Saturday Snapshot -Kleine Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2011

Feb 02, 13 Saturday Snapshot -Kleine Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2011

Posted by in Saturday Snapshot, South Africa

Okay, so it has been a long time coming but I am being converted to the wines of South Africa. I remember when I first started wine tasting, S. African wines were definitely not my go-to choice. The reds tasted of an odd, burnt flavour and the whites were frankly, lemon water. Happily, the wines, they are a-changing. I have of course tried the wines of Seven Springs vineyards, which I have reviewed here in the past. And just the other day, I received a sample of a red wine from Kleine Zalze Winery. Kleine Zalze it has to be said, have been around a long time. They were founded in 1695 and are still a family owned estate. They make premium red and white wines and are known for their quality. I have had the higher end of their range and it is very good. The wine I had though was from their entry-level range, the Zalze 2011 Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier blend. An interesting take on the classic Shiraz/Viognier blend that is originally from the Rhone Valley, this wine was certainly much more then I was expecting. As I said earlier, I often think of South African reds as having a slightly burnt or smoky (not in a good way) character to them, but this wine was delicious: medium-bodied with loads of blackberry and red fruit notes on the palate, the Viognier gave it a slightly lifted nose with spicy notes mingling in there as well. I like to have my wine with dinner and this one I had with sweet potatoes (I eat them all the time in the winter) and a pork chop. It was a great little wine: good acidity and flavourful, but not overwhelming the food. The best bit is that this wine is available for under a tenner. That’s right, you can snap up a bottle for £6.99 from Ocado. At those prices, I’d pick up a couple of bottles! NOTE* I originally wrote this review for and occasionally re-post wines I...

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Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Aug 16, 12 Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Posted by in South Africa

Oldenburg Vineyards in Stellenbosch, S. Africa,  is located in what many consider to the premium wine growing region of the country. The vineyard is in the Banghoek Valley which means “scary corner” due to that fact that it used to the stomping grounds of local leopards. Nowadays they have all but disappeared leaving the valley to the vines. The vineyard was originally a fruit farm founded in the 1950’s which then became a vineyard in the 1960’s. The family sold their grapes to other vineyards until 1993 when Helmut Hohman, the owner died. It wasn’t until 2003 that the vineyard was revitalized by Adrian Vanderspruy, the current proprietor of Oldenburg Vineyards. I had dinner with the winemaker, Simon Thompson, in London not long ago at the wine cellars of Berry Bros & Rudd.  Over dinner, Simon related how a study had been commissioned of the vineyard site and they had found that it was a very unique site with the best soils placed in the middle of a hanging valley. The location having good sunlight but still being in a protected site. We touched on the fact that they practice “bio-viticulture”, it’s a phrase that was coined by a Stellenbosch professor and the the philosophy encapsulates both the principles of organic and biodynamic winemaking. Oldenburg believe that winemakers should “tread lightly on the environment”. In this case, they use as little copper and sulphur as possible in the winemaking process and the softest approach. They think a healthy microbial soil structure is very important in the grape growing process. They also do quite a bit of green harvesting to ensure that only the best grapes get through. Over dinner we had the first public vertical tasting of their chardonnays. Rather oaky in style, Simon believes that the way forward for South African chardonnay is less oak and I tend to agree with him. He’s a big fan of chenin blanc and thinks it could be the third wine of S. Africa. I tried the...

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The Ultimate Box Collection from Moet & Hennessey, winemakers video

Why were 3 winemakers from far flung parts of the globe all in Central London at the same time? They were here for the launch of Moet Hennessey’s Ultimate Collection Box, a collection of 6 iconic wines from MH’s wine portfolio. Although there are 6 different wines, it is hard enough to get 3 winemakers together at one time, let alone all 6 so I felt lucky to be chatting with Manuel Loazada of Numanthia, Nicholas Audebert of Cheval des Andes and Ian Morden of Cloudy Bay, all 3, Chief Winemakers for their respective estates. The Ultimate Box Collection was designed by Argentine artist Pablo Reinoso and is a handsome, handcrafted wooden jewel box designed to showcase the flagship bottles from each of the wineries from its Estates and Wines portfolio which are: Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Cloudy Bay’s Te Koko, Cheval des Andes, Newton’s The Puzzle, Numanthia’s Termanthia and Terrazas de los Andes’ Afincado Malbec. The box was created in part to respond to the growing consumer demand for Super Premium New World wines. Why would Moet Hennessey put together such a box and launch it now, I asked Manuel. Well, now is as good as time as any, he replied. And besides, if they waited to get all 6 winemakers together in one place, it would never happen. I had a brief chat with the 3 to see what they thought of the whole Collection concept… The Ultimate Collection Box is available from Harrod’s and at a suggested retail price of £500 so start saving those pennies… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Food and wine match, 7 Springs Sauvignon Blanc & chicken with roast lemon

I’ve always loved to cook but since I’ve fallen in with all these London food bloggers who cook and review restaurants, I’ve gotten a bit shy about my cooking abilities, so to speak. I do, however, know how to cook and although I might not make very exotic or time intensive recipes, it usually comes out pretty darn tasty. At least my flatmate, Giordi, likes my cooking. Score one for The Winesleuth. So, when I got an invitation to take part in the latest contest to contribute a recipe, I thought I’d enter. Being The Winesleuth, of course, I had to find a wine to pair with whatever I cooked. Usually, when I decide to cook, I look at what wines I have to hand first and then think about what to cook that will go with it. So it was, one Saturday afternoon, I had a look at my wine rack and spied a bottle of the 7 Springs 2010 Sauvignon blanc from South Africa. I had tried the wine about 5 months ago and enjoyed it very much so I was curious to see how or if it had changed. When I had first tried it, I thought with it’s fresh,crispy, citrus character, this wine would probably go well with chicken in some form. So I yelled up the stairs to Giordi, “Hey, do you fancy chicken for dinner tonight?” I heard some sort of agreement and fired up the laptop. I don’t have any cookbooks but I do have the web and found a recipe from an American magazine, Bon Appetite for Chicken with Roast Lemons, Green olives and capers. A very simple recipe that can be made in less then hour, this dish was fantastic. I had to tweak the recipe a little bit as the local Turkish shop only had Turkish olives marinated in lemon (the recipe calls for green Sicilian olives) but the dish came out fantastically. Very tasty and tender chicken and the flavour the roast...

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Fairtrade supper and wines

Fairtrade fortnight is here and as a fair minded person, The Winesleuth is going to be doing her best to find out more about the Fair Trade wine business. I got a taste of it a few weeks ago at the Friday Food Club‘s inspired Fairtrade Dinner, making an entire meal with Fairtrade inspired menu. Lee Behan is the fellow behind Friday Food club and it’s him who you will find most likely in the kitchen, although FFC does occasionally have guest chefs at the helm. For this special FFC Fairtrade Dinner, Lee had teamed up with the Modern Pantry‘s Anna Hansen to cook up a Fairtrade meal with a Modern Pantry spin to it. Lee and Anna served up a delicious starter of Spiced Burford Brown Hen Scotch Egg with yuzu tomato chutney, green pea curry and chilled curry paste. A very tasty, spicy scotch egg tempered by the sweetness of the yuzu tomato chutney. Of course Fairtrade wines were in abundance and we had a South African Sauvigon Blanc, the 2010 Percheron from Stellenbosch paired with the egg. The wine was ok but I found it to be a bit too nettle-y and it had a rather stark finish to it. Others around the table enjoyed it but I thought it was a little bit too acidic and had a bitter lemon finish, not quite balanced, almost but not quite. The wine that I did like was the red that was served with the main of Loin of Venison served with chestnut and nutmeg puree, pomegranate & rhubarb jelly and slow roast grape jus. The Los Unidos 2010 Fairtrade Carmenere/Cabernet Franc from the Central Valley of Chile. A robust red, slightly confected on the nose but showing good structure and plenty of red and black fruits on the palate. It was a good wine to with the venison, the tannins not too harsh, and the wine finishing on a spicy note. I quite enjoyed it, the only thing I found disagreeable was...

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Kaapzicht pinotage at a South African braai

During the recent World Cup fervor I attended a good old-fashioned South African braai sponsored by the Wines of South Africa at the Orangery in Kew Gardens. I’ve recently become a bit of a convert to South African wines and will even drink, *gasp* pinotage. However, it can’t be any pinotage, I do have my standards you know, and it has to be a pinotage with some age on it. I’ve found that pinotages that are from 2007 or older show much better then the young ones. Young pinotages often have that smokey, burnt, pongy quality that put me off of them in the first place and I think they need a few years to mellow out into a more drinkable wine. There were a variety of South Africa’s finest on show, both red and white but the one that took my fancy was the 2007 Kaapzicht  pinotage. Kaapzicht means “cape view” and the vineyards are situated in the shadow of Table Mountain in the Stellenbosh wine region of South Africa. The winery is in the Bottelary Hills of Stollenbosch and benefits from an ideal climate to grow grapes as well as cool sea breezes and north-west facing slopes. The vines that the Kaapzicht pinotage comes from are gnarled old vines that produce low yielding intensely concentrated red wines. The 2007 pinotage was a hugely enjoyable wine. I have to admit, I found it hard to believe that it was a pinotage at first as it was not smokey or burnt but rather fresh and full of very ripe berry fruit on the nose and palate. It had some lovely toasty notes to it, reminiscent of cedar box and tobacco. At the braii, we had ostrich burgers and other exotic meats and I found this wine to be the best match to go with all those exotic meats. I’d never had ostrich before so it was a new experience for me. Not gamey but not steaky, I’m not sure how to describe it other...

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