My daughter called me this afternoon and asked how it feels to be in Africa. I told her that from where we are, we could be in Chile or Argentina and what we are seeing shatters any misconceptions we may have had. The wine area or as it is called here: the Winelands, is truly magnificent and does rank, in my opinion, as one of the top 3 most picturesque wine regions of the world.
We started the day at Kanonkop, the winery that first introduced pinotage to the world. Pinotage is a cross between cinsault and pinot noir and the winery specializes in red wines only. We were treated to a superb tour and tasting of 8 wines, including 3 verticals comparing older vintages with younger vintages. We had a pinotage rosé, their entry level Kadette ’12, followed by Pinotage ’06 and ’13, Cabernet ’04 and ’11 and Paul Sauer ’05 and ’11, a bordeaux blend of cab, merlot and cab. franc. We were impressed how the older vintages developed dramatic complexities and aromas compared to their younger versions.
Then we hopped over to Waterford with its picturesque setting and a tasting led by winemaker Kevin Arnold: Edition VSBC ’13, a white blend of viognier,sauv. blanc and chenin blanc; VRC ’13, a delicious blend of viognier, riesling and chardonnay (I bought a bottle); sauv. blanc ’09; riesling ’13; pinot noir ’13; 3BB ’09, a blend of cab, cab franc and merlot; the Jem ’10, a blend of 8 different grapes and their signature and most expensive wine; MB ’04, a blend of shiraz, mourvedre, petit verdot and barbera; and ending with the unctuous Family Reserve Heatherleigh n/v, a late harvest muscat.
We ended the day with lunch and a tour and tasting at the iconic Ken Forrester Estate. We were fortunate to meet Ken in person who literally was a rags to riches story. He started
the winery with no experience and no money and forged ahead with a drive and vision that unilaterally resurrected the stature of the chenin blanc. We tasted his Petit Chenin ’13 and Renegade ’11 Rhone blend with lunch and again at the tasting, in addition to the Old Vine chenin blanc ’13, Gypsy ’10 which is 100% grenache and his world famous- and judged best white wine in South Africa: FMC, a rich, long-lasting old vine chenin blanc that draws winemakers from the Loire Valley to improve their chenin blanc techniques.
That’s 24 wines today!!!