Drunk, Opinion, Rants, and Stories, Visited

Simple Pleasures at Post House Cellars

This article was originally published in Wine Tourism News – which subsequently shut down – so to give you a chance to read it, and because I can’t be asked in write anything new today I’m reposting here.

A short aside: I attended a lovely MCC exploration at The Roundhousew last night, held by Under the Influence guys. This weeks tasting was convened by the ebullient Fasie Malherbe, who expertly guided us through some delightful bubblies. My favourite of the night was the Steenberg Brut 1682 Pinot Noir 2006 whose luscious restraint (only the obtuse do not appreciate paradox) tickled more than my fancy let me tell you. Strawberry biscuits with a mousse as fine as silk, and some gamey notes which intrigued, made this a truly awesome glass of bubbles.

Anyway, on to Post House:

Wine farms that only have ‘tastings by appointment’ are often skipped in favour of those offering olives, menageries, cheeses, art galleries and the myriad of other activities presented to visitors. Post House Cellar, a boutique winery nestled in the foothills of the Helderberg, asks for appointments, and when I saw the fat, chunky old Chenin vines and the great view down to False Bay, I was pleased I’d already made one. Winery building

Their ‘tasting room’ is a simple cloth covered table just inside the entrance of a small cellar. The wines available for tasting, all but the flagship Penny Black, are laid out on the table which is positioned in front of three smallish stainless steel tanks with the rest of the building taken up by oak barrels of various age – thankfully few new barrels are to be seen.

The farm’s homestead used to function as a post office for the missionary community at nearby Raithby; an old red post box still stands outside the cellar. The name of the farm and wines reflect this history, with entry level wines the Bluish Black and Bluish White taking their names from stamp collecting terms. The Penny Black is the flagship red, and the forthcoming Noble Late Harvest will be named after the world’s most expensive stamp, the Tre Skilling yellow. The wine, thankfully, will be cheaper than its namesake, which was sold for $2,300,000.

Appointment-asking farms have a secret weapon when it comes to tastings. Instead of bored tasting assistants giving joyless rote descriptions of the wines, one generally finds that they are helped by someone intimately involved in the winemaking process. Kyle Zulch, assistant winemaker and owner Nick Gebers’ right-hand man, offered in-depth descriptions of the wines, from soil to vine to bottle, and was more than capable of answering our questions. This meant our tasting thankfully took a turn for the conversational, rather than the banal describe-pour-sniff-sip-spit exercise I’ve experienced all too often.

PostHouse

“Attention to detail is the philosophy,” explained Zulch. “Because we make wine in smaller quantities there is greater attention to detail, and while this is definitely more labour intensive, we believe we are producing a higher quality product.” The wines are hand-bottled, hand-corked, and hand-labelled; Zulch says he prefers this method to the “push a button and a wine pops out” approach to winemaking. The wines are made using wild yeasts and are unfiltered and unfined. Zulch says the farm strives for practises which ensure good bio diversity. Parasites are controlled biologically, preserving the natural habitat pennyaround the farm.

  The wines were of a high standard, and though the serious ones would benefit from a bit of bottle age, they all were approachable. The Bluish White 08, a Chenin Sauvignon Blanc blend is crisp and inviting – take it to the beach. A Shiraz, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot mix, the Bluish Black gives meaty richness, spicy dark fruit and easy going tannins.

The Chenin Blanc 2008 is wonderfully gratifying even now, despite it having a good future ahead. Citrusy scents mingled with a bit of spicy wax and candy floss greet the nose, which marries well with the full rounded palate of pineapple, minerals and a hint of sweetness. A Chenin I’d take home to meet the folks.

The inky Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 is quite ballsy at the moment with lead pencil and jasmine on the nose, ripe fruit on the palate, and a flowing finish supported by chewy tannins. This Cabernet grips your hand like a vice and stares you straight in the eye when saying hello, but you could trust it with your fine china, although maybe not your daughter.

The Merlot 2006 was robust with dark fruit on the nose and a whiff of aniseed. The juicy ripe blackberry goes well with the balanced oak; good structure and fine tannins result in an impressive wine

We were lucky enough to also sneak a taste of the Noble Late Harvest from the barrel – watch out, this could be a cracker. The tasting costs R25 per person, but the fee is waived if any purchases are made.

On top of the rustic natural winemaking, the farm also offers bed and breakfast accommodation with two en-suite rooms, The Rose Room and the Lavender Room. A full Post House tasting as well as a continental breakfast is presented to all guests.

While the tasting room may be expanded in the future so that more people may experience their wine, Zulch assured us that the traditional methods used to create the wine will be the same “for years to come.”

Guest House bookings: E-Mail: tracy@posthousewines.co.za

Tel: (27) 21 842 2409

(Since the writing of this piece Kyle has moved on from Post House to join the team at Signal Hill. Next time I see him I’ll get a report on how that’s going. And as it will not be destined for the  staid pages of the extinct WTN, but rather the far more wild and woolly arena of teh internets, it will have a lot more spice. Also the Treyskilling Yellow has been released, as well as a straight Sauvignon Blanc, and a Pinotage called The Missing Virgin. I haven’t tasted these yet but will try to hook up a few bottles next week )

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