Cape gems: Stellies Wines

Some of South Africa’s greatest and oldest wine farms are in Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch, fondly called ‘Stellies’, is a town about 40 minutes drive from Cape Town. It’s small and lazy, dotted with mountains, vineyards and a sorta-constant sun  (somehow it’s clear when Cape Town is storming). Stellenbosch has its own very deep racial issues, but I’m not here to talk about that  today. Today, we talk wine.PhotoGrid_1450807478812

My friend visiting from Kenya joined me and a few other friends for wine tasting at the Middelvlei Wynlandgoed Wine Estate, Stellenbosch. We only visited one farm because,  African Time. The weather was quite nice  (especially compared to what Cape Town had that day!)PhotoGrid_1450807440834 PhotoGrid_1450807375388

Unfortunately my camera battery died quite early, but I managed to get a few pictures in. Also a brief description of what I got from the 5 wines we tasted. This is just what I picked up, I am no wine guru!

1. Chardonnay (Unoaked)
Nose: Green apples,  grass, crisp. Tasted a bit young. Maybe a year older would have been nicer, especially for a chardonnay. It was very fresh and light-bodied; almost like it was made for a Summer Sunday.PhotoGrid_1450807312442 PhotoGrid_1450807280393

2.Pinotage Merlot
This is a blend of merlot and pinotage.  A slightly spicy taste lingered on my hard palate, likely from the merlot. Smelled like forest berries and also woody and earthy.PhotoGrid_1450807103055 PhotoGrid_1450807075031

3. Free-run Pinotage
Smoky, woody and earthy scents.

This was my first time tasting a free-run wine. Free-run juice is juice that flows from the grapes without pressing. It oozes out from the weight of the grapes on each other. Taste-wise, I can’t tell you the difference between a free-run wine and a normal pressed one. But the former commands a higher price point.

This wine was oaked in first and second use barrels; French-American. Can’t remember the ratio. PhotoGrid_1450806970608 PhotoGrid_1450806832381

4. Cabernet Sauvignon
Pretty full-bodied and quite acidic. A little tannin-heavy. Hints of blackberries and plum scents. It’s oaked in first and second use barrels; French-American. Can’t remember the ratio. PhotoGrid_1450807581927 PhotoGrid_1450806801315

5. Shiraz
Light and smooth. Not as dry as the Cab Sauv and Merlot. Tasted and smelled like cherries and strawberries blended with vanilla. I also got slight liquorice smells. Very easy drinking. Medium bodied, I would say.PhotoGrid_1450806758626 PhotoGrid_1450806698140

Also, I recently discovered this wine blog by a Kenyan lady! It’s really well written. 🙂 Please check it out and also check out the Kenya Wines blog written by my friend and wine expert, Tom (also, Kenyan).

Christmas is around the corner!
Happy Holidays. 🙂

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