Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ander Kant Die Berg: Episode 1

No matter how many times I drive through the Du Toits Kloof Mountains on the great N1 North Road I can't but help feeling lekker! It must be one of the most beautiful stretches of mountain road anywhere, let alone in South Africa. Jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, twisting bends, sheer rock faces pointing to the having Marlyn Monroe sitting next too you. But, I had a job to do and my first stop was Jason's Hill Winery.
Like most wineries in the area, Jason's Hill is blessed with beautiful vistas, surrounded by mountains in every direction. The farm is not all that big with around 100 hectares under vine. Most of their crop is sold off to the local co op, but like any smart farmer they keep the best grapes for themselves and make wine under their own label. The winemaker is Ivy Du Toit, pictured left, and if ever dynamite came in a small package then Ivy is it. On the day of our visit she was handling the tastings, sales, dispatch, information....where she gets the time to make the wine I don't know. But make wine she does, and damn good wine too. Her family is the 5th generation of Du Toits to farm this land, the words lacking commitment and lazy are not in their vocabulary. They also have a wonderful Bistro above their tasting room, from here the views are out of this world, the wines superb and the food homely and comforting. But I had come to taste wine and not food.

I started off by tasting the 2008 Jasonette, a pink sparkler. I am a fan of pink bubbly, and have been the butt of many jokes for this, too me it is a great way to kick off any occasion. The Jasonette isn't going to have the great Champagne houses shaking in their boots, but what it will do is bring a smile to face your face. Fruity and fun without being candy sweet. Next was the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. The first thing I noticed about this wine was its beautiful colour, crystal clear like river water. With loads of fruit, guava, apple, and a nice racy acidic finish, this was a wine I really enjoyed. From here I moved onto the reds. I started off with the house blend, a 2007 Classic Red. It is a three way blend of Petit Verdot, Pinotage and Grenache. As easy drinking reds go this is one of the better ones around. Very smooth, certainly not chunky and rustic but rather velvety. The back label reads: delightfully uncomplicated and demands merely to be enjoyed. Agreed. Next was the 2007 Grenache. Now Grenache normally works best in blends and one hardly expects to find good Grenache this side of the mountain. But to my surprise I took quiet a liking to it. Again very smooth. It must be a Ivys female touch that brings such elegance to their wines. The wine showed hints of spiciness and fruit, just enough acidity and delicate oaking. A well balanced wine. My final wine was the 2002 Pinotage Limited Release, showing all the usual pinotage flavours of banana and strawberry. Again this was a wine that showed restraint, elegance and Ivys hallmark velvet smooth finish.

All in all another good day at the office....

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