Remember when I went red wine tasting and told you all about it? Well, a couple of months ago (yeah! Sorry about how late this post is), I went to another wine tasting organized by WOW Beverages with my aunt again at the bar and restaurant, Vineyard, in Westlands.
This time, there were four wines available for tasting, ranging from sweet rosés to tart sparkling wines. We got there at 6 PM on the dot, and while a lot of the attendees hadn’t arrived yet, the event started.
My aunt and I went from table to table, while the WOW representatives took us through the wine tasting, as canapes were passed around. The décor was minimal as Vineyard’s patio was dimly lit, and charts were placed between the tables giving attendees more information on how the wines being tasted are produced.Did you know that rosé wine is not made by mixing red and white wine together, but on the contrary, red grapes are lightly crushed and left to macerate with their red skins for a little while (anywhere from a few hours to a few days), after which the juice is strained out from the solid stuff (called “must”) and then fermented in tanks? The lengths of the skins left on creates the different shades of rosés.
With a pencil and our note cards in hand, we started off with the Franschhoek Cellar Rosé, 2014. This was a beautiful pink color with crisp, dry flavor and a soft finish. The wine smelled of sweet summer berries with a hint of discreet spice. Red chilies and raspberries were the hints that suggested at the wine’s spicy notes. I personally liked the fruity, but spicy flavor profile of this wine.The next wine was The Beachhouse Rosé, 2014, a lovely salmon hue that reminded me of red onions. The wine had an aroma of fresh, ripe summer berries, with an intense sweetness of berry candy and jams. This wine was accompanied with roses and red cherry lollipops, that hinted at the sweetness. I particularly thought this wine was creamy and perhaps, a little too sweet for me (Yep! I don’t like my wines too sweet), but it is an easy drink on a hot, summer day, on its own or paired with sushi or summer BBQ foods.Then, the food arrived and we munched away on veggie toasties and veggie samosas (for vegetarians), and fish fingers and beef samosas (for non-vegetarians), which were nothing to write home about.
We moved on to the sparkling wines. Most sparkling wines go through two fermentations: one to turn the grape juice into still wine without bubbles (that’s called a base wine) and a subsequent one using yeast to turn the base wine into bubbly wine.Sparkling wines are primarily made in two ways. Tank (charmat, pronounced sharmah) fermentation is the quickest, most efficient way of making a sparkling wine by conducting the second fermentation in large, closed, pressurized tanks. These wines are usually the least expensive because they are usually made in large quantities and they’re ready for sale soon after harvest. The whole process can take just a few weeks.
The second method is the bottle fermentation. Here, the more traditional method conducts the second fermentation in the individual bottles in which the wine is later sold. Champagne has been made in this way for over 300 years. This process is elaborate, taking up to over three years, thus making bottle-fermented sparkling wines more expensive than tank-fermented bubbles.
The first sparkling wine we tried was the Swartland Cuvee Brut, 2014, which had oranges and roses as aroma enhancing hints. The slightly green tinted wine was refreshing with well-rounded flavor and fresh, crisp acidity. I could taste citric and floral notes in this wine, that was dry but sweet. This was my least favorite wine out of all the wines I tasted.The final wine that we tasted was the elegant Graham Beck Brut NV, which was a stunning sparkling wine which is a beautiful harmony of lengthy Chardonnay (54%) and fragrant Pinot Noir (46%). This tasted just like champagne, but because it is made in south Africa and not in Champagne, France, it can only be called as sparkling wine. The hints of macadamia and pears hinted at the nutty but light fragrance, in fact, it tasted like bread dough to me. It was incredible and my favorite of all! I’m not just going on and on and on about it, even President Barack Obama toasted with this wine, on election night. And this same wine was the official celebratory drink at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected State President in 1994.This event was a fun night of drinking away some good vino while learning something new about rosés and sparkling wines. But, like all WOW tasting events, there was a representative going around asking everyone a pop quiz on the wines tasted, and someone (a lucky someone) won a bottle of wine!
After a fun night, I headed home, after stopping by a local restaurant for dinner, slightly
tipsy wine-happy, feeling a li’l bit like an expert in wine. 😉
Photos, unless stated otherwise, are courtesy of SHK Consulting
My ticket was complimentary, but all views and opinions are my own.