Thursday, January 30, 2020

Groote Post's 50th Country Market in the Darling Hills

At the end of last year, we were invited to the last Groote Post Country Market of the year, but we were already committed and had to take a rain check. We cashed the cheque last week and, on Sunday, we went to Groote Post wine estate to attend their 50th Sunday market. Their Country Markets are held on the last Sunday of every month. The weather was perfect; the day began with a few showers which had all cleared by 10 and it stayed sunny and at about 24ºC all day

On the way to the farm, we passed a dam and saw a wonderful sight. A flock of young Blue cranes, our graceful National bird, (Grus paradisea) doing their mating dance atop the dam wall. They mate for life. They do elegant fluttery jumps in the air which remind us a little of the dance called Adumu, or Aigus, that some of the Masai tribes of Tanzania and Kenya perform at their coming of age ceremonies
Entrance is fee and you check in at the I֍Darling/IYzer stand, where you can obtain some local information
The next markets are on the 23rd February, 29th March and 26th April 2020
They close for winter, but will open up again in the late Spring
John spotted this stand with superb hand made knives
Lynne was at the stand next to him buying an innovative hair prong from a couple from Durban
There were stands selling clothes, jewellery, garden ornaments and home furniture, beautiful proteas and chilli sauces,
art, cheese and many others. Darling Brew had a beer stand and there was lots of seating with shade cloths
The winery was selling wine by the glass, the bottle and the case; the wine was very popular
and you could go to the tasting room, enjoy a comprehensive tasting and buy wine to take home
Talented winemaker Lukas Wentzel has been with Groote Post for 20 years
He gave us a tasting of some of their older Rieslings and the newest, just released
Rieslings are now hard to find in the Cape and this is a good one. We also tasted a 2015 Sauvignon Blanc
More stands, some with jams and another with salami, sausages and droëwors
Lynne was very, very tempted to buy something from this stand
A waterlily petal birdbath on an iron pole, with a carved soapstone bird which you 'plant' in the garden
Her hesitation was because she couldn't assess whether our bird obsessed hunting cats could reach the birdbath
Swarmas being basted
or you could have steak or falafel for lunch
Charming Satin Crammers* - the dogs, not the owners
* British writer Jilly Cooper once described Labradors as Satin Crammers because of their voracious appetites
Lukas and Tersia Wentzel manning their Cider stand
Getting a glass of wine to go with our hamburgers
We were treated to two double burgers from the Burger Fellers. They are Enormous! Two good 150gm beef patties, cheese, tomato, fresh red onion, pickles and sauce crammed between two halves of a sesame bun
We had wine with our lunch, but we could have had a good brew
The burger!
With a glass of The Old Mans Blend from Groote Post, which went down a treat
After lunch, owner Nick Pentz took us for a drive up to the wine growing part of the farm
They also have a game area, Aberdeen Angus cattle and sheep on this huge mixed farm. The views are breathtaking
The original South facing Sauvignon Blanc vineyards
Riesling grapes will soon be harvested. We tasted the grapes and they are incredibly intense in flavour, so good
Planted in 2000
The Semillon still needs some ripening time, but it is already showing all its beautiful characteristics
The vineyards are angled to get the best of the local sea breezes and enough sun to ripen the grapes
Farm buildings in the distance and the cold Atlantic Ocean beyond
Vigorous growth
Nick Pentz in the vineyards. Nick is concentrating on varietals which perform best on the farm
Cabernet Sauvignon will no longer be in the portfolio as the farm's climate is too cool for it to ripen properly
We were lucky enough to be able to pick and taste a few ripening grapes
It is such a valuable exercise to see the sugar and acid levels and to help recognise the intrinsic flavours of particular grapes
The bunches of Merlot grapes are huge and it looks like a very good crop
Hanging so heavy, the flavours are developing nicely but these will only be harvested in 3 to 4 weeks
Lovely friendly faces in the tasting room
And a very helpful member of staff on the dispatch area with our box of Sea Salter Sauvignon Blanc. 
We love this wine, its complexity and salty flavours go so well with seafood and fish
One of our motivations for coming was to buy some
The Rieslings we tasted. Interestingly, the 2014 Barrique did not show any terpenes - it was matured in acacia barrels -
and still had a good mouthfeel, with crisp granadilla and grape flavours, a hint of soft wood and minerality on the end
Very, very good. The current vintage 2019 is unwooded and is perfumed with hanepoot notes,
crisp and zesty on the palate with pineapple,  fresh ginger and lees on the end
There will soon be a new wine from Groote Post, of which Lucas gave us a taste, called Salt of the Earth
It will, perhaps, be released in March or April. It completely knocked us out with its complexity and our enjoyment
A blend of Shiraz and Cinsault, it has rich complex notes of spice, violets, wood smoke and dark red & black fruit, pepper,
good chalky tannin minerality, with licorice and salt on the end. Keep your eyes out for this one
Sommeliers take note. A great wine with food
Thank you for a great day, everyone at Groote Post. You spoiled us
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All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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