Sauvignon at its best
IN THE airy tasting room at Buitenverwachting, German, French and English could be heard as visitors questioned staff, swirled and sipped and swopped opinions.
Seated at a table, Lars Maack kept one eye on his two handsome ridgebacks which were stoically enduring close attention from two small girls. We were comparing the estate’s sauvignon blancs – the 2010, a Constantia classic with gooseberry and green citrus ahead of a dry finish, and the patrician Hussey’s Vlei, a single vineyard sauvignon of impressive quality.
Already showing a mineral core behind appealing aromatics, this is a wine that deserves to be allowed to mature for a few years, when it is sure to be sensational.
“We sell only the best sauvignon we produce,” said Maack, and that amounts to 20 percent of production. The rest finds its way into that perennial favourite, Buiten Blanc (R45), where about 80 percent sauvignon is blended with chenin, semillon and viognier.
Maack poured his caber net sauvignon 2006 and said: “This has opened up and is ready to drink, although it has not reached its peak yet.” It is a seamless combination of freshness and fruit, tannic backbone and subtle oak. While the 2007 vintage of Christine – the flagship blend of cab with cab franc and petit verdot – has just been released, it’s clear that he hopes consumers will hold it, or at least some of it, to let it reach its potential.
The estate’s 2010 sauvignon blanc, 2006 cab and irresistible muscat dessert 1769 were served at a memorable dinner in Munich last month. Organisers Diners’ Club had to persuade Lars to attend, as he had recently returned from a trip to Europe. Only when seated, noting his table companions sipping his wine, did the penny drop. He was presented with the Winzer des Jahres award, the first person outside Europe to win this award.
Back home, as custodian of this historic and beautiful estate, Maack can be proud of achievements in cellar, environmental practices and social upliftment. And the farm is a destination for all tastes and purses. Along with careful restoration of the manor house, old slave quarters and original wine cellar, modern structures house a state-of-the-art cellar and renowned restaurant, where chef Edgar Osojnik practises his brand of creative gastronomy.
His continental background is evident, even as he celebrates Asian trends and adds South African touches. Gourmets relish his nuptials menu where estate wine enhances starters such as steamed crayfish with yuzu foam and a shooter salad; and a main course of impala loin glazed with sour figs and sauced with rosehip jus.
Vegetarians have their own menu to savour. Among the imagi- native finales is braised quince on a speculaas cookie with vanilla pecan ice cream. This is the place to share the news that Buitenverwachting offers a superb grappa (made from sauvignon blanc skins) and an aromatic pear digestif.
Sunday lunch buffets with live jazz require booking, and the menu of starters, salads, main courses and side dishes, cakes and desserts is tempting and varied. Osojnik also offers a tapas selection from noon to 3pm. The menu is not limited to Spanish snacks, but offers mini portions of classics like fish and chips. Finally, picnics on the oak-fringed lawns are as popular as ever, and require early booking.
TIMELESS ELEGANCE: Buitenverwachting is in a beautiful setting and is a destination for all tastes and purses.