Monday, March 13, 2017

A day in Durbanville

We wanted to take our Dutch friends on a local wine tour and Durbanville is very close to town. The weather was perfect and we began at Bloemendal, had lunch at Diemersdal (Lynne had heard very good things about the restaurant and we knew the wine was superb) and finished the day with at last sigh at the view from De Grendel
We began at Bloemendal, which we haven't visited for a while. This is the restaurant, but we wanted the tasting room. Bloemendal grow possibly the best Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Durbanville, on the legendary Suider Terras vineyard
We were directed to "cross the bridge" over there (it was on the other side!) and had a lengthy walk around the farm until we found the outdoor tasting centre at the back of the farm, near the stables which are now guest accommodation. We don't know why they have hidden it. Surely they are proud of the wines? We were warmly welcomed by Etienne le Roux, the Tasting room manager
Tables are under a white marquee, rather wedding-like. We enjoyed some of their wines, starting with their second label Waterlily Sauvignon Blanc at R70. This is the Suider Terras, made in tanks. The Limited Edition is sold out. And then the 2015 Kanonberg Limited Edition SB full of grass, asparagus, green peppers on the nose. This has 30% Semillon added and is made from bush vines. Dry minerality, round mouth, white peaches, pear and granadilla.
We loved the 2014 Semillon, a very limited release as only 1000 bottles were made. It is slightly smoky with groendruif minerality and vanilla, with greengage flavours, mutton fat and crisp acidity, but a sweeter end
The best, the 2014 Chardonnay has vanilla oak limoncello nose; citrus full and round with lemons and limes, very satisfying. Both sell for R175 These wines were all made by consultant Francois Haasbroek
We tasted the 2013 Tierberg Shiraz which is lactic with vanilla ice cream on the nose; a blockbuster red, full of dark berries and spice and black pepper and a bit of brettanomyces character, so it will last
And then we then tasted all the Waterlily reds. The Pinotage shows its soft, perfumed Pinot parent with some leather, very satisfying with a peppery end. The Waterlily merlot was much enjoyed and scored very highly. Loads of cassis and cherries, sweet fruit, dark wood, and milk chocolate rounds it off, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. No greenness and no mint detected. Thank you Etienne
Then we were off down the valley to Diemersdal, famous for their Sauvignon Blancs. Lynne had heard rumours that the restaurant was doing wonderful things. Indeed it was. We have since discovered that the Royal Portfolio has put it at #5 on their Favourite Restaurants in the Cape Winelands list http://www.theroyalportfolio.com/our-stories/top-10-restaurants-in-the-cape-winelands/
'Twas a hot summer midday with the cicadas singing - we call them Christmas beetles
We chose to sit outside under an umbrella rather than eat in the restaurant
and ordered a bottle of the 8 Rows Sauvignon Blanc, our favourite, but we do like all of their Sauvignons
A lovely lady having lunch with her family
We were in for a treat. Our expectation was usual farm restaurant fare. Two of us chose the tapas menu, the choices sounded interesting
And this is what arrived. Wow. Chef Martin de Kok trained at the Greenhouse and at Jordan under George Jardine. His focus is on locally grown, regionally sourced ingredients. From top left: a deep fried fish ball in a green mustard sauce; Not ground down left over fish, great texture and flavour. Then a lamb confit in a white bean purée - sweet lamb so soft it was in shreds, with a rich bean paste, very French in style. Slices of perfectly rare and pink sirloin steak in a classic Béarnaise sauce (yes with tarragon) and Moutard Moût de Raisin, a French mustard made with grape must. A fresh chilled Asparagus and pea soup which was superb. It still had some texture and was dressed with good olive oil and herbs. And finally a small Barley risotto with dark mushrooms, topped with celeriac puree. Great flavours and texture. Definitely going back for more.
The lads opted for the sirloin steak, rare with the Béarnaise sauce, baked onions, and crisp chips which they loved. Enjoyed with a glass of the Estate Red
The tapas also comes with a dessert, a rather cheffy bread and butter pudding with figs, crème Anglaise and dots of sharp berry jam. Taste and texture more like cake than bread
Owner Tienie Louw in the tasting room
We also made a turn at Altydgedacht, one of the oldest wine farms in the Cape, owned for five generations by the Parker family. We had a quick tasting of the beautiful bone dry, litchi and rose perfumed Gewürztraminer, the excellent smoky Pinotage and the classic dark fruit Barbera as we wanted to introduce them to our friends. Sadly no The Ollo to taste, all sold out until the new vintage is released later in the year. It's a great blend of 35% Semillon, 31% Chardonnay, 23% Viognier, and 11% Chenin blanc. Behind the counter was Robyn, the lovely daughter of viticulturalist John Parker
And with just half an hour before they closed we had to visit de Grendel for the beautiful views and to taste their Sauvignon Blanc
We sat on the cool enclosed terrace
This lovely, polite young man really looked after us, giving us the three wines we asked to taste: Koetshuis 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, classic green pea, elderflower with a mineral note and a hint of wood and a touch of Durbanville salt on the finish; Winifred white blend of Semillon, Viognier and Chardonnay, a complex food wine and 2014 Rubaiyat, a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, showing classic Cabernet characteristics, good now, but needs at least five years to show its true worth. The Rubaiyat was named after Omar Khayyam’s poems, much loved by the late Sir David Graaff
It was a hot day and we were offered a taste of their new Obex apple cider which impressed Lynne so much, she bought six. It is a proper dry cider, not sweet apple juice turned into alcohol
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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