Last night I was invited to attend the Women of wine event at Asara Wine Estate and Hotel where a group of 20 women were entertained in the red wine barrel cellar.
The event started out with a selection of canapés made by Asara’s chef which was followed by a tasting of seven of Asara’s wines. The tasting was conducted by Tanja-Marie Goedhart the Assistant Winemaker at Asara as Winemaker Francois Joubert was in Durban promoting the brand at the Mercury Wine Festival.
The barrel cellar at Asara is a spectacular venue which has a high ceiling and no less than five chandeliers. Asara used the Women in Wine event as a trial run for future events, deemed the ‘long table’ to be held in the cellar.
The seven wines which we tasted were:
2010 Asara Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Asara Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc
2011 Asara Chardonnay Unwooded
2010 Asara Chardonnay Reserve
2009 Asara Merlot
2009 Asara Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Asara Bell Tower
The Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc was described by Tanja-Marie as the “jewel of Asara” and has a clarity of colour which is almost straw-like with no hint of pink to belie the Blanc de Noir origin of the wine.
The Bell Tower is also a very unusual Bordeaux blend as it is Malbec driven rather than the more widely occurring Cabernet Sauvignon driven.
The tasting was followed by a wonderful spread as catered by Stellenbosch’s own Delicately Different.
Please click here to view pictures from the event.
This article was first published as a blog post on WINE.CO.ZA, please click here to see the original article.
Posted in Wine
Carla van der Merwe ventured off the beaten track last weekend to visit the Breedekloof Valley, as they presented their annual ‘Soetes and Soup’ festival. The structure of the event was fairly simple with the cost of a wine pass being only R15. The pass included a ‘Soetes and Soup’ branded enamel mug and coupons for a free portion of soup at each of the twelve participating wine estates.
I decided to take two willing adventurers, Francois Joubert (winemaker at Asara Wine Estate and Hotel) and Alexandra McFarlane (assistant to Mulderbosch Vineyards’ winemaker), along to sample the Breedekloof Valley’s offerings and to help determine the best cup of soup. With a bit of a winter chill in the air we set about our mission, arriving at our first port of call a little after 10am.
Our first stop was Du Toitskloof Wine Cellar where we purchased our passes and promptly presented our mugs for a sampling of their vegetable soup. The Vegetable soup consisted of cauliflower, carrots and a few other winter veggies with a decent helping of cream added for good measure. Alex commented that the soup was “scrumptious” and Francois added that it was “creamy with a good consistency”. The wine pairing at Du Toitskloof was their 2010 Hanepoot Jerepigo.
Next on our route was Badsberg Wine Cellar where we were greeted by extremely friendly staff who exchanged our dirty mugs with fresh new mugs filled with Mushroom and Port soup. Both Alex and Francois complained that the soup was too salty but as a big fan of salt I found the soup just salty enough. The wine pairing with the Port based soup was the Badsberg Vintage Port 2005.
Further up the same road we continued until we found Slanghoek Cellar who generously filled our cups with Biltong and Blue cheese soup which went down very well, with Francois praising the soup as “great, with perfect consistency and clearly defined flavours of both the biltong and blue cheese”. There was also a bread basket available with toasted baguette slices. The wine pairing they offered was their Slanghoek Crème de Chenin 2009.
Our next stop was Opstal Estate where the ambient music by “Kaleidoskoop” urged us to take our seats and stay for a while and enjoy the breathtaking view of the valley. We leisurely sipped on our Roasted red pepper and Tomato soup which had an acquired taste and was a bit of a change from the three previous cream based offerings. There was unfortunately no definitive wine pairing offered to us but I can definitely recommend their Opstal Hanepoot 2008.
Our last stop of the day was at Deetlefs Estate where we had to wait a bit for a helping of soup as it was midday already and most of the festival goers were gearing up for lunch time and the rugby match. The Vegetable and Meat soup was well worth the wait though as it reminded both Francois and me of the way our mothers used to make it at home. The wine pairing was also not as clearly indicated as some of the previous farms but their as yet unreleased Deetlefs Soet Hanepoot 2009 was a nice winter warmer.
After much deliberation and tallying the scores (with some bonus points added here and there for overall experience) we managed to pick our favourite soup of the day. Having won by a landslide I’m proud to announce that the team at Du Toitskloof produced the winning recipe with their creamy vegetable soup.
If you missed the ‘Soetes and Soup’ festival this time round, then make sure you try and visit the Breedekloof Valley in October for their adventurous Outdoor and Wine festival. For more information visit their website at www.breedekloof.com.
This article was first published on WINE.CO.ZA, please click here to see the original article.
Posted in Festivals, Food, Wine
Tagged 'Soetes and Soup' festival, Alexandra McFarlane, Asara, Badsberg Wine Cellar, Breedekloof Valley, Deetlefs Estate, Du Toitskloof Wine Cellar, Francois Joubert, Mulderbosch Vineyards, Opstal Estate, Slanghoek Cellar
The spicy and fruit filled notes often found in a Shiraz makes it the perfect wine to market to countries such as India and China where most dishes are of a spicy nature.
Australian Shiraz’s are already very popular in the East and with a similar climate and ripening period, South African wineries should grab at the opportunity to market their wines to both India and China.
I found four Shiraz’s that would be perfectly suited to an Indian curry or great Chinese food, the nominees are:
Kleine Zalze Family Shiraz 2006
With its blackcurrant, spice and ripe fruit flavours on the nose and intense, spicy plum and dark fruit flavours on the palate, this wine is a perfect companion to Indian or Chinese Cuisine.
Grande Provence Shiraz 2007
With a complex and powerful nose of white pepper and coriander and a palate that is concentrated and balanced with plenty of lush, dark fruit, sweet vanilla and spice makes this a beautiful example of South African Shiraz.
Asara Shiraz 2007
The cherry and blackberry fruit aromas that complement the spicy wood flavours on the palate and hints of cigar box smokiness on the nose make this a flavouful and affordable Shiraz to pair with your next spicy meal.
Circumstance Shiraz 2007
Waterkloof’s elegant Shiraz shows pure aromas of red berries, violets and spices, enriched with a hint of cocoa. This cool climate Shiraz is a subtle and elegant wine that will pair well with a Chinese slightly spiced dish.