Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tasting the wines of André Rousseau at The Homestead

Our Wine club tasting this month was held at The Homestead on Constantia Main Road. It featured wines made by Andre Rousseau. Andre trained at Elsenberg and worked first at Twee Jonge Gezellen in Tulbagh with Nicky Krone, then at Constantia Uitsig as the Viticulturist. In 2002, Andre took his vineyard knowledge more actively into the cellar and started making wine full time for Constantia Uitsig, where he introduced new styles and cultivars, earning 4½ stars in the Platter Guide for his 2004 vintage and 4½ stars for his 2005 Semillon. Realising that there is a trend to a lighter style of Chardonnay, Andre also introduced the first unwooded Chardonnay at Constantia Uitsig in 2015. With new ownership of Constantia Uitsig, Andre took a leap of faith and started his own winemaking company, Rousseau Wines. He works and consults with other wine farms and is currently consulting at Rhebokskloof for this harvest

Andre's sister Elaine owns the excellent catering company Food Fanatics and her venue, The Homestead,
which can be hired to use for many different events like weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations or for work events

The line-up of wines we were to taste
We began with the 2018 Grace Sauvignon Blanc which does have a small amount of Semillon added. The grapes are from Steenberg. Classic Sauvignon Blanc nose of green peppers and fig leaves, which follows through on the palate. Crisp, lean and zingy, with good mutton fat texture from the Semillon. Some blackcurrant and passion fruit on the crisp end. R100 Much appreciated. We also tasted the new 2019 which has lots of ripe pink fig and fig leaves with some dusty notes from the Semillon on the nose. Lovely mouthfeel, rich, fresh passion fruit, gooseberry and friendlier than the 2018, John found it very hard not to spit! It went perfectly with the figs and the cheese on the buffet later. 18/20
Next the Sacharia, which awarded 94 points in 2019. It is a wooded Sauvignon Blanc using Elgin grapes. Andre does a whole bunch press and then the juice goes into French 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels to ferment. It has a powder puff nose, then green leaves appear with a whiff of smoke. Grapes, crisp limes, lemon, wood hints on the end; a smooth texture and long flavours. This impressive wine is now available at many of the top restaurants in the Cape like La Colombe and their other restaurants, Fyn, etc. 18/20. It definitely has the potential to age, as the 2016 & 2017 we tasted showed. It was full on the palate with lovely rich fruit, a very good food wine with blackcurrant hints and light wood on the end
A lively table of tasters
The final wine was Andre's 2017 Babette (all the wines are named for women in his family). Just released. It is a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 15% Shiraz and 4% Petit Verdot. The 2017 has cherries and a hint of violets on the nose and good licorice flavours. It is rich, full and multidimensional; full of good fruit and some pepper and spice from the Shiraz. The 2016 was a different blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Rich fruit, savoury hints and some wildness. Intense violets. and some wood smoke on the nose. Nice fruit, but then a lot of wood. Sharp rhubarb, oak, licorice on the end. R145. All Andre's wines are exceptional value for money
The Homestead bar
Lots of different cheeses to enjoy
There was a huge spread with olives and fruit, cold meats and some salads for us to enjoy after the wine tasting. 
Huge plates of assorted local charcuterie
Fresh and preserved figs and parmesan cheese
The dish of seared courgettes and aubergine in olive oil, lemon and herbs was delicious
A successful event for Andre; cases of his good wines were bought that evening by our members

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