Wine with heart: Winter warmers – sip by sip

Wine with heart: Winter warmers – sip by sip
Nicolette Waterford

By Nicolette Waterford

The first signs of winter is showing and it is time to crack open some reds to warm the spirit.
Enjoy the latest offering from one of South Africa’s premier wine producers, Hartenberg Estate, with the release of their 2010 Merlot, perfect for the grey Cape Town weather.

It is an award-winning wine that has already been acknowledged in the industry with numerous accolades. These include a score of 90 by US-based Robert Parker Group, a Gold Medal at the 2013 Veritas Awards and a 4-star rating in the internationally recognized 2014 Platter’s South African Wine Guide. This vintage follows on the heels of previous vintages, also acknowledged for their superb quality. The 2005 vintage received the trophy for the Best Merlot in the World at the 2008 International Wine & Spirits Competition in London. Winemaker Carl Schultz was named Diners Club Winemaker of the Year in 2005 for the 2004 Merlot.
It is a superb wine to enjoy on its own, but also goes perfectly with food, for which Hartenberg Estate has become renowned for. Inspired by the weather the cooks at the farm pride themselves on producing seasonal dishes that are paired with the wines, creating the perfect marriage. The food is prepared by a team of dedicated and passionate ladies who have been trained by Maia du Plessis (author of the cookbook ‘Halfampieskraal Celebrates’), as part of the farm’s uplifment project.

During the months of May and June visitors to the restaurant can enjoy a beautifully grass-fed Wagyu beef burger on a brioche bun topped with aged cheddar and Merlot braised onions, served with hand-cut chips, mustard mayonnaise, tomato relish and dill pickles and a glass of silky 2010 Merlot.
The 2010 Hartenberg Merlot is available direct from the farm at R125 per bottle (cellar door price), and at select specialist stores nationwide.
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The Lanzerac Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, a Gold medal winner at the 2013 Veritas Awards, is my next fireside pick. The perfect winter warmer, it is a wine which has been made using the finest grapes the Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch has to offer.
Winemaker Wynand Lategan describes the wine as displaying inviting flavours of blackberry and youngberry with hints of cocoa, almond and cedar: beautifully full-bodied, with excellent balance on the palate, and a lingering aftertaste.
Enjoy now, but this wine will mature for another five to eight years. Serve with soul food like roast beef, grilled lamb chops, ostrich, casseroled poultry, tuna or pasta. Available from select retail outlets nationwide at R120 per bottle.
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Another rainy day sipper is the Anthonij Rupert Optima 2010. Winemaker Dawie Botha describes the wine as displaying hints of cinnamon and cocoa, overlapped with fruit cake and blackberry fruit, with a light oak presence on the nose.
On the palate the fruity characteristics are prominent, with a more earthy and inky nuance providing depth. An elegant and refined wine with silky, ripe tannins and integrated oak backbone. It still has a velvety smooth mouth feel. A beautifully balanced wine.
Available directly from the cellar at R140 per bottle, the Anthonij Rupert Optima 2010 is perfect on its own, or best enjoyed with Porcini Mushroom Risotto, Slow Braised Venison Pie or Tomato, Black Olive and Seafood Stew.

Last, but not least is the Terra del Capo Arne 2009, a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot grapes. The Sangiovese vineyard is situated on a warmer site where afternoon sea breezes cool the vines.
The Merlot vineyard is from a different farm, where wines ripen at the same time as the Sangiovese, allowing for the perfect wine partnership.
Made under the watchful eye of winemaker Mark van Buuren, the wine displays an abundant bouquet of blueberries and black cherries, with a beautiful spicy nutmeg sheen.
The succulent, ripe rich entry is rewarding and generous. It is supple and lithe, resulting in a balanced, elegant and refined wine with silky integrated tannins and a textured mouth feel.

Available directly from the cellar at R125 per bottle, the Terra del Capo Arne 2009 is the perfect wine to enjoy with a hearty  Brasato al Vino Rosso (beef braised in red wine)Brasato al Vino Rosso (beef braised in red wine), Ravioli Bolognaise, Venison/ Beef Carpaccio with Parmesan shavings, Grilled Lamb Chops with Rocket and Almond Pesto or Porcini Risotto.
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