Yesterday saw the Wine Appreciation Group back in the vineyards after an extensive absence due to lockdown regulations and a fair degree of caution. While not quite throwing that caution to the wind, we masked up and sanitized and entered the welcoming wine-tasting venue at Ken Forrester Wines on the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, the start of the extensive and explorable Stellenbosch Wine Route.
Ken Forrester bought the farm 27 years ago while still running his restaurant in Johannesburg. He moved down, restored the buildings and began his winemaking career, which has seen his chenins become leaders in the industry. The history of the farm was imparted in a charming, professional manner by Adri, and the enthusiastic Vuyo dispensed the wines with snippets of amusing information. A practised ear for accents and a slightly slower delivery would have enhanced the experience.
The Petit range which we tasted is palatable to excellent (depending on individual preferences!) and we were spoiled with extras from the upper tier FMC and Swartland, both of which would make a very welcome addition to the finest home cellar. As an infrequent imbiber, I love to spoil myself with the wines I really enjoy – I think that is the point of wine drinking, and so a splash out on a bottle of Swartland Chenin Blanc is something to look forward to. It’s rather like chocolate cake – if you’re going to eat it, it has to be the very best. Plates of savoury biscuits were on the table to munch between the tastings and went very well with the sticks of cheese I took along – I never leave the availability of a snack to chance!
I would recommend Ken Forrester Wines for a visit and further tastings of the higher tier wines to gain a complete picture of the skills of this fine winemaker! There is something to suit all palates and pockets, and the view across the vineyards to the imposing Helderberg nearby is the cherry on top!