their red wine maker Willie Malan went to France and brought back the experience they need to make the Survivor Cabernet Sauvignon 
The next flight began with a left bank Pauillac Private Selection 2010, a Bordeaux blend. Very much as expected, deep dark savoury fruit, with a dive-in nose, Marmite, cassis: berries and leaves, incense wood. Mouth puckering tannins of youth, chalky with cassis, blackberries, dark roast, mushrooms and forest floor. Needs a lot of time
The 2017 Survivor Cabernet Sauvignon has vanilla oak richness and fullness, more cherry than cassis on the nose. Dry chalky tannins that stick to the teeth, cassis, balsam, long flavours, shy fruit and, at the end, sunshine on the palate tells you it is South African. Ben and Willie also went to Australia to learn about the wines there. Australia makes twice as much Shiraz as we do, and SA e wanted more big jammy Shiraz
So, next we tasted a benchmark Shiraz from Penfolds, 2014 Bin 128 Coonawarra. This is a wine Lynne cut her teeth on in London in the 1980's when it was so popular. On the nose a little bloody, with sesame putty, white pepper, initially shy fruit, then rhubarb and mulberry peeked through. Soft, sweet liquorice and warm fruit, very familiar and friendly, warm mulberries and raspberries, followed by good umami. She scored the nose 13 and the palate 17.5! The Survivor Shiraz is from Botrivier grapes, barrel fermented on wild yeast. A pretty but light nose of red berries. Chalky tannins, Morello cherry on the palate with a long, memorable end
Time for lunch and we could drink any of the Survivor wines we had tasted. We began with restaurant-made perfect ravioli, filled with finely minced slow baked lamb shoulder. This superb dish was dressed with crisp fried sage leaves, shaved parmesan and a really delicious lamb jus and sage butter. It went SO well with the Shiraz; whoever did the pairing is a genius
Then came a family style platter for the table with a selection of perfectly grilled Carne meats. Tri-tip, Spider steak, Flank steak, Pork chops and some grilled vegetables and porcini mushrooms. But who grills the dreaded Brussels sprouts? 50% of the audience love them
A formaggi plate of 4 local cheeses for each of us came with a cherry or grape preserve and an orange marmalade
NOT a survivor
Broadcaster Guy MacDonald of Magic Music Radio enjoying the day
Comparing footwear, or is it manicures?
Guy with Winnie Bowman. It was a great launch
And on our way home, we saw the MSC Cruise Liner Musica anchored just off the coast. She was unable to get into port as the South Easter wind was howling and her high sides make entry to the harbour dangerous
Clifton beach is sheltered by Lions Head, so it looked calm
and we went down to the Sea Point beachfront for a closer view of her

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