Yesterday’s wine tasting in Napier. Including superb wine created from Italian Sangiovese grapes by Skipskop Wines from Napier.
No I’m not going to taste it; just let it mature for a few years. Well that’s what I do with quality wines. Recently I wrote a review about Le Neuf Papesch of this South African wine cellar and I had critics from …. the wine critics who make a living out of drinking/tasting wine and write about it. There are quite a few of them I found out. I received 13 emails (what a number!); two of them asking if I could please withdraw my review from the internet. Others found it of bad taste to inform readers about a simple method of distinguishing qualities; as it’s a secret amongst that particular profession. One (from South Africa) found the review ‘intriguing’ and from the UK I got the remark I was “too honest” …. The French ‘Vigneron’ (wine-maker’) with over 300,000 followers (re-)tweeted the link several times and French tweeting about South African wines ….. that’s quite something; I feel obliged.
In the meantime I acquired a second bottle for my collection from Fraai Uitzicht. This time a Syrah. Now I also want to have their Merlot, Viognier and Grenache…
The wines are not cheap and one cannot expect that real quality is cheap. These are wines for special occasions including a dinner or lunch at the restaurant of Fraai Uitzicht that has so many awards that the owners lost count. The wines (if in stock) are also online available. For Europeans: The wines are distributed from Germany.
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:
Roger Williams from Cape Town is well known around the globe with many international accolades. In South Africa he is just ‘known’ …….. here and there.
Last weekend I witnessed Roger and his assistant Nick here in the village engaged in a wall painting. Not finished yet (see last picture) but you can see the finished wall from October onwards when tasting wine in the new tasting room in a winery/restaurant (name is mentioned in the last image). As you can see the ghost comes out of the bottle.
They call it a ‘slave wall’ but I do not know the exact meaning. Is it a wall build by slaves or a wall to keep the slaves in? Or both?
A winery nearby, situated on an estate with the remains of century (centuries?) old buildings decided to do something about the entrance. Plenty of limestone rocks around and with the heritage in mind what better idea is there than build a ‘slave wall’?
Hard work for the own staff and a contractor but the end result is getting shape. In contrast with the days of old they now had the assistance of machinery (digger loader) to transport the rocks but still manual work was needed to put the heavy rocks in the right place. The wall on the right side of the entrance is nicely in-line with with the natural rockery. On the other (village) side the winery should take out some of the blue gum trees for better visability from the road but that’s just a personal opinion. And who am I?
The own horticulturist already started to plant native water wise plants.
Hopefully Springfontein Winery also changes the sign; by the looks of it it’s open for wine tasting day and night….. When I came in there was nobody to see ….
P.S. the second picture (HDR-toning) is dedicated to the best Chef of Durban. Besides good (spicy) food Andrew Harvard likes to photograph dishes, people eating and some hot spots in and around Durban. And you can all follow this on his blog!