Wine tasting with a difference

As a member of a wine tasting group that has been severely hampered in its activities by lockdown (as have the wine farms), we have become quite creative in maintaining a lifestyle that hopefully will return to its previous conviviality in the near future. While the alcohol ban was still in place, a few of us planned a home tasting which turned out to be one of the most enjoyable to date!

The setting was on the reed-lined banks of Zandvlei, with views across the valley to the mountains from Table Mountain to Constantiaberg. Ducks and moorhens paddled sedately by, an African Swamp Hen poked around in the reeds (a splash of colour in a drab background) and small garden birds flitted in the boughs above. The fresh southeaster passed unnoticed in the shelter of the shrubbery, and a table laden with brie and grape crostini, an array of cheeses, homemade pâtés and crudités rivalled any repast available at a wine farm.

Our first tasting was an Alvi’s Drift Chenin Blanc, from the Worcester region on the Villiersdorp road. Crisp and fruity without any acidity, we all agreed that a visit to the farm was a must, particularly for the scenic drive that would round off a resumption of the group’s activities in a very satisfying way.

The next offering was a test of storage requirements. The wine was a 2008 Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir, and had not been stored at a sufficiently cool temperature, which presumably resulted in it becoming undrinkable. What a terrible waste and a lesson to us all not to be casual in storing such treasures under unfavourable conditions. I think it has happened to us all.

Number 3 was a 2013 Arendsig Inspirational Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from a single vineyard and bearing the mark of Tim Atkin MW (a 90), vinification by Lourens van der Westhuizen with minimal interference (hand-picked and de-stalked, etc.). It more than matched all expectations, and was declared Wine of the Day!

A late entry appeared in an unlabelled bottle – an unknown Cab Franc – good colour, legs and nose (sounds a little like a thoroughbred), with toffee overtones. Softened after breathing and an excellent choice if only we knew where to get it!

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