So here we are again, ready to pounce on a #TWStaste session … well. I say ‘we’, but yet again the roar of the greasepaint at the smell of the crowd has dragged yours truly away from tonight’s …
… mischievous and mouthwatering meanderings on the matter of marvellous manifestations of grape juice. But it’s all down to “chiefly yourselves”, so here’s a wee pre-amble on the wines you’ll be tasting tonight.
Klein Constantia Riesling, Constantia 2015 - 13% abv - £11.95
Delicious South African riesling in a top vintage. Ripe yet fresh, and a wonderful match for lightly spiced dishes, this is well worth trying.
Winemaking started in Klein Constantia in 1692, after Simon van de Stel, 10th Commander of the Cape, was granted his own farm in 1685 – this farm was then divided into three parts upon his death in 1712 – Bergvliet, Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia.
Much more historical info can be found on their website focusing much, of course, on the famous ‘vin de Constance’. Thankfully, most of the rest of their offering is within the financial grasp of us mere mortals.
Since May 2011 the estate has been owned by businessmen Zdenek Bakala and Charles Harman, and in June 2012 Bordelais wine stars Bruno Prats & Hubert de Boüard merged their Stellenbosch-based farm Anwilka with Klein Constantia. Winemaking is looked after by Matt Day, who was former winemaker Adam Mason’s assistant until 2012 when he stepped into the winemaker’s shoes. Craig Harris is the viticulturalist.
Situated between 70 metres and 343 metres above sea level, with a constant sea breeze above 150 metres, temperatures remain cool in the vineyards, preserving the fruit during ripening. With the ocean a mere 10 kilometres away, the wind plays an important factor, too, often stressing the vineyard and resulting in an increase in concentration and flavour in the fruit.
Grapes for this vintage were hand selected and only perfect bunches were picked, as a result they only harvested 2 tons per hectare. Despite the low yield, the riesling vines provided excellent quality fruit with super acidity and fresh aromatics.
The riesling is made in a natural and minimalistic style. The wine was naturally fermented and left on the lees for 6 months. Long extended skin contact before pressing, wild fermentation, no added enzymes and minimal winemaking techniques were used when making the making of this wine. Residual sugar level is 7 g/litre
They say: Vibrant in appearance, the wine is elegant with distinct terroir expression. The intense palate balances a rich floral and savoury flavours with a good acidity. Citrus blossom flavours follow into a long, full and fresh finish.
I’m jealous of you all - I love the KC Riesling, but I’ll just have to enjoy it after the event! Now on to our red for tonight, namely …
De Krans ‘Tritonia’, Calitzdorp 2014 - 13.5% abv - £13.95
“One of the best-known producers of fortified wines in the Cape, De Krans has turned its hand successfully to dry reds. Respecting their heritage, this is a South African blend of Portuguese grape varieties, with spice-infused black-fruit perfume, touches of chocolate and mocha on the palate, and finishing with fine, chalky tannins.”
De Krans Wine Cellar is situated along the upper reaches of the picturesque Gamka River Valley near Calitzdorp. The history of the farm dates back to 1890 when the current owners’ great grandfather bought part of the first farm established in Calitzdorp, named Buffelsvallei (“Buffalo valley”) on the edge of the municipal boundary of Calitzdorp.
The first grapes were planted in 1936 mainly for the production of raisins and some sweet wine. In
1964 the present cellar was built and De Krans quickly became well-known for quality ‘ports’ and
Muscat sweet wines, as well as dry table wines. The vines are in the remote, semi-arid Klein Karoo region, which is the richest in succulent plants anywhere in the world.
Still family-owned by brothers Boets & Stroebel Nel, De Krans is one of the pioneers of dry red wines made from traditional Portuguese grape varieties. Boets is the MD, Stroebel is the viticulturalist, and the winemaker is Louis van der Riet.
Louis van der Riet
The blenbd for this vintage was 67% touriga nacional, 22% tinta roriz (aka tempranillo), 6% tinta barocca and 5% tinta amarelle. Portuguese varieties were planted in Calitzdorp during the early 1970’s with tinta barocca being the first to find its way to the Klein Karoo. The shallow soil and continental climate of Calitzdorp, very similar to that of the Douro valley in Portugal, is ideal for growing these unique varieties. All vines are micro irrigated on VSP trellising systems to ensure the best quality fruit possible.
Grapes are handpicked at full ripeness, and then the different varieties are vinified separately in open fermenters until fermentation has stopped. Skins are then pressed, and the wine is left to undergo malolactic fermentation in concrete tanks. After malolactic fermentation the wine pumped into 2nd and 3rd fill French Oak barrels and left to mature for 12 months. After ageing the best barrels are meticulously selected and the blend is made from these.
“Bouquet: Full fruit aromas of raspberry, prunes and mulberries, with hints of dark chocolate and spice – Taste: Full-bodied with flavours of violets and dark fruit with savoury notes. Well-structured tannins and balanced integrated oak. Superb aging potential. – Food pairing: Works beautifully with venison and ostrich steaks or ostrich pies, roasted leg of lamb or beef fillet. (anyone matching it with ostrich tonight?!)
Not impressed …
So there we are - enjoy the tasting later, one and all - I look forward to living through it vicariously when I read all your comments later. Have fun!