13 January 2010

Videos: Altydgedacht Estate cellar and vineyards.

I was very impressed with the poise and elegance of Altydgedacht Estate 's delicious 2008 Pinotage when I tasted it for the first time a few months ago. I was manning the Pinotage Association stand at the Wines of South Africa London Mega Tasting in October and this wine got many positive comments.

Etienne Louw made the wine and he invited me to the farm in Durbanville to meet him and owners John & Ollo Parker.

I asked Etienne to tell me about his Pinotage.

The Parkers are the fifth generation to own the farm, which is quite large at 412h and stretches up the side of a high hill. Here the chill sea wind drops the temperature dramatically and its where the Parkers grow Sauvignon Blanc that the Durbanville area is rightly famous for.

A little lower are their Pinotage vineyards. Much of Altydgedacht's vines are farmed on contract basis for wineries such as Nederburg. A central block of Pinotage, marked by coloured ribbons tied to the end of the trellis, are reserved for Altydgedacht and it is these that made the 2008 wine that won the 2009 Top 10 competition -- the first Durbanville wine to do so.

Ollo showed me how he managed the block, pulling out leaves to allow air flow. We're quite high and exposed up here, you can hear the wind buffeting the camera. First I ask Ollo how to pronounce Altydgedacht -- he suggest English speakers should try saying 'I'll take a duck'

Not all the farm grows vines: the Parkers also grow grain and reserve large tracts of the original renosterveld vegetation, on which Ollo's wife is an expert. Ruth Parker wrote the book Renosterveld: A Wilderness Exposed. Her husband, Ollo, is the cellarmaster while brother John is viticulturist.

Etienne arrived in 2006 to take over winemaking duties. He has many plans. He used to work at sparkling wine specialists J C LeRoux and he is experimenting with a methode cap classique at Altydgedacht, and the un-degorged bottle I tried was impressive.

But old favourites are safe. Altydgedacht make one of the Cape's few Gewurtztraminer wines, a nice example which, they tell me, is very popular in America. They also make a rare Barbera, a variety they pioneered, and which I later greatly enjoyed with pasta.

On the way down from the vineyards Ollo stopped to fasten some loose vines. I was intrigued by the tool he used that seemed to work by just pointing at the vine.


No comments:

Post a Comment