Peak of sat­is­fac­tion

This wineland desti­na­tion boasts a restau­rant and wines that’ll have you com­ing back for more table­top

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODDRINKING - MYRNA ROBINS

KLEINE Zalze is one of those wineland des­ti­na­tions I feel safe in rec­om­mend­ing to vis­i­tors from up­coun­try and abroad.

There is a wide range of wines, the qual­ity is con­sis­tent and the pric­ing is pleas­ing. Add to that a top-notch restau­rant with a sen­si­bly small menu and a chef who pro­duces trendy fare that’s good to look at and even bet­ter to eat.

The ser­vice at the tast­ing room and eatery is pro­fes­sional and friendly, adding up to a com­bi­na­tion that, un­sur­pris­ingly, at­tracts awards lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional.

I re­cently set­tled down to a tast­ing with wine­maker Jo­han Jou­bert who is as ded­i­cated a crafts­man as any I have met. He shows the same in­tense en­thu­si­asm whether he is de­scrib­ing his chenin, chardon­nay or sauvi­gnon blancs – or any of the cel­lar’s reds.

Kleine Zalze’s 2011 bush vine chenin (R35 at cel­lar door) is one of the bar­gains of the year: this consumer-friendly wine com­bines fresh­ness with loads of fruit, strength­ened by a min­eral core.

Grapes were sourced from vine­yards aged be­tween 25 and 64 years.

Step­ping up to the sec­ond tier, the Vine­yard Se­lec­tion 2010 bar­rel fer­mented chenin (R62) is a wine made to last, ma­tured in third, fourth and fifth fill oak. In­tense and rich in trop­i­cal fruit, it’s not too pow­er­ful to drink and en­joy.

We also sam­pled the 2005 chenin, am­ber liq­uid with mar­malade flavours, de­li­cious proof of age­ing po­ten­tial and the equally im­pres­sive 2008, avail­able from the farm at R62, which alone would be worth the trip.

From the top tier, don’t miss the 2010 sauvi­gnon blanc Fam­ily Re­serve, win­ner of the re­gional tro­phy for best SA sauvi­gnon at this year’s De­canter World Wine Awards. Grapes from Stel­len­bosch, Dar­ling, Dur­banville and Lutzville con­trib­ute a suc­ces­sion of green fig, asparagus, grassy and bell pep­per notes, with length pro­vided by Elim berries. There’s a very pleas­ant 2011 sauvi­gnon at R47 in the en­try range as well.

Chardon­nay fans should en­joy the 2010 wooded blend of Stellen- bosch and Robert­son grapes (R64) with dis­tinc­tive cit­rus and lime­stone. I could not stay for a ver­ti­cal tast­ing of Kleine Zalze cabs but sam­pled the gamay noir and its rosé: both make pleas­ing pic­nic part­ners at R40.

Fans of tele­vised food can look for­ward to see­ing chef Michael Broughton in ac­tion in 2012 as he cooks sea­sonal fare in a new se­ries from Cooked in Africa pro­duc­tions.

His restau­rant Ter­roir, across from the tast­ing room, is the ideal com­ple­ment to Kleine Zalze wines, and last month he re­ceived his sixth Top Ten Eat Out award. Ap­petis­ing use of sea­sonal and lo­cal ingredients is a hall­mark, as is con­sis­tent qual­ity. Start per­haps with his quail pie with ju­niper and orange sauce, fol­low with line­fish with le­mon herb crust, potato gnoc­chi and green asparagus, and fin­ish with a sub­lime straw­berry sun­dae.

Kleine Zalze marked its 15th an­niver­sary this year and part­ners Kobus Bas­son and Jan Malan must be well sat­is­fied with achieve­ments in wine and food. Wine­maker Jou­bert’s in­vi­ta­tion to join the Cape Wine­mak­ers’ Guild is per­sonal recog­ni­tion that nicely sup­ple­ments the many awards earned.

WELL-TENDED: Kleine Zalze vines at the foot of the Stel­len­bosch moun­tains.

GAS­TRO­NOMIC HOT SPOT: Ter­roir restau­rant at Kleine Zalze.

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