Swart­land street party

Strict cri­te­ria make wines from this re­gion dis­tinc­tive and worth sam­pling tabletop

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

AN EL­E­MENT of sus­pense height­ens an­tic­i­pa­tion when con­fronted with wines pro­duced by Swart­land In­de­pen­dent mem­bers. Be­fore the corks are pulled, read­ing the la­bels sets the scene for the ad­ven­ture ahead, as in­for­ma­tion shared serves to in­trigue.

Take the la­bel that tells you that his Muskel­jaatkat 2011 is a blend of “old cin­saut and gre­nache bush vines”, just “589 bot­tles “pro­duced from “a har­vest to be re­mem­bered by the at­tack of the Muskel­jaatkat, Genetta genetta and their taste for free-range farm chick­ens. It was also a a year for the mak­ing of some pretty de­cent wines.”

So states Jasper Wick­ens on the back la­bel, and I was able to un­earth more: that this once-off la­bel is nearly sold-out and sells for R95. The genet that was dec­i­mat­ing Wick­ens’s poul­try was caught in the act and now re­sides, stuffed, in the of­fice of Baden­horst Fam­ily Wines for whom Wichens makes wine. He will also pour his new chenin at the Swart­land In­de­pen­dent Street Party next weekend.

Chenin is, with shiraz, a ma­jor role player in th­ese Swart­land In­de­pen­dent wines: In­tel­lego 2012 re­veals lit­tle on its sim­ple la­bels, but the stylised scales hint at garag­iste Jur­gen Gouws’s am­bi­tion of mak­ing a com­plex chenin that bal­ances min­er­al­ity and sub­tle wood with crisp fruit. He makes his wines at Lam­mer­shoek, which I rated mostly highly for el­e­gance among my sam­ples: its Roulette Blanc 2010 is a de­li­cious blend of 41 per­cent chenin, 37 per­cent chardon­nay and 18 per­cent viog­nier, fin­ished with clairette blanche. They were sourced from old bush vines rang­ing from 15 to 45 years, or­gan­i­cally farmed. Aged in old French oak for 12 months, fruit and honey pre­cede min­er­al­ity and this Rhone-style blend will con­tinue to im­prove.

David and Na­dia Sadie opt for for­mal la­bels: the front of their 2012 chenin blanc re­veals lit­tle be­yond the name David, made from ma­ture bush vines from Kas­teel­berg, Paarde­berg moun­tain and oth­ers from the west of Malmes­bury. This In­de­pen­dent cham­pion is among those nom­i­nated for Din­ers’ Club Young Wine­maker of the Year and, along with his ex­cel­lent chenin, he is re­leas­ing a gre­nache, white and red blends this year.

A maiden col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Dean Thomp­son and Roger Clay­ton is the 2mile2, a suc­cu­lent 2011 syrah pro­duced from or­gan­i­cally grown grapes, aged for 18 months in third­fill French oak. They rec­om­mend open­ing it ahead of serv­ing with red meat and cheese. They will also re­lease a chenin and a pino­tage at the street party.

From a lit­tle win­ery in the Kor­ing­berg comes Velored, a 2011 red blend from Wilde­hurst Wines, star­ring just over half gre­nache, 40 per­cent shiraz and fin­ished with viog­nier – an In­de­pen­dent star of great char­ac­ter which can be tasted at The Wine Kol­lec­tive in RiebeekKas­teel.

This half-dozen of­fers a glimpse of the qual­ity and range pro­duced by th­ese in­no­va­tive wine­mak­ers. Mem­bers, all of whom aim to make wine that presents a true ex­pres­sion of their large re­gion, agree to a num­ber of con­di­tions.

The grapes must come from the Swart­land, and the wine vini­fied, ma­tured and bot­tled there. In­oc­u­lated yeast can­not be used, wines are not acid­ifed, con­tain no added tan­nin and are not chem­i­cally fined. New wood may not form more than 25 per­cent of the casks used, and the lat­ter has to be Euro­pean oak. Unan­nounced checks done in cel­lars and of bot­tled wine help to en­sure the rules are ad­hered to.

Chair­man Chris Mullineux in­vites wine-lovers to the Swart­land In­de­pen­dent Street Party next week to dis­cover wines that are unique – many of which are un­ob­tain­able any­where but at an out­let in Riebeek-Kas­teel. Chris and his wife, An­drea, have just ex­panded their op­er­a­tion’s name to Mullineux Fam­ily and Leeu Wines.

● The Swart­land In­de­pen­dent Street Party takes place on Novem­ber 9, from 3 to 6pm at Short Street Square in Riebeek-Kas­teel. Tick­ets cost R100 and in­clude a glass and tast­ings. Buy at the door or through www.webtick­ets.co.za.

PIC­TURE: TRACEY ADAMS

TOP­PING GOOD TIME: Tobago’s barman Hein­rich la Meyer with the Pas­sion­ate and Mint Daiquiri.

PLAIN OF PLENTY: Take the wind­ing road to Riebeek-Kas­teel next weekend to at­tend the Swart­land In­de­pen­dent Street Party and un­earth wines like no oth­ers.

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