The Franschhoek Winter Wines festival is held at L'Ormarins Wine Estate, which is a beautiful farm (even in winter with the brown and leafless trees and vines). There are endless paddocks with giant mountains as a backdrop. One of the first paddocks on the way in also had a herd of very impressive and healthy looking Angus cows quietly grazing.
The thing about Franschhoek is that the little valley really does produce some fantastic wines.
Perhaps it is the terrior of the little valley, perhaps it is wine wisdom of the French Hugenots passed through the generations or even just the standard of excellence that the town seems to exude, especially in the food and wine category. It is not often that you find a wine that doesn't make you want to buy a bottle, drink some more and come up with some elaborate menu to enjoy with it.
This festival was held in one of the four buildings which house the motor museum. Each farm exhibiting had one wine (often the flagship of the estate) atop their designated barrel. Most of the farms had their winemakers present who gave you a little more insight into the making and producing of that particular wine. The one man band Newton was playing some awesome background music and in general there was a lovely relaxing atmosphere, despite the chills outside. It was mostly REDs available for tasting with the odd MCC here and there.
The motor museum in itself is well worth seeing. The collection is astounding, really to have that many cars in one place! (and it is not even the full collection). The cars are in mint condition and absolute pieces of art. From the formula ones to the vintage cars and the row of Ferraris, stunning! The Enzo is amazing! But my personal favourite, for my casual Sunday wine routing would have to be the Aston Martin DB2-4, it is a beauty!! (I'd probably take the mustang too... and maybe a few others!)
I definitely don't know enough about the ins and outs of the engines and all that stuff under the hood, but I can appreciate the beauty, precision and artwork that goes into everyone of those vehicles! A great collection, well worth seeing!
By the time we arrived at the festival the nearby parking lot was full, but we did not mind at all because it meant we could be chauffeur driven in one of the museums vintage cars right to the festival, door to door service in style - so awesome! I love the vintage cars.
We had an awesome afternoon!
A few notes below on the wines we decided to taste...
COLMANT CAP CLASSIQUE & CHAMPAGNE
COLMANT BRUT RESERVE NV
Their Brut is made from Pinot Noir & Chardonnay grapes and it is delicious! It is quite sweet for a brut, but drier than a rose. They seemed to have found that perfect point of sweet and dry with beautiful tiny bubbles. A great bubbly!!
FOUR PAWS WINES
FOUR PAWS PINOTAGE 2010
Another fine wine, not too harsh on the coffee notes and a lovely berry flavour. An above average Pinotage, perhaps a little over priced (personal opinion).
HOLDEN MANZ BIG G 2010
The Big G is a blend of 50% Cab Sav & 50% Cab Franc. This may sound strange, but it tastes purple. It is dark and earthy (Cab Sav) and yet somehow floral with perfume aromas on the finish (Cab Franc). A lovely blend, very enjoyable. The winemaker informed us that it would be great with an excellent steak - particularly their Estate Restaurant, Franschhoek Kitchen's, steaks. This was seconded by another bystander, so we will definitely have to pay them a visit for a steak and wine dinner!
LA BRI SYRAH 2010
An absolutely lovely Syrah, smoothed out beautifully with a little Viognier. Very smooth and extremely enjoyable.
According to the winemaker, the name La Chataigne means chestnut in French and so he has tried to name the wines as such using different languages, hence the name Marron (a larger eating chestnut in French) for this wine. The wine is actually a blend of Merlot, Cab Sav and Pinotage (a Cape Blend). It is quite an interesting blend, it smells like a vegetable garden or some healthy soil. It is quite peppery and tangy with a fruity metallic-ness to it. It is very nice and could probably even sit for a little longer in the bottle.
The winemaker also apparently hand signs the name of the wine on each bottle, so they actually make for very nice gifts as the bottles from this boutique winery are quite unique looking.
CABERNET FRANC 2012
Another great wine, your standard well made Cab Franc.
MORENA BRUT ROSE 2010
THE BEST OF THE DAY! This Brut was our absolute favourite, we were taken aback by the beautiful hue - a perfect soft pink / off mink champagne colour with tiny bubbles - beautiful! It tasted like sweet roses and peaches, genuinely, with sweet florals on the nose. It really was delicious and quite reasonably priced at R115 a bottle.
This farm also imports three different French champagnes, so we will definitely be paying them a visit sometime soon. (We were back at their barrel a few times)
NOBLE HILL WINE ESTATE
NOBLE HILL ESTATE BLEND 2010
This was a blend of 68% Cab Sav together with Merlot and Petit Verdot. It is really smooth and has lovely berry flavours without being too sweet or plum-y. The delicious Cab Sav flavours being well rounded and smoothed out by the Merlot. Delicious.
Solms Delta's flagship wine, which they can definitely be proud of. This wine is a Shiraz, however, they have used the dessication method (drying out the grapes before harvest while, still on the vines, a little like raisins). The dessicated bunches are then fermented as whole bunches. These methods result in a much more concentrated and deep berry flavour. It is unbelievably smooth with delicious berry flavours and your spicy Shiraz finish. Wow, exceptional, it gets better with each sip. Definitely the best RED of the day!
TERRA DEL CAPO
TERRA DEL CAPO SANGIOVESE 2010
You don't find a lot of Sangiovese in South Africa so it is nice to have the opportunity to taste one here. It doesn't have any particularly noteworthy points, but it is a lovely rich, smooth red which is definitely above average.
A lovely festival, fantastic wines, amazing cars and a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon!
See you there next year.
L'ORMARINS WINE ESTATE:
Latitude: 33°52´18.79¨S Longitude: 18°59´54.64¨E
Tel: +27 21 874 9041
Labels: Colmant, Festivals, Four Paws, Holden Manz, L'Ormarins, La Bri, La Chataigne, Lynx, Morena, Noble Hill, Solms Delta, Terra del Capo