Asara Winemaker, Francois Joubert
Vergenoegd Winemaker, John Faure
Solms-Delta Winemaker, Hilko Hegewisch
Wedderwill General Manager, Wolfgang von Loeper
Middelvlei Proprietor and Winemaker, Tinnie Momberg
Druk my Niet winemaker, Abraham de Klerk
Rolf Zeitvogel, Winemaker and Managing Director at Blaauwklippen
Lammershoek winemaker, Craig Hawkins
X-files: Drinking outside the box
01 March 2012 by Carla van der Merwe
This month we have chosen to shine the spotlight on wines that are different, unique or just out of the ordinary. Our search for the weird and unusual took us to a range of regions in the Western Cape where we found some fantastic wines.
We started our search close to home and kicked off our tasting and travelling at Wedderwill with General Manager Wolfgang von Loeper. Wedderwill practices biodynamic principles in their wine production and spray (amongst others) cow's milk and sea water as part of their vineyard processes.
Wolfgang chose to showcase their flagship Syrah 2006 as a representative of their unusual biodynamic approach to viti- and viniculture. The won a Grand d'Or medal at last year's Michelangelo awards and is an elegant wine that is gentle on the palate. Watch our Wedderwill Syrah 2006 to see Wolfgang talk about how the weather influences the vines and wines at Wedderwill. video
Our journey then took us to Stellenbosch where we visited four wine estates, Middelvlei, Vergenoegd, Asara and Blaauwklippen. Blaauwklippen and Asara each presented us with Blanc de noir's. Blanc de noir roughly translates into white from black and refers to the process whereby a white wine is made from red grapes.
Blaauwklippen is known as the foremost producer of Zinfandel in South Africa. Zinfandel is a cultivar that is better known in Croatia, Italy and California. is definitely a crowd pleaser with its delicate baked apple and pear flavours and dry finish. The wine however still retains a bit of colour and has a soft salmon blush. Managing Director and winemaker Rolf Zietvogel chatted to us about this unusual cultivar and how it came to find a home on the estate. To listen to more of what Rolf had to say click Blaauwklippen's White Zinfandel 2009 . here
Asara Wine Estate and Hotel lives by the slogan 'out with the ordinary'. Their Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc is certainly a not so ordinary wine, with this Blanc de noir having no hint of the red grapes it once came from. The resembles its feminine sauvignon blanc mother in terms of flavour profile, yet it still has the structure and finish one would expect from cabernet sauvignon. Winemaker Francois Joubert is doing lots of interesting things in the cellar this year including a Asara Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc 2011 due for release in March. Click Beaujolais Nouveau style wine to hear Francois talk about the sexy Cabernet Sauvignon blanc. here
As we drove into the heart of Stellenbosch I couldn't help but be amazed at the fact that houses gave way to a wine estate in 'Onder Papagaaiberg'. When we reached Middelvlei I look around and was again amazed that you can not see any houses when you visit the tasting room. This gem of a wine farm produces a Free-Run Pinotage that not only tastes good but does good too. A percentage of the sale of the is donated to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and if you purchase the wine from the estate you get a hand beaded wire animal too. Proprietor and winemaker Tinnie Momberg explained the wine to us, have a look Middelvlei Free-Run Pinotage 2009 for yourself. here
Our last Stellenbosch stop was at Vergenoegd Wine Estate where Winemaker John Faure explained the intricacies of producing Port style wines. The Faure family have farmed on the Vergenoegd estate since 1820 and 1986 saw them produce their first vintage port. Producing Port is an extremely meticulous process and to learn more about it please watch the of John. The video is a beautiful wine made from 100% Tinta Barocca grapes and has a lovely flavour profile that includes toffee, dried apricot, nuts and marmalade. Vergenoegd Limited Edition 1999 Tawny Port
The second half of our exciting journey to discover weird wines took us to the wine producing regions of Paarl, Franschhoek and the Swartland.
First off we popped in at Solms-Delta Wine Estate for a chat with their consultant Winemaker Hilko Hegewisch. Solms-Delta focuses primarily on Rhone (a region in France) cultivars such as Shiraz/Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier and Grenache. In particular they are one of only a handful of producers that produce a vine dried wine in South Africa (Asara is another producer). But we were there to talk about a less serious wine, the . The Cape Jazz is a light hearted wine that can be enjoyed with anything really as long as you have a good time. Click Solms-Astor Cape Jazz Shiraz NV to hear what Hilko has to say about the wine. here
Our next stop saw us in Paarl at Druk My Niet Wine Estate where we were met by ever smiling Winemaker Abraham de Klerk. This was the second time in a year that I'd visited the estate and I was excited to be able to re-taste the flagship T3 blend. The is a very unique wine as it is the first of its kind to blend the three varietals of Tannat, Tinta Amarella and Tempranillo together. The wine has a beautiful acidity and full tannin structure and is definitely a wine to lie down for a few years before enjoying as it will continue to develop. To listen to Abraham chat about the wine, please watch the Druk My Niet T3 2009 . video
The last of our adventures took us into the Swartland where most of the winemakers, including Lammershoek Winemaker Craig Hawkins, are known for doing things differently. The certainly didn't disappoint in the interesting category as it was aged in French Oak barrels under water. This unusual aging method helped to prevent oxygen from affecting the wine. The end product is a smooth wine with a soft lingering after taste. Click Lammershoek Cellar Foot Underwater Syrah 2011 to watch Craig talking about the wine. here
If you have a story about any unusual wines please send it to our Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll consider featuring it on the site this month. To view more pictures from our trip please click . here
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