Eugene Yiga gets cab sav(vy)
“It’s a real treat having all of you here to taste our wines,” said Alastair Rimmer, cellar master at Kleine Zalze. “And it’s a real treat having a few different vintages, different levels, and different styles.”
Rimmer was speaking at The Twelve Apostles for a tasting of Kleine Zalze cabernet sauvignons. But before that, the afternoon began with Non Vintage Brut Rosé, the perfect Méthode Cap Classique for a crisp and sunny winter’s day on the Azure restaurant’s deck overlooking the sea.
“I don’t do formal wine tastings and I don’t get too involved in the various bits and pieces,” Rimmer said. “But in selecting these vintages, I thought they highlighted what Kleine Zalze does well.”
The tasting was both vertical (2007, 2010, and 2013) and horizontal (Cellar Selection, Vineyard Selection, and Family Reserve), with the 9 wines placed on a grid like a game of tic-tac-toe. And although they all looked the same, there were subtle differences in each one.
“There are some extraordinary wines in the Cellar Selection but they are more accessible and not quite as intense as the Vineyard Selection and Family Reserve,” Rimmer said. “But the days of only full-bodied heavy reds being considered ‘great’ or ‘good’ are long gone.”
Rimmer expressed the belief that the world is starting to appreciate elegance and delicacy, with medium-bodied and even light-bodied reds making a comeback. Indeed, one need only explore Burgundy, where some of the great pinot noirs of the world show that a wine can be light but still balanced and complex.
The Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014 paired with the starter: Farmed Trout Mi-Cuit (compressed cucumber, oyster, horseradish cream, watercress, and fermented soybeans). It follows from the Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc 2013, which won the award for best white wine in the world at the Concours Mondial De Bruxelles.
Next, the Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 paired with the main course: 56oC Beef Fillet (braised short rib, kale, mushroom ragout, crushed potatoes, bone marrow, and barbeque glaze). One of the guests even said that 2009 produced the best vintage since 1974, although I didn’t get a chance to ask why.
People get so dogmatic about wine, saying ‘this is right’ and ‘this is wrong’,” Rimmer said as we enjoyed our cheese platters. “But it’s all good.”
Take advantage of the well-priced Terroir Package and stay the night at the comfortable Kleine Zalze Lodge. With 47 rooms and suites, the lodge enjoys breath-taking views of the Stellenbosch Mountains and is surrounded by 120 hectares of vineyards.
This package starts from R650 per person sharing per night and includes
- one night B&B accommodation in a Standard Room,
- a Winter Plate at Terroir (including a glass of Kleine Zalze wine),
- a complimentary wine tasting at the Kleine Zalze Cellar Door,
- and a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival.
It is available until 30 September.
Call +27 (0)21 880 0740 or email [email protected].