Step aside, Mister Merlot. Here comes a Zinfandel Diva, a Triple Three Gin and a luscious Late Harvest.
If you’re stuck in a wine rut, it’s time to discover the black-skinned, wine grape beauty renaissance and her refreshingly new-fangled Triple Three Gin sister.
Both Blaauwklippen and Zinfandel are not news, nor are their reams of relative merits, but in case you haven’t heard, this year they are launching their first reserve sipping gin, which we were privy to at an auspicious afternoon of tastings and historical talks, followed by a luscious lunch.
First up: We were greeted with a welcomed glass of Blaauwklippen’s Diva MCC made from the unusual and tenacious Zinfandel grape – hence the name! Full of lively spirited apple flavours the delectable bubbly was a refreshing start to the soirée.
Next up: The Late Harvest tasting. Proudly presented at The Cape Grace Hotel, and led by none other than Blaauwklippen’s charming Cellar Master, Rolf Zeitvogel, alongside his spirited winemaker, Narina Cloete, who’s shared philosophy is such that the winemaker merely finishes what nature has begun. And, frankly it makes absolute sense.
We were seated before eight neatly laid out Noble Late Harvest vintages, working backwards from 2014 to 2007, ranging from notes of coriander to Christmas pudding underscoring the brand’s history in an impressive tasting. My personal favourite being the 2009 with a nutty undertone, low acidity, and plenty grip! If you’re blessed like me with a dry palate and a sweet tooth, you too would have been in Late Harvest seventh (or should I say eighth) heaven!
What makes this sweet wine even more compelling, apart from the fact that it rounds off your meal like mother’s milk, is that it comes from Croatia, not California contrary to misconceptions; and Blaauwklippen being one of the only Zinfandel producers in South Africa, don’t utilise any water or fertilizers in the growing of these grapes – now that’s what I call a buzz-inducing bumper crop!
Our precursor to the lush, lavish lunch was cured salmon, hollandaise rosti, scallop ceviche, avocado mousse, passionfruit, gougère, goats cheese mousse and fig chutney paired with the Blaauwklippen’s signature Diva MCC. An easy drinking bubbly that stands up beautifully to foods rich in flavour.
With the starter we sampled grilled prawn, curried pumpkin puree and mango salsa paired with their 2016 Zinfandel.
Seared ostrich for main with creamed potato, spiced pear jus, crispy onion streusel paired with their 2015 red. And for dessert, orange semifreddo, coffee poached pear, honeycomb, gingerbread crumble and candied orange zest with the man of the moment – Distillers Cut Gin.
Straight to the point, served ice cold and neat which I must I initially felt a little edgy about, being a wine drinker myself, but boy was it the perfect finale! That’s not to say you should rule out a splash of ice or a tonic for variety, muddling it would play a minor role in a delectably refreshing drink.
What I personally found most compelling about the Triple Three Gin as it were, is the story behind the sourcing of the botanicals and aromatics, which by Rolf’s own admission was fuelled by a spontaneous, organic process of wondering through the fields with his family.
Lest you conclude, that based on the above, Zinfandel is the answer to your pre-and after dinner prayers and their Triple Three Gin is so good it needs nothing more than a frosted glass to go with it.
So, what are you waiting for? Head to Blaauwklippen and indulge …