Vin-atics tasting notes for April

All you need to know to hold your own Vin-atics tasting party this month

by: Cathy Marston | 02 Apr 2011

Nitida Semillon 2010    R75 from selected retailers
Semillon is something of a forgotten variety, and yet it is actually one of the most valuable and interesting grape varieties in the world. This version from Nitida is very much on the green side of things, lightly and cleverly oaked to produce a citrussy, creamy wine with plenty of body.

Dinner Party Drop-in line – did you know that Semillon is the main component of the celebrated sweet wine, Chateau Yquem?

A tangy Pear and Blue Cheese Tart with its sweet white pears and hint of honey should be perfectly offset by the lime-y creamy flavours of this wine reckons Chef Caro. Let us see shall we?!

De Wetshof Limestone Hill Unwooded Chardonnay 2009   R60 from selected retailers   
Danie de Wet is a Chardonnay specialist of note, making chardonnays at all different price levels and with all different amounts of oak. This has had none at all so the clean, fresh, lime-y flavours really stand forth – eminently drinkable wine!

Dinner Party Drop-in line – the chalky soils of Robertson are perfect for both Chardonnays and horses – it’s softer on their legs!!

An unwooded chardonnay is one of the most food-friendly around and goes with lots of diferent foods. This one is the perfect match for delicate, subtle flavours such as those found in this creamy Red Lentil Curry.

Ridgeback Natural Sweet Viognier 2010 R65 per 375ml bottle from the farm
Ridgeback reckon this is the only Natural Sweet Viognier in the country – in fact, possibly even the world! – and it has come about from their interest in all-things Rhone, as their normal Viognier will attest. This is a delicious drop with lots of peachy, apricot-y flavours balanced by a lively acidity and satisfying clean finish.

Dinner party Drop-in Line – viogniers are regularly added to shiraz all over the Rhone Valley to add spice and enhance the perfume of the red wines.

A dessert wine can also be paired with blue cheese and Chef Caro contemplated putting this with the pear and blue cheese tart. But in the end, she decided that the yellow stonefruit flavours and hints of gingery spice should marry perfectly with this spiced Apple Crumble.

Groote Post Old Man’s Red 2010    R49 from leading retailers
This has long been one of my favourite red wines – if you want a good glugger to go with anything from a braai to a steak, then this is the one for you. Over the years, it has morphed into a fairly traditional Bordeaux blend, but they used to include a curveball Pinot in it as well – either way, it’s a juicy, black-fruity, savoury, tasty sip.

Dinner Party Drop-in line – the Old Man is actually owner Peter Pentz who once won an award for the quality of semen produced by his herd of cattle!

This is such a versatile wine, it could almost go with just about anything. Caro has gone for a Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup and hopes the soft creaminess of the peppers will find a partner in the rounded, ripe, red and black fruit of the wine.

Simonsig SMV 2009    R82 from leading retailers
SMV stands for shiraz, mourvedre and viognier which are the three components of this blend – basically a very typically Rhone production. This has got pronounced coffee and chocolate aromas with lots of spice and pepper as well, soft fruit and juicy tannins.

Dinner Party Drop-in line – did you know that you are allowed up to 13 different grape varieties in Chateauneuf-du-Pape?

This Gnocchi with Gorgonzola is one of Chef Caro’s favourite dishes – ‘it’s a real hearty winter-warmer with tangy Gorgonzola complemented by creamy homemade gnocchi.’ The rich, savoury, earthy flavours of the wine should prove a good match.

Journey’s End Merlot 2007    R125 from selected retailers
South African Merlot has had a bad press of late – but not this one! It’s an award-winning wine from the brains behind the UK’s biggest South African wine brand, Kumala, who have now settled into this winery in picturesque Sir Lowry’s Pass. This is an elegant Merlot with lots of restrained black fruit, chewy tannins and a rich, lingering finish.

Dinner Party Drop-in line – did you know that Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, after whom the pass was named, was Governor of the Cape from 1828 to 1833?

Lots of synergies here (well hopefully anyway!) between the elegant dark fruit with balanced acidity and creamy oak and the tangy cheese with acidic tomato sauce of this tapas-style dish, Aubergines with Goats’ cheese.

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