Glen Carlou, Celebrating 30 Years Of Wine

If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! Glen Carlou is a relatively young wine estate which I knew very little about when I visited. That is an approach I prefer, as then I go in with no expectations and bias. It is ideal, in that the impression I am left with after the experience is mine, as opposed to one subliminally sneaking up on me based on ‘marketing’. I only realised at the weekend that it is Glen Carlou’s birthday month, so my timing can be part of me celebrating with them in my own way. This is not a paid for post, but my own experience having now been to the wine estate and getting connected with their hospitality. If you are not familiar with my style, I write about wine because I enjoy sharing what I learn, and so for that reason I don’t appreciate writers, particularly critics, who want to tell me what to think.

Fresh and light stories, without the pinch of salt

“What are you known for?” Chomba asked Zayne, who was the wine consultant hosting us for the wine tasting. “Chardonnay” replied Zayne, with noticeable confidence. That took me by surprise as my tasting plan, looking at the list, was a Pinot Noir and some red wines. It caused great consternation for me, as now looking at the list of 18 wines, picking my 5 wines to taste was thrown off balance with Chardonnay coming highly recommended. I don’t like tasting white wines and red wines back to back for some reason.

Chomba’s picks for tasting were different to mine on some of the wines. While it solved for me tasting more than five, I do find that when I taste more than five wines without being disciplined making tasting notes, I lose any form of learning from the experience and memory to inform future decision making when looking to buy.

The first wine I tasted was The Curator’s Collection Chenin Blanc 2015. As we sat outside on the balcony, the blue sky backdrop and natural light  made for a wine in the glass that was a magical golden colour to look at. My senses were teased, and I wanted to give it a go. The label on the wine bottle added to the feeling of ‘something special’, particularly when reading the ‘3,3316 bottles made’! I picked up the glass, filled to the marker with wine, swirled it and put my nose in it. The aromatic nature of this Chenin Blanc was the antithesis of odourless. A pineapple fragrance came through  for me. Chomba, had started with a Chardonnay, and as we shared glasses to get a sense of what the other was experiencing, she thought she picked up dry apricot aromas on sniffing the very Chenin Blanc I was tasting. The taste was rather unexpected, as it was less fruity tasting relative to the sweet fragrances I had picked up on the nose.

The Curator’s Collection 2015 Chenin Blanc

There was nothing not to like about the scene. “I’m so glad we came here” I thought to myself. This as Zayne was pouring my second glass to taste, which was the Quartz Stone Chardonnay, 2014 vintage. The Chardonnay was matured eleven months in the barrel according to Zayne. Again, the nose was pleasantly aromatic. The wine colour was a lighter shade of gold than the Chenin Blanc. On sipping it, the wine was not as heavy as I expected for a Chardonnay that was in Oak for eleven months. The wine had a surprisingly citrus like finish. It was not at all a long finish either. I’m more of a traditional Chardonnay enthusiast, and this Chardonnay I can see being a HIT with the preference of today for this wine grape, which is something more zesty and crisp and less buttery and heavy.

The Chardonnay from Glen Carlou’s oldest vineyard, planted in 1989

Now came the wine that had inspired my curiosity to come to the Glen Carlou Wine Estate. I had to curb my enthusiasm as I did not want to be so excited, that the only outcome was disappointment. The Glen Carlou Pinot Noir 2013 vintage. A black cherry colour, while sitting in the glass. Looking at it, and marvelling over my experience thus far, the wine promised balance and some body. Not these watery Pinot Noir’s that have made my search for the fascination with this wine grape elusive. The smoky nose won me over, and the sip just sealed the deal. The grapes are from the estate. I immediately texted my colleague who had recommended the Glen Carlou as one of his favourite Pinot Noirs. It was an image of the wine in the glass, with the wine bottle and label clearly visible next to the wine glass with the caption “You’re quite the surprise with your wine knowledge Willie. Good call, I like this.”

Pinot Noir, just look at those tear drops…

The fourth wine I tasted was the Curator’s Collection Shiraz 2015. Chomba had picked the Classic Range Syrah 2015, so again we could swap tastings. I couldn’t pick up any distinct fragrances on the nose. This does happen to me occasionally. I am not one to try and pretend I smell anything, when it is not at all obvious to my senses. That behaviour is not pretentious, it is lying. I liked the burgundy colour of the Shiraz. Again the label teased my expectations with the ’33,032 bottles made’ scribed in fonts that reminded me of an old type writer. Tasting the wine, I picked up strong cherry flavours, different to what I am accustomed to tasting when having a Shiraz. Chomba’s Classic Range Syrah, 2015, appealed to me more, as I also tasted what she had. It was such a HIT, we bought two bottles of that wine.

If you like your tannins in red wine, then here is one to try

Last but not least was the Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 vintage. The tasting was winding down, and I was by then in lunch mode, evidence being my notes simply commenting on the green pepper nose and the dark burgundy colour of the wine. Nothing more and nothing less. Lunch was fantastic, and equalled by the service and the wine. As I usually end up doing, I joined the wine club, bought three bottles Pinot Noir and 2 bottles of the Syrah. After lunch I also tasted the Petit Verdot Tannat 2012, a new release, as I wanted to make it a round number of six bottles. We also bought Chardonnay, the one that was not available for tasting, which was 25th Vintage Commemorative Quartz Stone Chardonnay 2012. Seeing as this is the birthday month for Glen Carlou, with 2017 being their 30th harvest of Chardonnay, I will open this bottle on the cusp of my birthday month and theirs, so likely 30th September 2017.

Glen Carlou is not about wine production, they are into wine curatorship

Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Pairing On My Own

If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! It’s Women’s Day as I write this, and I am all alone, without any of  the women of my life. Apt, considering I am referring back to my wine tasting notes from the last time I tasted wine without Chomba. The irony of wine pairing, on my own, without the Mrs. The Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is the wine of the moment, and this bottle is available at Woolworths. Two things that I learnt today, the wine farm was bought  and renamed in the year that I was born and Jeremy Walker started wine-making in the year that I finished High School. Jeremy’s parents, Eddie and Betty bought the farm.

Eddie and Betty bought the farm having moved from England

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Babylonstoren Shiraz, Red, Red, Wine

If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! Today’s post is a bit of a throw back. The name of this wine estate, rings tones of The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon for me. I am literally hearing UB40’s Red, Red Wine in my head as I write.

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A Bottle Of Wine, The Scene And A Good Story

In every bottle of wine there is story to be told. What is it though, that makes it a good story, a bad story, or a great story? Telling a great story is a unique art in my opinion. I have read content, not limited to wine write ups, where the narrative is put forward in a way that left me feeling like the experience I had just had, was an escape of sorts. So how do wine marketers and bloggers get it right, when they try tell a story about the vintage that the wine maker is so proud of?

The opening line to opening wine…

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The Foundry Viognier 2013, A Good Finish

If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! We are in the throes of winter in South Africa. The Western Cape is not getting enough rains, when this is the rainy season. A cold front has just gone through Joburg, and not too long ago, the clouds sneezed and sprayed us with rains that the Western Cape would have happily taken. Strange times, and strange weather, but the cold is not a shy participant in our theatre. So you might find it odd that in and amongst all this, I bring you a chilled white wine today. The Foundry Viognier 2013 is the wine we tasted late in April 2017, and if like me you pair it with a curry dish, you may want to give it a try now anyway. I picked up this bottle at Caroline’s Fine Wine Cellar, in the very month that we drank it. Some wines seem to linger in the shadows, waiting for you to discover them.

Waiting in the shadows

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Amistad Syrah, Shipping Wine With Friends

If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! Just about every blog post I have written here starts with that very sentence. I hope I am not  being misunderstood  to mean, with that sentence, that  there is only one wine for you! In fact, it would be surprising to me if you like wine, and you could tell me with confidence what your favourite wine is . The Syrah, or Shiraz, is one of my favourite wine grapes. It would be a tad bit loose and irresponsible for me to say the grape is my favourite though. So if a grape is hard to choose from, how on earth can I be expected to choose one wine as my favourite? These were the thoughts I was sharing with Chomba as I was opening this bottle of the Amistad Syrah 2012 vintage, a wine by Black Elephant Vintners (Google bevintners).

Meaningful relationships, served better with wine

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Verreaux, Eagles’ Nest Red Wine Soars

If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! The European travels have come to an end, and we certainly enjoyed the food, wine and beer that France, The Netherlands and Germany had to offer. I respect the Old World wines, but my love for  The New World wines has not dwindled. There is plenty room for everyone in my world, so let’s get back to exploring South African wines. Old World wines are simply wines where wine making first originated, and South Africa is not part of that history. The Eagles’ Nest Verreaux was the wine bottle we opened 4 days before taking off on our trip. Have I got a story to tell you, so allow me to be a little bit longer than normal.

I’m setting the scene, so picture it

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Wining And Dining In Europe

I have not stopped blogging. I am on holiday, and the plan was to write about my wine experiences as I tour mainly Paris, Reims, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch as it’s colloquially called) and Amsterdam. What I got totally wrong in my theory was that much as I will be on holiday, I would NOT have time to gather my thoughts and share my experiences with you.

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Woolworths Ken Forrester Viognier 2015 Reserve Collection

If you try different wines, you are bound to figure out which wine you like! It is 9 degrees Celsius in Joburg as I write! The days are getting colder, and the mornings and evenings are crisp. Comfort food is naturally what you start thinking of when it is time to cook supper, so if that entails casseroles, a curry and the likes, why on earth would I bring a white wine to the party? Well, if you spot this Woolworths Ken Forrester Viognier 2015, don’t let the price tag of R69-95 be the reason you put your nose in the air and pass it by, like it is beneath you.

I think this Reserve Collection is only available in Woolworths

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