By Lindsey Kin
Other treats that were on offer included a champagne garden, a connoisseur’s oyster corner and a food tent filled with the finest in cheeses, olives, nougat, and every lady’s favourite … chocolate.
I began my ‘savoureux’ journey with the oyster tasting, trying various combinations of the aphrodisiac, from a shallot vinaigrette condiment to the traditional oyster with tabasco, black pepper and lemon juice. ‘Bloody Mary’ shot glasses were also on offer to complement the oysters. I then made my way to the wine tasting, where I had the opportunity to meet various wine farmers from across South Africa – and tasted an unnamed Strawberry Pinot Noir Rose – I am yet to track down the farm that produces it.
Through my wine journey, in the middle of Johannesburg, I was determined to find out what makes for a good wine.
My first tasting was from the Mooisplaas Wine Estate
. Dirk Roos explained to me that the wine I had just tasted was a Verliefd wine, unique in that it is completely unfiltered. “I have used two different vintages for the same bottle; the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon spent 22 months in oak, and then just before bottling, 15% of un-wooded Shiraz was added, I wanted that freshness that you get in a lot of the European style wines, that in South Africa we battle to achieve because of our climate. Therefore the un-wooded component gives the wine that little bit of freshness and elegance.”
Another favourite of mine, were the wines from The Hughes Family Wines
. The wine farm, situated close to Hermanus, produces both red and white blends, and all wines are naturally fermented. Billy Hughes explained, “We do not innoculate our wines with yeast, but rather allow them to ferment naturally with the yeast belonging to the grapes.” He further commented, “The idea with wines is that it has to express how the farm tastes, its flavour and smell, and the way in which this is achieved is with minimal intervention during the wine making process, the farming needs to happen naturally with no pesticides and chemicals to truly bring out the true flavour of your wine farm.”
Gavin Patterson, managing director and winemaker of Sumaridge Estate Wines
, based near Hermanus, believes that wines that are in balance will reflect their environment and have a unique sense of place and identity. “It is also very important to produce age-worthy wines if you are looking at producing iconic wines,” he added. Mark Walker from the Lords Winery
, famously known for its Lords of McGregor boutique wines, believes that good grapes, love and passion make for a good wine.
Overall, I had a delightful day, and loved that I only had to travel a few kilometres to do a wine route and indulge in fresh oysters coupled with champagne. I left with a satisfied tummy, bubbly personality and bottle of vintage wines and champagnes that I can now add to my growing collection.
As Lily Bollinger once said, “I only drink Champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless I'm thirsty."