Again 2 winery visits where I didn’t take many tasting notes.. But both were already worthwile for the beauty of the facilities and friendliness of the people working there, so I’m gonna post a couple of pictures at least. I guess this friendly atmosphere also distracts one from taking propper notes.
Again what a nice architecture. One must think that winemakers in South Africa are quite wealthy. At the entrance of Tokara estate, an artsy metal tree greets us.
Wine tasting at Tokara is completely free of charge, which is rather an exception in Stellenbosch. As for the quality: while the Platter guide awards many of Tokara’s wines with 4 or 4,5 stars out of 5, I have to say that I wasn’t too stunned.
Just a minute away from Tokara, on the other side of the road which leads from Stellenbosch to Franschoek, one finds Delaire Graff. Interestingly, the winery has been founded by the man who brought us there himself, John Platter, author of SA’s most read wine guide. In 2003, diamond tycoon Laurence Graff bought the estate and invested massively, bringing it to the latest standards of technology and adding a luxurious hotel and tasting room. Parts of his art collection can be admired throughout the premises.
We’ve been nicely seated on the terrace, which unfortunately didn’t benefit from a nice breeze on this very hot afternoon. the wines being served at “room temperature”, it all didn’t really help to show us their best side.
But on the other hand we’ve been very well entertained by our young server Rachel who explained the wines with verve and showed a refreshing genuine passion for the topic.
We tried 2 Sauvignon Blanc, one Chardonnay and 2 reds.
Both Sauvignon Blanc’s were of 2010, the second one though, named coastal cuvée, has 5% Sémillon added. SB number 1, the 2010 estate Sauvignon, is a typical grassy, crisp representor of its species while the cuvée has a slightly citrussy edge to it and maybe also some herbal freshness in the nose. At the end of the day, I opted for buying a bottle of the forbidden third SB, “2008 Reserve” which is on sale but not poured for tasting due to limited stocks. I am still to find out how that one will show.
The Delaire Chardonnay was well made, but one of these typical ones with strong butterscotch in the nose which doesn’t tempt me too much.
Then the reds. 2009 Shiraz was a nice one. Red Berries and an appealing smoky element in the nose, reminding bay leafs or earth if you will. Powder-like tannins and nice structure on the palate are completing the picture.
2008 Botmanskop, a Bordeaux-style cuvée showed a mixed performance. I guess it’s the warmth that brought out a distinct glue tone next to the minty freshness and cassis in the nose. On the palate, again nice cassis fruit and well integrated tannins, balanced by a fresh acidity.