Pat­ter­son’s new range kicks sul­phur traces

Tabletop

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

SNEEZ­ING fits, itchy red eyes and blocked noses are enough to cope with. Add a skin rash to the list and life be­comes a bore. If you are among the many – and ap­par­ently ris­ing num­ber of – wine lovers who re­act badly to sul­phites in wine, my sym­pa­thy. This year, I was told, farm­ers dou­bled the quan­tity of sul­phur sprayed on to their vines be­cause of the un­usu­ally wet con­di­tions. A-tishoo to that.

What to do? Apart from tak­ing an­ti­his­tamines we could turn to cider, beer and spir­its for our aper­i­tif. That de­nies us the plea­sure of pair­ing su­perb ex­am­ples of the wine­mak­ers’ art to fine fare for a start. So we need wines that have had no sul­phur added dur­ing pro­duc­tion – hap­pily it takes min­i­mal de­tec­tive work to as­sem­ble a short list.

The choice in­creased last month when a new range, pro­duced on Le Lude farm in Fran­schhoek, was launched at Franck Dan­gereux’s Food­barn Restau­rant at No­ord­hoek. Each of five glo­ri­ous cour­ses was paired with one of Neil Pat­ter­son’s im­pres­sive la­bels, de­scribed as “SA’s first sul­phite-free range”. Pat­ter­son’s CV lists him as hav­ing worked cel­lars in Bordeaux, Tus­cany, Al­sace and Ar­magnac. Back home, he started wine­mak­ing with Ru­pert and Roth­schild, moved to An­thonij Ru­pert Wines, ris­ing to cel­lar­mas­ter in 2007.

As some­one him­self in­tol­er­ant of wines with a high sul­phite con­tent, Pat­ter­son spent many hours ex­per­i­ment­ing with ways of omit­ting its in­clu­sion with­out com­pro­mis­ing on qual­ity. He thought he had the an­swer, only to find that the tech­nique had al­ready been reg­is­tered as SurePure, de­scribed as a “global leader in liq­uid pho­top­u­rifi­ca­tion” and an eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive to pas­teuri­sa­tion and chem­i­cals. UV-C light is used to pu­rify liq­uids such as wine, fruit juice and milk.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em seemed the an­swer and Pat­ter­son joined SurePure as wine con­sul­tant last year, us­ing the sys­tem to pu­rify his maiden range. We started with his 2013 sau­vi­gnon blanc, pro­duced from a sin­gle Helder­berg vine­yard. In a word, it is stun­ning, pre­sent­ing an ex­cel­lent bal­ance be­tween trop­i­cal fruit and green flavours.

Af­ter that mo­men­tous start, our ta­ble was some­what let down by the chenin blanc 2012, another sin­gle vine­yard wine from, un­usu­ally, Fran­schhoek. Af­ter fer­men­ta­tion, it was aged in old French oak, and bot­tled af­ter 18 months. But, re­turn­ing to this wine af­ter an hour, the dif­fer­ence was as­ton­ish­ing: it had opened up to re­veal lay­ers of fruit and com­plex­ity, and a lit­tle vanilla. So do de­cant it ahead of serv­ing.

Con­stan­tia sup­plied Pat­ter­son’s mer­lot grapes, and this 2009 vin­tage proved two points – that it’s age­ing nicely and is al­ready a win­ner, com­plex, fruit-filled and fresh. Whites should sell for about R100 and reds for R145. Visit www. pat­ter­son­wine.com for de­tails.

Other wines listed as no-sul­phur- added in­clude the Stellar range, the Sadie Fam­ily’s Se­qui­llo and Pal­la­dius, Reyneke’s Cor­ner­stone, chenin blanc re­serve and sau­vi­gnon blanc, Jor­dan’s 2012 un­wooded mer­lot and two Cap Clas­siques: Si­mon­sig pinot noir Brut Rosé and Vil­liera’s Brut Nat­u­ral 2009. To fel­low- suf­fer­ers, best wishes for a happy Christ­mas en­hanced by vir­tu­ally sul­phur-free wines. To all, hope you have a won­der­ful fes­tive sea­son and that ev­ery wine un­corked or un­screwed ex­ceeds ex­pec­ta­tions.

SI­MON­SIG VINESCAPE: Their new brut rosé is a no-sul­phur-added bub­bly.

FRESH: Neil Pat­ter­son’s maiden range makes an im­pres­sive de­but.

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