It’s wine quiz time! Name a region in the world that is known for their restrained wines made from Chardonnay. Now name a region that besides making Chardonnay, also makes Pinot Noir? Final question; does this region have more than 300 years of wine making history?
Putting all 3 answers together you may have guessed Chablis in France, or Burgundy in general. BUT, thinking outside of the Old World, there is South Africa. Most people think of South Africa as a New World region, but it has a long wine making history. Some say that it has characteristics of both Old World restraint and New World fruit forward flavours. A balance. This balance though in my opinion, makes South African wines approachable to drink, and very food friendly.
Introducing Boschendal Winery
I recently was invited to a lunch with JC Bekker, Group Winemaker, from Boschendal Winery located in the Franschhoek Valley of South Africa. Boschendal Winery was founded in 1685, and has 333 years of wine making heritage. The farm covers 2200 ha and is in the top 3 premium brands of South Africa. They produce a wide range of wines; sparkling, still, red, white, and rose, single varietal and blends made from 21 different varieties of grapes.
Besides wines, Boschendal also has a restaurant and 100 individual cottages where you can stay for your vacation. The backdrop mountain scenery of the Franschhoek Valley looks spectacular to me from pictures I have seen. It has the first restaurant and first picnic grounds on a wine farm. In a recent addition, they do farm to table at their restaurant. They have cattle on the farm, a butcher, a baker, and vegetable garden. 70% of food in their restaurant comes from the farm.
While they have such a long wine making history, they do like innovation. They use amphoras, concrete eggs, etc., in wine making. They do make some small lots wines, which are only available at the restaurant and for the guests on the farm. So you need to go to the farm and have a great time. It is on my bucket list!
Pairing Wine and Food at Chambar
We each were able to select a starter and a main course for lunch. Mine was Calamari Farcis (veal stuffed calamari with cumin and cilantro spice), and seared Albacore tuna with mint emulsion. I will finish off this section briefly talking about the pairing, and talk about the range of wines JC had for us to try.
All in general were very good quality from their entry-level wines upward. Although not all these wines are yet in BC, I would not hesitate to recommend any of these wines. Besides the wine quality, I must note how beautiful all the wine labels are from this winery. They really look classy.
Boschendal Brut Methode Cap Classique NV – this Champenoise traditional method sparkling wine does have 10% reserve wine from a previous vintage added in. They do this every year to keep to a certain house style for their bubble. Not that they need to as JC did mention that the weather is so consistent every year that the wines are very similar. This wine has nice apple and lees on the nose. It’s dry with higher acidity. Crisp apple and stone fruit flavour. Some salty minerality and a touch of oak. Top quality bubble!
Boschendal The Pavillion Chenin Blanc 2016 – Boschendal does have a Pavillion on the picnic grounds of their farm. This is their entry-level wine, but at this quality point, it is much more than entry-level. This wine is wonderfully aromatic; full of tropic fruits, ripe stone fruits and honey. It’s full-bodied, dry, round, and soft with medium acidity and a waxy mouth feel. You get super ripe pears and apples, honey and toasty oak. There is some green fruit too. Long length with a touch of salty minerality on the finish. Wow. –
Boschendal Rachelsfontein Chenin Blanc 2016 – Deeper bright lemon colour in the glass. More pronounced, deeper melon and oak on the nose. Full bodied, round with a thick mouth feel. Waxy, citrus, ripe pears and melon,with a hint of sweet spice and vanilla flavours. Peppery on the finish. Very good quality. Longer length.
Boschendal Sommelier Selection Chenin Blanc 2016 – A wine made just for the guests at the winery’s restaurant. This wine has a very light nose, with pears, and honeysuckle aromas. Medium minus body, slick and soft, with medium acidity. It is dry. Light flavours of apples, pears, and spice. Again you get the classic waxy mouth feel from the Chenin grape. A very elegant wine.
Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2016 – The grapes for this wine come from 3 different regions, and 70% of the wine is barrel fermented. The wine is medium bright lemon colour. Ripe tropical fruit and vanilla on the nose. Dry and round, with medium plus body. Tropical fruit, in particular pineapple, sweet spice and peppery on the palate.
Boschendal Elgin Chardonnay 2015 – Elgin is a particular region in South Africa south-east of Cape Town, close to the coast, and cool-climate. This wine has aromatics of ripe tropical fruit, melon and light toasty oak. It’s medium bodied, round, with higher acidity. Flavours of ripe pears, tropical fruit, and green melon, with vanilla coming in later. It’s round and elegant.
Boschendal Chardonnay Pinot Noir Rose 2016 – This is a rose, very pale golden in colour. It was meant originally just for the restaurant but they now offer it for sale to the general public. The wine has a deep tropical fruit nose. It is dry, fuller bodied, with medium honey and tropical fruit flavours, and light toasty oak. Very round mouth feel. This wine has a waxy mouth feel and a texture that to me is more prominent than the fruit.
Boschendal Elgin Pinot Noir 2015 – Mainly using the Dijon 777 clone, which is known for its strong, intense colours and aromas. This wine is medium translucent garnet in the glass. Nice nose, with aromas of ripe raspberry, red cherry and sweet spices. Medium plus body, silky and round, with softer tannins. Red fruits, raspberries and red cherries, along with sweet spices and some bramble on the palate. Very fruit forward. Firmer tannins on the finish. Nice! –
Boschendal 1685 Shiraz 2014 (at Everything Wine) – Deep, dark ruby colour. Dark ripe red fruit and raspberries on the nose, along with a light vegetal component. Full body, round with soft tannins. Ripe cherries, sweet ripe red fruit, and hints of vanilla and sweet spices. Again very fruit forward. Some minerality to this wine as well. Elegant.
Boschendal The Pavillion Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – This blend is 60% Shiraz and 40% Cab Sauv. It is deeply coloured; a mix of ruby and garnet. Closed nose with light, dark fruit aromas. Fuller bodied, round and dry, with medium tannins. Ripe black cherries and raspberry flavours. Very peppery.
Boschendal Lanoy 2013 (at Everything Wine) – A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. This wine has deep, dark black fruit and very ripe raspberry aromas. Full bodied with firmer tannins. Ripe raspberries, black fruits and cassis flavours, along with some chocolate and pepperiness. This wine although 2013 still has lots of life so do not hesitate buying it. Very balanced. –
My Food Pairing
With the Calamari Farcis, the cumin and cilantro flavours really went well with the Pavillion Chenin and the Sommelier Selection Chenin. The Albacore tuna was a very good match to the 1685 Shiraz. The tannins worked with the tuna. There was also a variety cheese plate at the end, and again the Shiraz showed it’s versatility. Thanks to Chambar Restaurant for their excellent food and service.