Wine for breakfast – day 2 in South Africa
Ever wanted to know more about the wines and wine producers of South Africa? Paul Hopkins and Tony Dodds, from the MMI wine team, are on a whistle-stop tour this week. Read their reports here on the Grapevine site where they’ll be taking you inside the wineries and sharing their impressions (and a few other things besides!)
Day two am – Monday 13th June
We couldn’t have hoped for a better day. The weather was absolutely stunning with brilliant blue skies, a warming sun and a crispness in the air that gave a fresh glow to our cheeks.
On the way up to our first winery, our minivan tested its brakes on the freeway as we hit a fog patch sufficiently enough for Tony and me to be distracted from our scenery gazing and to be grateful that we were not driving today. Our driver ‘Freddie’ was a seasoned pro, and having driven clients around the Cape for the last 30 years he seemed to know every nook and cranny that Stellenbosch had to offer. Great job Freddie.
On any wine trip it’s vital to eat, and this trip started in exactly that way with an English breakfast at JC Le Roux matched, of course, with their finest sparkling wines. This was a relatively small tasting of four different styles of sparkling with four different levels of residual sugars and as we headed into our discussions and our tasting, the clock on the wall stuck the hour mark. It was 9am.
Bergkelder the home of Fleur du Cap was our next stop and after a brief tour of the facility we had our second tasting of the day in a slightly chilly but beautifully-styled traditional cellar with hand-crafted barrels and just the right about of cobweb and dust to make the place authentic. The pick of the standard range of wines for me at this tasting was the Fleur du Cap unfiltered Chardonnay (16) and the unfiltered Merlot (16) but all of the wines looked great with the lowest score being a close 15.5 – talk about consistency. One final wine however, did take the tasting to another level and as the Laszlo was being poured from its super-heavy bottle we knew we were going to be experiencing a heavy-weight wine. We weren’t disappointed. The Laszlo 2006 had intense blueberry and violet fruits, hints of spice and bramble and an elegant finish that drifted on and on. A great wine, worthy of the Laszlo name (16.5).
Lunch was at The Big Easy and as the name suggests one of its owners is Ernie Els. The staff embraced this laid back approach with consummate ease and we were rarely troubled with any kind of service. It was just as well our hosts were so engaging.
To read more about the trip: