This was supposed to be finished last week. But planning trips to Europe, dealing with hungry tourists and catching up on the practical side of wine blogging (drinking) got in the way. I will try to get the last two parts of my weekend of wine done before I leave for foreign vineyards. (I too late I am already here)
If you cast your mind down the page a little you will remember I left you just as we were leaving Waterford. Eamon had a little heart to heart with the driver which seemed to calm him down and left my thighs very much relieved.
Glenelly was the next stop. Bought in 2003 by May-Eliane de Lencquesaing from the Garlicks – who owned the Stellenbosch property for the previous 138 years – it is a rather grand place. The cellar, opened in 2009, is a four floored, 600 m² gravity-fed beomoth, housing (our estimate) around 10 million Rands worth of barrels.
The wines were very good. Tight and refined. My impulse is to say that Madame de Lencquesaing’s Bordeaux influence is obvious, but I feel that would be slightly disingenuous, as my knowledge of Bordeaux’s wine is limited at best, and have only tasted a little and none from Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. The wines were well balanced with the oak and fruit not at odds. The Chardonnay was precise with great balance between limey zing, and texture giving oak influence. These wines, in my very young and very ‘umble opinion are made to be drunk a few years after purchase. But thankfully this opinion was not arrived at by having by jaw beaten to a pulp by a 2×4 dipped in wine. The service was impeccable, the staff having an in-depth knowledge of the history, wines and workings of estate.
Since the place was quite quiet and we were charming, a little cellar tour was allowed. The place is amazing. Spotlessly clean, with nothing seeming out of place. Check out the website here for some of the features of the cellar or here for more details on its construction. Pretty freaking cool.
All impressed by Glenelly we got into the car gagging for a bite to eat. OK, well I was gagging. The driver obligingly drove us to our lunch destination the restaurant at Guardian Peak.
A very pleasant lunch despite the fact I chipped my tooth chomping down too vigorously on my grilled lamb loin with samp & beans and green peppercorn jus. I thought it was a fine plate of food, good lamb, and a lovely play of textures and flavours with the meat and samp & beans. But I was greeted with a big “oh come ‘ere, you must be fekking jokin” from Clare Mack who had the same meal. She said it was a little disappointing with the meat not being cooked evenly. We agreed that our differing opinions stemmed from me being too nice and far too hungry.
Bellies full, teeth somewhat altered and ready for our next farm we trundled just up the road to Ernie Els Wines.
I didn’t like any of the three wines I tasted. I found each one showed the alcohol too much resulting in a warm tingle in my throat and chest. They all seemed out of balance. I have described wines before as being like elephants doing ballet, a picture of how their force and weight are able to still be poised and balanced. Well these were like elephants with four left feet trying to do ballet on Ketamine.
When I find wines that I feel are poor, I know I need to taste them again, to make sure that it was the wines and not me. I’ll give the Ernie Els wines another go, but until then what comes to mind when thinking back on these wines is oak, alcohol, ripe, oak and alcohol. Burn baby, burn.
The most amusing part of the visit was an older local lady coming up to the counter to return her tasting glass and telling us loudly, with a slight grimace, that these wines were not very good and we should try somewhere else. The tasting assistant didn’t know where to look. Giggles all round.
Our final stop of the day was all the way out toward Somerset West at Waterkloof. The second visually impressive cellar of the day. This one juts out lording itself over the valley and False Bay below. Service was excellent here, with apprentice winemaker Alex McFarlane presenting the tasting. All of the wines we tasted were good. I was most taken with their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc its gentle oaking (40% was fermented in old 400l barrels) and extended lees contact gave the wine a luxurious texture that is stopped from being foppish (sorry, from my notes) by its zippy acidity and flinty core. Serious and poised. *tips hat*.
The Syrah was also good – quite young and still in its shell – it had a lovely intense black cherry flavour on the palate with a gravelly texture. Not quite elegant, but definitely refined. Guess I need to qualify that: the fruit is still quite upfront and robust but the silky tannins give it a tailored feel. Kind of like me in a good suit.
The restaurant was closed, but it is somewhere I could have lunch at very easily. The views over false bay are immense, I can imagine a long lazy lunch with a few bottles of the Sauvignon Blanc being decidedly ball-ticklingly pleasurable.
That was it for our GWC Bloggers Tour. Conclusions? There were too many overdone wines, the word spoofalated comes to mind, but on the whole the service was good, and there were no major issues. Good times were had by all, but I can’t give all the credit to the farms for that, we would of had a good day if all we had to drink was Obikwa Shiraz and fed salt biscuit; that’s just the type of people we are.
I have to apologise for any glaring editing errors here. I have edited this on a phone. The briliant Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini (more on that later) is not the problem, I just don’t have the patience for it. Also This was a tad rushed to get out, not a very good excuse for a drop in quality, but there it is.