De Wetshof and Zandvliet are a few of the wine houses worthwhile for the connaisseur to visit in the Robertson Wine Valley (others are Fraai Uitzicht 1798, Graham Beck and Springfield).
This is one of those extreme rare occasions I write about wine. I learned to appreciate a good wine many, many years ago in some of the most renown French wine producing regions and then I’m not talking about the known French ‘Chateaux’ but about those small wine farms that mail order their wines (sometimes over several generations) to their wine-loving clientele throughout the own country. After 17 years in South Africa I finally discovered a red wine that surprised me. I’m not a red wine drinker, well… not in South Africa for the simple reason that most of the South African wine makers add extra sulphites (and sometimes even additional preservatives) on top of the natural sulphite content and that upsets my stomach. The wine I’m writing about is ‘Le Neuf Papesch’ (excusez le pun s’il vous plait) and is created by proprietor Karl-Uwe Papesch of ‘Fraai Uitzicht 1798‘ in the Robertson Wine Valley. This valley counts over 40 wine cellars of which De Wetshof and Graham Beck are internationally known for their mass produced quality wines. There are however also small ’boutique cellars’ that see the bulk of their (relatively small) produce go overseas but these are locally not always well promoted and that’s fine for experience learns that ‘Le vrai Connaisseur’ has a nose for these wineries. Fraai Uitzicht 1798 is a working farm with a 4 star guesthouse and a ‘highly acclaimed’ (what a cliché … but it is what it is) restaurant.
A few days ago friends of us from Europe got a few bottles of ‘Le Neuf Papesch’ when they came to stay with us. They got the wine at Fraai Uitzicht; the only place where you can get it within this country but it also seems online available in Germany. All bottles are individually numbered.
Now I first have to tell you something about wine tasting.There are a few simple rules: if you smell the wine as soon as the bottle is opened it’s an extreme poor quality (even though the taste is ‘smooth’); if you smell it when poured in the glass; have doubts but as soon as you have to stick your nose into the glass to discover the different fragrances it’s pure quality (even if it’s not your favourite taste). My experience with ‘Le Neuf Papesch’ is one of those rare occasions that I had to stick my nose deep into the glass to indulge my taste buds (yes I always taste wine with my nose); such a rich full bodied ‘palette’ with so many ‘hints’ that I relived my French wine tasting years. Now you might wonder which grape variety(/ies) Karl-Uwe Papesch used for this extra-ordinary wine. I invite you to discover that yourself.
A few notes of importance: Wine tasting is a personal experience; with other words what I like does not mean that you like it as well. Secondly: selling wine is like telling a story; many people who like the story also tend to like the wine even if it’s wine of poor quality ….
P.S. One of my friends asked me about the meaning of the hand (2nd picture). Here you can read about it:
I’m not a wine connaisseur; let me tell that first. But in 15 years living in wine producing areas in South Africa I learned how to distinguish a good quality wine (even if I don’t like the taste of it) from the lesser qualities. In the core it’s quite simple. The poorest quality is wine that you smell by only opening the bottle. Pretty sure you will have a hangover the next morning by drinking just one glass. Poor quality wines are those that you smell when these are poured in a glass.
A good quality wine is a wine that you can only smell by sticking your nose in the glass. And when drinking it the taste remains indulging your palate. The REAL connaisseur is able to distinguish the best of the good qualities and won’t even touch the lesser (poor) qualities.
Now we got a Pinotage (2013) of Orange River Cellars in the Northern Cape. I should have read the label better: ” …. with aromas of raspberries, blackcurrant and nutmeg jumping out of the glass” ….
Think we’re gonna give it away …. 😀
There are some great wine cellars in our village; not known to general public but the South Africa ‘connaisseur’ knows them. Ever tasted a Jackson Pinotage, a Vaalvlei Sauvignon Blanc or a Springfontein Chenin Blanc? Springfontein Winery (where these pictures are taken) is also one of the few cellars in South Africa that produces Verdot.