Two days with 4 wine visits: an easy pace with quality visits. One of the days had visits to LaMotte, owned by the daughter of the richest man in South Africa, Hanneli Rupert. As soon as you entered, you realized this was a winery of substance, with a restaurant, art
museum and a winery that produces 1 million bottles annually. We tasted the Pierneef Sauvignon blanc ’14 with 16 hours of skin contact and 5 months in oak, very fruit forward; Chardonnay ’13, the only estate wine (since they purchase grapes for the other wines) has a burgundian style and a very reasonable price of 110 rand, about $9. We are all amazed at the great values because of the favorable exchange rate; cabernet ’11, a 100% cab wine that has great varietal characteristics; Pierneef Syrah Viognier ’13, a wine inspired by the Cote Rotie where viognier is added to smooth out the spiciness of syrah. None of the wines is exported to the U.S.
Our lunch was at Boschendal, the 2nd largest winery in the country with an annual production of 3 million bottles. We tasted 9 wines: ’14 chardonnay; ’14 blanc de noirs; Le Bouquet ’14, a blend of 6 red grapes; ’13 Lanoy, a cab/merlot blend; ’13 shiraz, made in the Rhone style; Grand Cuvée brut ’04, a Cap Classique blend of pinot noir and chardonnay; Elgin Great White Blend chardonnay ’13; Elgin pinot noir ’12; and the Cyril John Reserve shiraz ’11. This was followed by a buffet lunch in the manor house with local dishes, a great chance to try bobotie.
The next day also had two visits; this is the day we transfer to our hotel in Constantia, The Vineyard. In Stellenbosch we stop for a great visit to DeToran, owned by Emil Den Dulk,
whom I had met in the States and who was very helpful in assisting with planning suggestions for our tour. DeToran only makes 80,000 bottles, but what gems. We started with La Jeunesse, a blend of 50% malbec and merlot & cab, a deep rosé; Z ’12, a blend of merlot 55%, cab 25% and the balance in cab franc and petit verdot. The wine hasn’t seen oxygen so Emil decants one hour before serving to allow it to open; Fusion V, a delicious blend predominantly cab (55%), with malbec, merlot and cab franc. We didn’t taste two new wines in his lineup: the Book 17, a bordeaux blend and the Black Lion, 100% shiraz; both these wines reflect the meticulous care given in the vineyard and the cellar. DeToran does everything meticulously: rows planted to allow the cool wind from the ocean to lower the temperature; blocks segregated by terroir with clones planted to optimize the soil; harvested grapes chilled in a refrigerated room to cool before fermenting; all new barrels with different toasts from different areas of the world to match the style of the individual vineyard sites. This is one class operation.
We had lunch at Jordan, a great restaurant in a wonderful winery. With lunch we had the Nine Yards ’13, a dead ringer for a great white Burgundy and the Cobblers Hill ’09, a cab/merlot blend that spent 24 months in oak. We each selected from the menu and I had the sweetbreads, springbok loin and the cheese course. Yummy!
We followed with a tasting of 6 Jordan wines: the Outlier sauvignon blanc ’14; Inspector Peringuey chenin blanc ’14; merlot ’12; the Prospector syrah ’13 ; the cab ’12; Mellifera late harvest riesling ’12. We used Platters as a guide, which is the South African version of the Tre Bicchieri in Italy. Jordan has received a stable of 4 and 4 1/2 star awards, out of a possible 5 stars. A gem of a winery.
By the way we also visited the prison where Mandela spent his last two years.