El­e­gant va­ri­etal brought back from brink of death

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - CHEERS! - GEORGIO MELETIOU

IT’S BEEN de­scribed by many as volup­tuous and mys­te­ri­ous and if chardon­nay was the queen of white va­ri­etals, then viog­nier would cer­tainly be the first princess.

As with most va­ri­etals, the ori­gin of viog­nier is un­sure. It is pre­sumed to have orig­i­nated in Croa­tia and then been brought to the Rhone by the Ro­mans.

Around 1965 this grape was al­most ex­tinct; there were ap­prox­i­mately only 3.5 hectares planted in Rhone’s north, pro­duc­ing un­der 2 000 litres of wine.

Last year there were just over 800 hectares of viog­nier planted just in South Africa. There are a hand­ful of es­tates pro­duc­ing a 100% viog­nier, but it can also play a role in blends.

The colour and the aroma of the wine would sug­gest it’s sweet; how­ever it is pre­dom­i­nantly made in a dry style. This aro­matic va­ri­etal has a sim­i­lar weight­i­ness to chardon­nay and can be pro­duced in a wooded or un-wooded style.

My three fine ex­am­ples of viog­nier:

Beau Con­stan­tia is one of the youngest prop­er­ties on the Con­stan­tia Wine Route, owned by the DuPreez fam­ily since 2002.

The Beau Con­stan­tia range is the ul­tra pre­mium se­lec­tion of the prop­erty and pro­duced in re­ally small quan­ti­ties.

The tal­ented wine­maker,

Justin van Wyk, has pro­duced an ex­quis­ite 2017 viog­nier from 14-year-old vines. I feel viog­nier shows its true char­ac­ter­is­tics with vines that are over 10 years old.

There are ex­otic orange blos­soms, white peach and ripe apri­cots on the nose­and on the palate, im­plau­si­ble rich­ness and good acid­ity bal­ance, which makes this a beau­ti­ful food-pair­ing wine. Spicy peri-peri prawns, chicken marsala are dishes that come to mind. A real show stop­per. – R210.

This pri­vately owned prop­erty at the foot of Ta­ble Moun­tain has in re­cent years gained a rep­u­ta­tion for its beauty and its award win­ning wines.

Wine­maker Du­ran Corn­hill, un­der the guid­ance of Martin Mein­ert, has pro­duced this ex­cep­tional ter­roir-driven 2016 viog­nier.

The grapes come from 14-yearold vines with con­trolled low yields pro­duc­ing beau­ti­ful aro­matic ber­ries.

Hints of man­darin skin, peach blos­som and white pear are pre­dom­i­nant on the nose. Pos­i­tive fresh­ness and good acid­ity sug­gests longevity. Great wood in­te­gra­tion al­lows the grape to show off its fruity el­e­gant flavours. It would com­ple­ment spicy curry dishes like rista, chicken chet­ti­nad and laal maas. This wine is able to han­dle spices like gin­ger and co­rian­der well. A spe­cial wine. – R165

On the slopes of the Helder­berg Moun­tains lies this beau­ti­ful es­tate, sur­rounded by 4 000 hectares of for­est, fyn­bos, fruit or­chards and per­fectly man­i­cured vine­yards.

With Hannes Nel as cel­lar mas­ter and Ti­mothy Wit­booi as wine­maker, there is no need to ex­plain why Lourens­ford has been pro­duc­ing award-win­ning wines for some time now.

Last year was the dri­est in

100 years of recorded his­tory at Louren­ford, pro­duc­ing smaller, more con­cen­trated ber­ries which ripened ex­tremely early. This re­sulted re­fined and el­e­gant wines with slightly lower than nor­mal al­co­hols com­pared to other har­vests.

This wine is per­fumed with won­der­ful aro­mas of jas­mine, laven­der, grape­fruit and hints of dried apri­cots. On the palate there is an abun­dance of quince flavours com­ple­mented with hints of nut­meg, gin­ger and vanilla.

Lourens­ford Lim­ited Re­lease viog­nier 2016 will com­ple­ment most In­dian dishes such as, ko­rma, biryani and tra­di­tional South African bobotie.

Al­though this wine is drink­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well now it could age for at least an­other 4-5 years. Ex­cep­tional. – R155.

Meletiou is re­gional som­me­lier at the Tsogo Sun.

Lourens­ford Lim­ited Re­lease viog­nier 2016, Beau Con­stan­tia Ce­cily 2017 and Ea­gles’ Nest viog­nier 2016.

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