Tuesday 4 December 2012

Bouchard Finlayson - The Muse

It has been a while since I have posted to my blog, as I have been busy setting up a property valuation company. I guess this will be a good time to punt such, so if you require a property valuation, be it a wine farm, commercial or residential property, visit: www.valuetec.co.za!

All I needed was a little inspiration to get back into the swing of things and Bouchard Finlayson, which I have now dubbed my Muse, did exactly that! 
I attended a Bouchard Finlayson tasting held at Great Domaines in Johannesburg, which was superbly presented by Jessica Saurwein. It was an enjoyable evening with delicious canapes and humorous banter about smoked chicken, or should I say gerokte kiep, to be more precise ;) 
The entire flight consisting of numerous Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines were exceptional. Scores were high and characters of the wines between the 2005, 2007 & 2009 vintages were varied. 
It was extremely interesting to experience, that although the wine making style remained unchanged over the aforementioned vintages, the changing annual climatic conditions influenced the characteristics of the wines with great finesse, from green and fresh to fruity and complex.
I guess you could say the lady in the photo above, visually describes the flavours of the wines to a T - elegant, impressionable and clean with a great depth of character. 

As difficult as it is to chose, my favourites of the night were:

  • 2005 Bouchard Finlayson Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2005 Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique Chardonnay (unwooded)
  • 2009 Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay
  • 2005 Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay
So hopefully the inspiration continues and you will be hearing from me more often! Until next time, Cheers!

Friday 16 March 2012

It's in the Mix

I have always been a single variety wine kind of guy, perhaps because I assumed that all the good stuff goes into single variety wines and blends are made from the leftovers. 
In some instances, this may be true when it comes to mass production of blended wines, but this is not the case at all when quality blends are produced. The purpose of blending is to combine 2 or more wines and make them better as a whole. Now this doesn’t mean that you can just go and add good wine to any old plonk to make it better, each wine has to contribute positively to the whole in some way or form.

There are several reasons why a winemaker may want to blend wines: 
  • To enhance the aroma
  • To improve the colour
  • To add or minimize flavours and tastes
  • To adjust the pH
  • To lower or raise acidity
  • To raise or lower alcohol levels
  • To adjust the sweetness of a wine
  • To correct a wine with too much oak flavour
  • To raise or lower levels of tannin

Wine blending really is an art and quite damn fun too. If you and your buddies are into wine, invite them over and have an evening of blending, not cake mix, but bottles and bottles of the vino and to make it even more interesting, make a competition out of it.
That’s what we did at a Cellar Rats Tasting a couple weeks ago at Luca’s Pizzeria in Sunninghill, an Italian Restaurant with great ambiance and wine selection. The always hospitable Luca, judged the final blends and obviously my team, consisting of myself, Kimce and Christopher, won! With a Cape blend theme in mind, the winning blend contained: 50% Pinotage, 30% Shiraz and 20% Merlot and the wines used were: 2008 Stellenzicht Golden Triangle Pinotage, 2009 Fleur Du Cap Shiraz and 2010 Excelsior Merlot.   

I was absolutely amazed at how just the slightest amendment to these percentages made a world of difference to the final product. When one studies the intricacies of the blending beast, quite a few factors have to be taken into account as the effects thereof are highly elastic (slight change in an input = sharp change in result, for you non-economically inclined folk). Such factors may include: vintage, alcohol percentage, acidity, tannic structure, level of wood maturation, residual sugar, weight, balance, flavour and aroma of the wines.

All in all, lots of wine was consumed and it was an interesting evening ending off with a dance routine, which hopefully does not end up on YouTube, as well as one of the committee members ACCIDENTALLY, almost kissing another guy goodbye. Hahaha... 

Luca’s Pizzeria is located at Rivonia Crossing Shopping Centre on the corner of Rivonia and Witkoppen Roads.
Cellar Rats Wine Tasting Club meet on Wednesdays at 19:00 at the Morningside Country Club (Tennis Clubhouse) www.cellarrats.co.za

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Wine tasting with a Difference

I will definitely be very keen at giving this a try. I think this wine route will be very busy and popular as drinking and driving will not be a problem, although walking or standing after the tour, may cause a few problems...

Franschoek to implement new tram service
A new attraction is on track to becoming a tourist icon in the Western Cape.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram arrived at its permanent home this week when a crane lowered it on to tracks near the Franschhoek Cellar.
The Franschoek Wine Tram will take tourists through the winelands from the end of September, taking passengers on a two to three hour tour, that will include wine tastings and other activities.
"Visitors will be able to take in the scenery, the wine and the vines," said David Blyth, general manager of the Franschhoek Wine Tram. He said the project had been 10 years in the making.
The trip, at a leisurely 18km/h, will include a narrated guide to the history of the area and wine cultivation in the Franschhoek Valley. It will use old SA Railways lines.
The Franschhoek branch line opened in 1904 and Blyth said the tram would assure its preservation.
The "Fran tram" was built by Prof Engineers, an SA company that specialises in equipment for the rail and mining industries.
Modelled after a late-1800s open-sided Brill tram, the low-emission vehicle will seat 30.

The Argus

Monday 5 March 2012

Funky Wine Stuff

Here's a whole bunch of funky wine related stuff, enjoy!

Wine Quotes
  • When I read about all the evils of drinking wine, I was so shocked, I gave up reading.
  • A “cork-tease” is someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open, but never does
  • Wine... the reason I get out of bed... every afternoon
  • Wine improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it
  • Dear Optimist, Pessimist, and Realist. While you guys were arguing about the glass of wine. I drank it.   - The Opportunist
  • "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy" - Benjamin Franklin
  • “Why is it that when you DO happen to spill red wine on yourself, you are ALWAYS wearing a white shirt??” – The Wine Oak
  • Compromises are for relationships, not wine. - Sir Robert Scott Caywood
  • “You haven't drunk too much wine if you can still lie on the floor without holding on” - Dean Martin

Wine Advice
  • The second cheapest bottle of wine on a winelist, generally has the highest mark up
  • Leave wine in your mouth for a second or 2. High quality wine tastes good but also has a long after-taste as opposed to a short after-taste

Wine Facts
  • A wine bottle which holds 20 times that of a standard bottle of wine, or 15 litres, is called a 'Nebuchadnezzar'
  • A wine that tastes watery is said to taste 'dilute.' It may have been made from grapes picked during a rainstorm.
  • The juice of most grapes is clear & virtually colourless, Pontac & Roobernet however, have red juice.
  • Grapes - the only fruit that is capable of producing proper nutrition for the yeast on its skin & sugar in its juice to ferment naturally
  • Wine is considered more complex than blood serum it has so many organic chemical compounds.
  • The average age of a French oak tree harvested for use in wine barrels is 170 years!
  • The average glass of red wine contains about 110 calories, while a glass of white wine has about 104
  • An aging barrel holds 59 gallons; 225 litres; 300 bottles; 24 cases or 1800 125ml glasses - In my case 900 250ml glasses ;)
  • The auger, or curly metal part of a corkscrew, is sometimes called a worm.
  • The average life of a vine is 40 years, but with no disease & temperate weather, vines can live up to 100 years.
  • It is theorized there are approximately 44 million bubbles in a bottle of sparkling wine/ champagne

  • 'Oenophobia' is an intense fear or hatred of wine.
  • "Women who drink 2 glasses of wine a day are said to be more active in bed. In simple words, they enjoy sex better." Drink up ladies ;)
  • Early Roman women were not allowed to drink wine. If their husbands found about their wine drinking, they had the liberty to kill them
  • You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork, than by a poisonous spider
  • A raisin dropped into a glass of champagne will repeatedly bounce between the top and bottom of the glass
  • Marilyn Monroe is said to have taken a bath in 350 bottles worth of champagne.
  • The hobby of collecting champagne bottle tops is called plagueusephilia

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Happy ValenWines Day!

So what will you be drinking this ValenWines Day
Reply and let us know what wine worked well for you with da romance, if you know what I mean ;) 

If you stuck, cant decide and want to get something in a hurry, you cant go wrong with bubbles, so try a Vintage MCC Rosé. (Champagne for those of you in Champagne, France)