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7th Wine: Welmoet Pinotage

  • Located in Stellenbosch, the farm of Welmoed was first granted to Governor Simon van der Stel in 1690
  • Simon van der Stel’s eldest son, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, succeeded him as Governor.
  • He developed Vergelegen estate with VOC finances without the knowledge of the Board of Directors in Holland.
  • He built a house and planted over half a million vines, large orchards and maize fields. He stocked the farm with 800 cattle and 10 000 sheep. The fact that he, the governor, had to sanction all purchases of supplies for a visiting fleet of the VOC, allowed him to favour his products before others.
  • This brought him into conflict with other farmers.
  • Most of these farmers were ex-mercenaries, and killing was their profession.  They used to steal Vergelegen’s cattle and sheep.
  • There was therefore a conflict of interests – the Governor calling the farmers ‘criminals’, which they were, and them naming the Governor ‘a crook’, which he was.
  • A petition was drafted, signed by these raiding farmers and sent directly to the Board of Directors at their VOC headquarters in Amsterdam, requesting that the Governor be replaced.
  • The petition was rejected.  The leaders of the farmers were arrested and issued an ultimatum – either they make out a new declaration to the Board with an apology plus a second issue praising the Governor, or he would hang them.
  • The rebels quickly agreed, all except Jacobus van der Heyden, who replied: ‘Hang and be damned! I will not change anything that I wrote about you,’ whereupon the Governor had him imprisoned in the dungeons of the Castle.
  • As time went by, the doctor warned the Governor that van der Heyden’s health was deteriorating, that he would most certainly die if not released, and that this would result in the farmers having a martyr to fire up their rebellion.  Others would join their cause, which would have definite repercussions in Holland.
  • Therefore Willem Adriaan van der Stel released Van der Heyden. On hearing this news, the sentiment around the Cape was: “Deze vent heeft  wel moed” which translates to “This chap does have courage”.
  • A charming medium to full bodied wine with a vivid ruby-red colour. Raspberry and ripe fruit on the nose. Ripe mulberry fruit palate with elegant tannin and soft fruity finish. Well integrated oak aromas complement a well-balanced wine.
  • A little bit about the pinotage grape: It was bred in S.A. in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut (Cinsaut was known as Hermitage in South Africa during that time, hence the port-man-teau name of Pinotage). The first wine was made in 1941.
  • A group of British Masters of Wine visiting in 1976 were unimpressed by Pinotage, calling the nose “hot and horrible” and comparing the taste to “rusty nails”.
  • However towards the end of the 20th century, the grape’s fortunes began to turn, and by 1997 it commanded higher prices than any other South African grape.
  • French oak staves for approximately 8 months.
  • Tasting Note: Raspberry, cherry and mulberry characterise the fruit profile, while the variety’s trademark earthy, smoky aromas are delivered with subtlety. Tannins are soft and balanced by snappy acidity.
  • Try with red or white meaths, preferably roasted or chargrilled, with flavoursome roasted vegetabled. Also apparently Oxtail makes an ideal food partner for this wine.
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1st Wine: Chapel Down Sparkling Rose

  • Chapel Down is the largest and they would claim the best English wine producer.
  • They were the first ever English producer to win a gold medal for sparkling wine at the prestigious International Wine Challenge.
  • The Rose Brut was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Wine Challenge 2011
  • The colour of lightly smoked salmon (an ideal partner). The wine is young, fresh and clean which isn’t as perverse as it sounds. Classic Pinot Noir nose of strawberry and raspberry with a splash of creaminess. A palate of ripe berry and rhubarb flavours and clean finish with perfectly balanced acidity.
  • The Blend is Pinot Noir, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau (also known as Rivaner).
  • Muller-Thurgau and Reichensteiner originally come from Germany and are very much related.
  • In fact Reichensteiner is a cross between Müller-Thurgau and Madeleine Angevine x Calabreser Froehlich , and was first bred in Germany during 1939.
  • I’ll talk more about Chapel Down once we have poured the Brut as I know you all listen better when you have some wine in front of you.
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9th Wine: Terrazas e los Andes Selection Malbec

  • In the 1950s, Moet & Chandon sent Renaud Poirier to Latin America to research the region’s potential for world-class wine production.
  • After travelling around the region, Poirier visited Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza.
  • Impressed by the local conditions and high elevation vineyards Moet & Chandon decided to set up their first ever vineyards outside of France.
  • After experimenting with sparkling wines for decades, in 1999 they opened Terrazas de los Andes Winery to concentrate on producing quality still wines.
  • Terrazas de los Andes Selection Malbec 2008, which was labelled  Reserva, has its grapes hand-harvested from select estate vineyards within the top districts of Mendoza.
  • Developed with extensive focus on vineyard management, and only released during excellent vintages, this wine stands out for its aromatic intensity and complex style.
  • Aged for 12 months in a mixture of new and old French and American oak barrels.
  • Website tasting note: The wine is harmonious and smooth, with racy notes of violet and graphite acceding the backbone of plum and currant fruit, followed by a finish reminiscent of dry cherries, raisins and prunes. Ideal with rare roasted lamb or beef, or heavily seasoned rustic, meaty sausages.
  • Decanter tasting note: Juicy with good depth and concentration of dark fruit flavours, plums, dried figs. Complex with a lifted palate and smoky notes, coffee, chocolate and curry spice.
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10th Wine: Fonseca Crusted Port

  • Fonseca has an inherited tradition of winemaking skill and knowledge where the wines have been made by the same family since its foundation in 1822.
  • The Fonseca house style is one of richness and warmth, with a lush fruit intensity.
  • More voluptuous than massive, Fonseca Ports are coveted for their sumptuous yet refined body and great longevity.
  • Founded in 1822, when Manuel Pedro Guimaraens acquired control of the Fonseca & Monteiro Company.
  • As a condition of the sale of his shares to Guimaraens, the departing Fonseca stipulated that his name be retained.
  • During the Liberal Wars of 1828-34 in Portugal, Guimaraens was a supporter of the liberal reforms of King Pedro IV of Portugal.
  • But when Portugal put Pedro’s brother Miguel on the throne, Guimaraens found himself in danger due to his liberal support.
  • He fled Portugal, hidden in an empty Port wine barrel and later settled in England where the Fonseca company was headquartered until 1927.
  • During this period, Fonseca grew rapidly in reputation and importance.
  • Crusted is a rare, traditional style of port and Fonseca is one of the few firms that produce it.
  • A high quality ruby wine, which has sediment just like a vintage port.
  • Fonseca Crusted is a blend of full-bodied wines, bottled with no filtration and then cellared for three years before being released for sale.
  • As the name indicates, it will form a ‘crust’ or sediment in the bottle and should be decanted before being served.
  • The formation of this ‘crust’ is a natural process that occurs in the finest full-bodied ports.
  • It is an indication that the wine will continue to improve in the bottle and develop it’s aroma and character with age.
  • Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past.
  • Unlike vintage port, which has to be sourced from grapes from a single vintage, crusted port affords the port blender the opportunity to make best use of the varying characteristics of different vintages.
  • Crusted port is bottled unfiltered.
  • Like vintage port it needs to be decanted before drinking.
  • Although crusted ports will improve with age, the blender often seeks to make these wines approachable at a younger age than for his vintage ports. The date on a crusted port bottle refers to the bottling date, not the year the grapes were grown.
  • While crusted port is required to be aged in bottle for at least three years before it is released.
  • Therefore they are ready to be drunk when sold.
  • Tasting Note: Powerful aromatic bouquet, with dark berry fruits. Great layers of complexity and flavour. Plump raisin, spice, eucalyptus notes as well as the berry fruit flavours. An elegant and finely balanced wine.
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Wine 2: Carnard-Duchene Charles VII Le Victorieux N.V.

  • 1860 Victor Canard, a cooper, and Léonie Duchêne, from a family of winemakers met and fell in love. Ahh!!!
  • They got married, and started to make their own champagne.
  • Success came quickly, so they then decided to set up their own Champagne house. They joined their names together, in the true Champagne tradition, and Canard-Duchêne was born.
  • In 1890, their son, Edmond Canard took over. He was young, bold and loved champagne.
  • Under his guidance, Canard-Duchêne became an international Champagne.
  • They supplied to the court of Tsar Nicholas II.
  • That relationship has left its mark: from then on, the Canard Duchêne coat of arms has borne the two-headed eagle, emblem of the Russian Imperial Family.
  • Another symbol was added later. The sabre, in memory of a tradition which is intimately linked with champagne.
  • This Champagne was created to mark the house’s centenary celebration.
  • It also pays homage to Charles VII.
  • In 1429 when fate was condemning the kingdom to submission, Joan of Arc led Charles to Reims Cathedral to be crowned.
  • Having put an end to the One Hundred Years War, Charles VII established the sovereignty of the crown. He was celebrated as Charles VII Le Victorieux (the Victorious).
  • Canard Duchêne has long been established as one of the major Champagne houses.
  • A bottle is opened every 10 seconds in France making it the most popular Champagne sipped in France.
  • From the very beginning, the concept of the Grande Cuvée Charles VII has remained unchanged: a selection from among Champagne’s most prestigious crus.
  • Tasting Note: In this complex, fine and elegant champagne, white fruit aromas and subtle mineral notes are expressed. It provides a perfect balance between ripeness and freshness and between the bouquet dominated by Chardonnay and the palate, marked by the Pinot Noir.
  • Charles VII Le Victorieux triumphantly introduces the aperitif Champagne. A great way to start the Christmas festival.
  • It also would go fabulous for a fish course, such as salmon.
  • It is worth mentioning that the Canard-Duchene standard N.V. which is also very good is Majestics big discount Champagne this Christmas at just £15.
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