SA Winery Visit #4 — Muratie

We were very fortunate on our winery tour because there were only 3 people in the group (vs up to 16).  Our guide was also amazing.  Based on the great blend of people, the guide made sure that we fit 4 wineries into the day and finished the outing with an amazing vineyard.  The close the tour, we visited Muratie in the Stellenbosch.

IMG_0508

IMG_0503

It’s one of the oldest estates in South Africa and that is evidenced by the amazing wine, stories and other things you see.

10268508_10152003258571302_1114158613179763006_n

IMG_0509They have not cleaned spider webs off some things to maintain ambiance…nice.

IMG_0522

IMG_0516

At Muratie we were once again able to choose which wines we would like to sample, and shared amongst each other.

I started with the Melck’s Rose, which was made with Cab Franc.  Nice, crisp and refreshing.  And a steal at R45.

IMG_0518

IMG_0519

Next I went to their Laurens Campher (Blended White).  It’s 46% Chenin Blanc, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 19% Verdolho, 10% Viognier.  Buttery was my take on it. R95.

IMG_0523

IMG_0525

Then I had a quick sip of their Lady Alice Methode Cap Classique.  Was this beer?  The reason I say that is that it tasty yeasty.  R120.

IMG_0520

Ok, red time!!!  Started with the Melck’s Red, a 50/50 Shiraz/Cab blend.  Just a nice, easy dinner wine.  R50.

IMG_0528

 

IMG_0529

Moving down the line, next came the George Paul Canitz Pinot Noir.  It had a black pepper nose and for the taste — a bit of green pepper, chocolate and some berries.  Quite unique.  R165.

IMG_0526

IMG_0527

Then came Shiraz time, Ronnie Melck Shiraz to be exact, from the family selection.  NICE!!!!!!  Normally it’s not available for tasting but we lucked out.  Smoke, tobacco, smooth…very similar to a pinotage.  Very worthy of the price of R350.

IMG_0530

IMG_0531

To wrap up the tasting there was the fortified wine, Ben Prins Cape Vintage.  With 19.5% alcohol, it was a bit chewy with notes of chocolate and blackberry.  R170.

IMG_0532

This winery was great to just look around and see fun parts of.

IMG_0512

IMG_0506

IMG_0513

 

IMG_0510

IMG_0517

IMG_0507

Amazing winery to wrap up an amazing day!  It’s tough to get these/their wine in the States but I am going to keep working on it to continue enjoying amazing vino.  Cheers!

SA Winery Visit #3 — Solms Delta

After the 2nd winery, we put the bikes away and took a long enough drive (as in too far to ride) to Solms Delta.

IMG_0482

IMG_0486

IMG_0487

IMG_0485

Here we started with their Vastrap, a white which is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Semillon.  It was a dry white, nothing to write home about.  R50.

IMG_0488

IMG_0489

Next we went to the Amalie, which is a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache.  Smells like chard, has some oak flavors, but I would characterize it as a ‘light’ chard.  R110.

IMG_0490

IMG_0491

Third one presented was the Lekkerwijn, which means ‘nice’ or ‘yummy’ wine.  It’s a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache Noir and Viognier and is a Rose.  It was sweet and not great.  R55.

IMG_0492

IMG_0493

Reds, finally reds!!!  Langarm, pronounced Long-arm, a blend of four varietals — Pinotage, Touriga Nacional, Shiraz and Mourvedre.  The nose had tobacco and was sweet.  The taste was light and peppery.  R55.

IMG_0495

IMG_0496

Next red was one I look for a lot and can be hard to find — sparkling Shiraz.  This one is their Cape Jazz Shiraz.  Subtle, fruity, per them. Light, refreshing, 9.9% alcohol.  Yes, oh yes.  I left with a bottle.  R580.

IMG_0497

IMG_0498

We then hit a fortified wine, the Gemoedsrus, made with a Shiraz grape.  The style ‘An entirely new concept in port-style wine; Shiraz desiccated on the vine, then fortified with Shiraz grappa.’  18.5% alcohol, NICE and SMOOTH.  R150.

IMG_0501

IMG_0502

Finally we sampled an experimental wine, Perry, a lightly sparkling pear fermented beverage, 6% ABV.  Crisp and refreshing.  The problem here is that you could not taste any alcohol so you could easily just be sitting outside enjoying this on a beautiful summer day and that bottle would be gone quickly…and you would be too…without realizing it.  R50.

IMG_0499

IMG_0500

Three down, and since we had such a small group, our guide made sure we hit one more winery before the day was done!

 

SA Winery Visit #2 — Franschhoek Cellar

To get to our 2nd winery, we only had to ride about 5K from the first.  Not too shabby.  Still very scenic!

DSCN1980

DSCN1965

This next winery we visited was Franschhoek Cellar.

IMG_0454

IMG_0456

IMG_0466

For the tasting, we got to pick six to sample from the entire menu (versus being given specific wines).  That was great because between the entire three of us on the tour, we were able to taste almost everything!  And off we went.

IMG_0461

IMG_0470

Statue de Femme Sauvignon Blanc — In the top 10 last year.  Light and crisp.  Another typical SA bargain at R50.

IMG_0463

IMG_0464

La Cotte Mill Chenin Blanc — Tropical, pineapple taste.  R40!  Really, $4 for a bottle.  Love this place.  Note on the dates on the back labels, they write day/month, versus how we do month/day.

IMG_0465IMG_0466

Club Hose Rose – a blend of Pinotage, Shiraz and Cab.  The best way I can describe it would be powdery rose petals.  GREAT!!!!  R40.

IMG_0467

IMG_0468

The Old Museum Merlot — Very berry-y.  NICE, for a Merlot.  There seemed to be quite a difference in SA Merlots.  I don’t normally like them but down there they are quite unique!  R50.

IMG_0474IMG_0475

Stone Bridge Pinotage — Nice, light and smoky, oh yes.  R50.

IMG_0470

IMG_0471

The Churchyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Thick, chocolate, tobacco are the best notes to describe this one. R50.

IMG_0472

IMG_0473

Last but not least was a limited release.  The Franschhoek Vineyards Shiraz, cellar door exclusive, no info about it anywhere except on the tasting sheet.  “The Shiraz grapes for this wine are from one of the highest most rugged vineyard sites in Franschhoek with singular personality and expression that compelled our winemaker Richard Duckitt to go to great lengths to preserve the tremendous concentration and purity of fruit in this exemplary Franschhoek wine.” — ‘sweet’, thick and smooth. R100.

Mid-way through this tasting after everything was poured, lunch was served and we were able to take our glasses outside to enjoy some great food and drink in the amazing weather.

IMG_0471

Non-Domestic Flights/Airline = Free (Amazing) Wine

I have been MIA from blogging for a bit because I spent the last two weeks in South Africa (with a couple days at the end in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls).  Amazing!  From scenery to culture…to food and wine (and some beer).  I was already expecting an amazing trip but it got even better on the first flight (of 8 over the course of the vacation) with the wine.  As many of us are used to paying for anything other than maybe water on flights (apparently some airlines charge for soda now), it was nice to have the hope of freedom when preparing for a long flight.  So as the flight attendant came around and asked what I’d like, there were various selections, all from South Africa (darn!) and I opted for one of the reds, a Merlot.  I don’t normally lean towards that grape, but why not, it’s free!  So, out came the bottle.  Oh, and before she moved on, she threw another one out there.  Most people were handed several bottles of wine on round 1.  Go South African Airways.  The Merlot was from Stormhoek.  WOW, that did not taste like a Merlot.  Unreal.  I wish I had scribbled some notes down but it just had some unique characteristics.  Their website doesn’t have a ton of info on where we could attempt to find this stuff here.  Darn!

IMG_0378

All alcoholic beverages had messages on the container, which of course are for safety reasons (took pics of most of them).  But this one is the best, and for good reason.  It was on this bottle of Merlot.

IMG_0379

Yes!  Because it tastes SO GOOD!

Another wine sampled just labeled what the trip and the country brought/bring — JOY.  It was a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.  Amazing, amazing.  14.5% alcohol — few SA wines go low on alcohol content.  The winery works with a social upliftment project in a local town to improve the lives of residents (see label below).  Can’t find any information on the web about the vintner.  If you happen to come across something, please let me know!

IMG_0385

IMG_0387

As the flights progressed, you find out you also get free wine on domestic flights…ahh.  So nice.  So, while going from safari to Cape Town, it was mid-day and I opted for a white and received a Chenin Blanc, Flutterby.  Nice and crisp, fruity.

IMG_0382

IMG_0383

Other mid-day flights brought the perfect time to sample some Chardonnay, Liberty Chardonnay to be precise.  It was a traditional Chard, oaked, buttery.  Tough to track down the exact site for this one, too.

IMG_0427

IMG_0428

These guys also make a fun sparkling wine.  It has a screw top, which makes it easy to open on the plane!

IMG_0424

On my last flight, back to the US, I had an amazing blend from Spier 1692.  It was Classic Red with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.  Amazing all around.

IMG_0631

IMG_0632

Great way to taste a wide variety of local wine while not on the ground.  Love what South Africa has to offer!

Wine Class #3

And I go back a class.  In the third week we bounced around a little on what we learned about, but some of the main points I took home were:

-the ‘parents’ of Cabernet are Sauvignon Blanc and Cab Franc

-high tannins and acidity are the base for Bordeaux

-Cabernets and Chardonnays adapt to climate

-Syrah=crowd pleaser

We tasted quite the range of wines that night, darn!

2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, about $13

IMG_1661

2011 Willm Geurztraminer, Alsace, France, about $16

IMG_1662

2009 Chateau les Grands Marechaux (Merlot), Blaye Cote de Bordeaux, France, about $24

 

IMG_1663

2012 Milton Park Shiraz, South Australia, Australia, $9 — definitely lived up to the price

IMG_1664

2012 Punto Final Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, about $13 — almost ‘raisin-ed’

IMG_1666

2012 Clos Le Vouvray (Chenin Blanc), Loire Valley, France, about $20

IMG_1670

2011 Chateau de Chasseloir Muscadet, Loire Valley, France, about $12 — pair with salt

IMG_1669

2011 Tres Picos Garnacha (Grenache), Borsao, Spain, about $18 — love this one!

IMG_1665

2011 Karl Erbes Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany, about $18

IMG_1667