Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Two Durbanville Estates and lunch at Durbanville Hills

This is always the time of year when we have several good friends visiting from overseas. And doing a wine tour with them is always fun. Diana Loots studied for the Cape Wine Academy Diploma with us way back in the 90s. We took her and her husband Philip on a tour of some Durbanville wine farms. We began at Nitída
and who should we run into in the tasting room, but Rudger van Wyk, Assistant winemaker at Starke Condé and 2018 Young Winemaker of the Year, here in conversation with Nitída Sales & Marketing Manager Jacus Marais
We sat at a table in the tasting room and had a really good tasting of almost their entire range
We began with the two MCCs, both honouring owner Bernhard Veller’s late mother, who helped them buy the farm 20 years ago. It was then a sheep farm, now a very successful wine farm. The Matriarch is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the Chardonnay to the fore in taste. Golden on the nose, clean lemon and lime flavours, nice and dry and very elegant with a good mousse. R140.
The Grande Matriarch is, unusually for a bubbly, 100% Pinot Noir and it so impressed and surprised us that we have made it our Wine of the Week. It has cherry and raspberry on the elegant nose and on the palate the best expression of cherry ever, so quaffable. It has good length and depth and lovely maturity from 39 months on the lees. So exciting and so delicious. R225
The 2018 Wild Child wooded Sauvignon Blanc is barrel fermented with wild yeast. Gentle pyrazines on the nose, soft silky and full on the palate with tropical granadilla and ripe peaches, big with some elegance
The 2017 Golden Orb Sauvignon Blanc spends 10 months on the lees and has a golden nose with figs - leaves and fruit and green peppers, On the palate, full on nearly ripe figs with peach nectarine, sea salt and caramel in layers. Superb. It inspired Lynne to make a salad of these flavours with goat’s cheese
The 2017 Semillon has a rich nose of sesame and linseed. It’s lovely and smooth on the palate with white pepper, fig and lemon with a hint of spice
The Tinkery this year 2017 is 100% Viognier which spends 10 month in older barrels. Peaches, nectarines and honey on the nose. The balance of fruit acid and honey is on-going and there are wood notes on the end
Coronata Integration 2016 is a 51% Sauvignon Blanc and 49% Semillon. A sophisticated white blend with crisp limes and sesame on the nose. On the palate, it is nutty with pears and lime, a long finish with salt on the end. Great elegance, it deserves putting down
Then the 2018 Riesling which has golden honey and herbs on the nose and palate, it is off dry with herbs on the end with thick honey, but is waiting a bit to reveal all. It needs some time. Thankfully, no terpenes as yet
On to the reds. The 2016 Pinot Noir won the Best Pinot trophy at the 2018 Michelangelo Awards. It is perfumed with roses and fruit, light juicy fruit, supple with warm alcohols. The 2017 Pinot Noir has a ruby nose with good berries, soft and gentle at first, then complex and warm
Their top of the range 2015 Calligraphy is a classic Bordeaux blend: 50% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon 21% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petite Verdot. Green herbs, leaves and dark berries, then the Cabernet Franc shows; incense wood and then the Petite Verdot peeps through with violets. On the palate, liquorice, umami, salty rich with plum pudding fruit, cherries and soft chalky tannins. Wow!
Shelley is a great asset in the tasting room and is very attentive. This was a really great tasting of some superb wines
And then it was time for some lunch. The Durbanville farm restaurant we had wanted to go to is, for some reason, closed on a Wednesday, so we made a booking at Durbanville Hills, where we had not been for a long time. This is the favourite restaurant of the diners in Restaurant Weeks and we could see why. The views are spectacular
We ordered two wines with lunch and chatted while we waited for the food
The menu
We enjoyed the renamed Rhinofields 2017 Sauvignon Blanc with our starters, now labelled The Cape Mist
The rich and spicy High Noon Shiraz 2016 went so well with the meat dishes
We ordered by the glass and the glasses were generous
They served some cheesy ciabatta slices with a dip
The Beetroot Tart Tatin topped with reconstituted dried figs was inspiring. Great for vegetarian friends
The fish cake had good texture and lots of fish and was not filled with potato or breadcrumbs.. Not sure it was smoked salmon, it looked like white fish. Topped with a guacamole sauce, one prawn and served with orange and lemon segments
Crusted and seared venison tataki, with small butternut pancakes and a sticky sauce
This was the Venison Skewer. Incredibly tender almost as soft as fillet steak, which it tasted like and very generous
On a caramelised onion and butternut tart, a good meat jus and sprinkled with dukkah
The nicely pink beef sirloin on pappardelle pasta, with shimeji and other mushrooms and a tomato sauce
John's without the mushrooms was not as medium rare as he ordered
Our bill
And then off for one of the best views in Cape Town and some wonderful wine at De Grendel
We were shown to a table in the shaded terrace room. We began the tasting with the Koetshuis 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, one we often buy. Grapefruit and lemon on the nose, a nice mouthfeel, fresh fruit acidity with good pyrazines, figs and green peppers, with long flavours. This is still rather young and needs time
Then the delicious 2018 Chardonnay Op die Berg. Golden fruit, summery peaches, apricots, lime and light golden oak
The 2016 Pinot Noir is light red with an integrated berry nose, red berry on the palate but a little too much oak for us. Some crisp freshness and an umami soy on the end. Both of these wines are made with grapes from the cool, high altitude Ceres Plateau
Douglas Swanson, the Sales Manager, came and took us through some of the wines. The 2017 Shiraz is from the Firgrove area in Stellenbosch, pepper and smoky on the nose; sweet, warm fruit, plums, blackcurrants and nice chalky tannins
The 2017 Viognier has a very pretty nose, like the Armani perfume Lynne wears. White fruit, gooseberries, lovely warmth, good balance of acidity and long. It finishes dry, which we like, rather than too sweet
The 2017 Pinotage has balsamic notes, spice and pepper, very aromatic with plums, rhubarb and cinnamon on the nose. Plum fruit, dry tannins, more rhubarb and spice; it needs time. But then, for us, Pinotage needs 10 years
And then the pièce de resistance and we had none to this fantastic wine. Rubaiyat is a Bordeaux Blend without Malbec. It has the classic Bordeaux nose too, complexity and elegance, some wood supporting and dark fruit. On the palate, silky soft fruit, then liquorice, lovely soft chalky tannins, red plums, black and red cherries and it ends on cassis. So beautiful. Some went home with us, as did the Chardonnay
and gave us a short cellar tour
In the barrel cellar
And explaining how they do things at de Grendel
Thank you so much Douglas
Topping up the red wines in the French oak barrels, replacing the Angels’ share
And a view of the goats on the other side of the dam
Trees, lots of grass and a few ducks and geese
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2019

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