Cellarmaster Takuan Von Arnim hosted an intimate media group at a tasting of the newest vintage from the Haute Cabrière cellar. It was a beautiful sunshiny day and a perfect setting for a light alfresco lunch. The stunning vistas of the Franschhoek Valley, South Africa’s gourmet capital, from the terrace enhanced the mood with good company and great wines.
The focus of attention was the release of the 2016 Chardonnay Pinot Noir and the 2016 Unwooded Pinot Noir. According to Vin Pro, the representative body of some 3500 wine producers and cellars, 2016 was a challenging vintage, characterised by low rainfall and abnormal heat resulting in lower yields.
Notwithstanding, Takuan says, ‘I’m delighted with the quality of fruit we harvested. The great advantage is that both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are early ripeners, so we avoid the heat and stress to the vines that occurs later in the harvest. Our grapes are also strategically planted on the estate and the magic of blending allows us to work with the very best parcels of fruit.’
The Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2016 has what I call a blushing pearl appearance. Takuan says the colour comes from the Pinot Noir pigmentation during crushing. The two cultivars are vinified separately and then blended according to Takuan’s tested magical formula. The wine is elegant and palate-pleasing with nuances of tropical fruit in perfect balance. It was delicious with the servings of shrimp and grilled kingklip, and would complement fruit skewers, salads and chicken dishes too.
The Haute Cabrière Unwooded Pinot Noir 2016 is a perfect partner with salads, pasta and roast lamb. The fresh ruby red colour is followed through by ripe berry aromas and clean concentrated essence of cherries. Takuan believes that the Unwooded Pinot Noir is a congenial introduction to red wines for those who have not yet found delight in the fermented juice of crimson grapes.
Personally I could happily enjoy both these wines entirely on their own, with some nibbles on the side and good friends to share. Wines made for South African geselligheid.
The soil composition around the mountain cellar is especially suited to the cultivation of Burgundian varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Takuan continues the commitment set by his father as current Cellarmaster and Production Director.
Opening times: Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00; Sat & Pub Hols 10:00-16:00; Sun 11:00-16:00