Finally the part of the journey that makes the skin tingle and the mouth salivate. Well, I guess its true if you are a wine buff or an alcoholic. Either way, let’s look at the wines.
Wine is a diverse indulgence. I do not object to viewing it as a living breathing animal, that engages with a drinker on many different levels. As such, each wine and each drinker generates a series of variables which differentiates wines and drinkers in exponential terms. What might be heaven to one, is madness to the other. It might be Mozart vs Eminem, or Gewurztraminer vs Cabernet.
We began the morning with a visit to Arabella, where we were fortunate enough to see the unveiling of two new wines, the Natural Sweet White being the finer of the two.
Next we attended an underground cellar tasting at Weltevrede estate with the wine maker as our host. As an event this was by far the most intimate and most educational experience. We were led through old wine compartments, which had been broken through to reveal a cement maze underneath the present winery. Philip Jonker, winemaker and heir to the Weltevrede estate, explained the Methode Cap Classique process in detail, belayed his passion for wine making and spoke about his experiences in France, all the while allowing the flickering candles and mystical atmosphere to add to the romanticism of wine.
From there we hopped from estate to estate until there was no more hopping left. There were so many wonderful wines to sample, from whites at Springfield, the delicate Blush at Bon Courage, to the dominant ruby red at Robertson. From a masterful Bonnievale Chardonnay, a deep and soulful Cab at Viljoensdrift, to a Cigarbox red at Weltevrede, and a brave Wolvendrift Red Muscadel.
We rounded off the day with a visit to Esona and Arendsig, where I spoke a bit with winemaker, Lourens, about his unique approach to viticulture. His isolated block farming method allows the winemaker to accentuate the power of the grape. He is a man who makes a call on instinct, and it is seldom a wrong call. From experience I can assure any collector that Arendsig wines mature fabulously!
Alas, here are the wines that ruled the day…
Bon Courage – White Muscadel
This dessert wine has a growing list of accolades. It is demanding in the mouth, yet subtle enough to help rounding off a meal. The Bon Courage signature is the lingering flavour. For some reason it made me think of a yellow honeysuckle flower.
Springfield Estate – Life from Stone
Rooted in quarts stone, this Sauvignon Blanc has a pleasant ruggedness on the tongue and a refreshing mineral aftertaste. The wine has a history in its design, something wild and concrete. A fascinating wine.
Weltevrede – Entheos Brut
Gray in flavour and subtle on the tongue, this Methode Cap Classique – Chardonnay Pinot Noir ultimately has a happy romantic electricity about it, and it is the embodiment of the Jonker family’s passion for wine making.
Arabella – In Unison Reserve
This is what red wine is all about! It is strong and full-bodied, aromatic and deep. Think of a ripe plum, so perfectly ripe that it might burst any second. Then imagine biting into it. Add a hint of oak and spice, and that’s what this wine tastes like on the pallet.
But the reigning champ, unrivalled among the plethora of wines on offer at the Wacky Wine Weekend could only be:
Bon Courage – Inkará Shiraz
“I don’t know how he does it,” I said, staring at the glass in disbelief, taste buds not sure what to do.
Bon Courage’s Shiraz and Cab offerings is more than just a personal favourite. It is a challenge of excellence. With every new harvest, I prepare myself so that I’m not stunned by the complexity of their reds. I challenge myself not to be impressed, but I lose every time. I don’t know how the winemaker does it. The smoky and sweet spice on the tongue with that chocolate coffee aroma was enough to impress. But the silky berry feeling afterwards is what makes one remember it.
And that is my humble breakdown of the best wines at the Wacky Wine!
Simply share your best wine experience as a comment on the blog or tweet it to @james_fouche or use #bestwackywine when you tweet. The prize is a box of Arabella wines. Entries open to folks living in South Africa. Please share the competition with friends.