Every year, producers such as Van Loveren rush to be the first to release their Sauvignon Blancs. This year, I believe they achieved it in February in time for Valentine’s Day!
White wines generally take less time to make because they don’t require the wine to spend any time in contact with the skins – something which is essential for red wines. So generally, red wines will be released much longer after the grapes are harvested.
But not at Asara!
The first certified red wine of 2013 was released last month in time for Human Rights Day and is now selling from the farm for R50 a bottle. It’s called ‘Nouveau’ and this harks back to the style of wine still made in Beaujolais in France.
Every year, the winemakers used to race each other across the Channel from Burgundy to London, vying to be the first to show the new vintage of their wines – hence Beaujolais Nouveau.
This wine from Asara is made from the same grape variety (Gamay) using the same technique and it is this production method which is the secret to how a red wine can be made in such a short time. The wine is made by carbonic maceration which basically means that fermentation is started within each whole grape, before the grapes burst and are then crushed.
This means that the wine is very low on tannins – normally one reason for keeping a wine longer before release, and quite low on colour as well, making more of a dark rosé than anything else.
The wine is soft and juicy and in my opinion, is best treated as if it were a rosé wine. It’s not meant for keeping so you should drink it quickly before the last days of summer fade away. I enjoyed it with a charcuterie platter and some coarse farmhouse pâté but if you get enough sunshine, a nice salad would also do the trick.
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