08 March 2017

Visiting Springfontein Estate, Stanford

To Stanford. Low clouds made a seamless join with sea mists so when driving south from Hermanus to Stanford nothing could be seen of the sea or mountains, we were just enveloped in grey.

Through the attractive old town of Stanford, lined with restaurants and antique shops, past an impressive church and then 5 kilometres along a dirt road to Springfontein Estate.

I'd bought several vintages of Springfontein's Jonathan's Ridge Single Vineyard Pinotage over the years, and the 2010 was my Wine of theMonth for September 2015, so I wanted to visit the winery.

Platter's 2017 Guide says to look at their website for opening hours and info on cellar tours, but I couldn't see any mention of them so we arrived at around 11:30.

Outside the winery they were taking Merlot bunches in red boxes
out of cold storage to the destemmer

The tasting room was closed, but a helpful lady in the office told us it was supposed to open at 11:00 and did her best to rustle up the staff. No cellar tours because they were processing the harvest.

In the end her admin colleague opened some bottles for us, apologising she didn't work in the tasting room and wasn't an expert. I thought she did a very good job.

Inside the tasting room

The 2012 vintage of Jonathan's Ridge Pinotage had sold out as soon as it was listed as a finalist in 2016's ABSA Pinotage Top 10 Competition, so we tasted the 2011. I was disappointed with it, lacking fruit it had an unpleasant raisin - sherry like flavour. An off bottle, or was the vintage past it?

The 2012 Terroir Selection was everything I was hoping for with delicious fresh ripe fruits. Terroir Selection is a vineyard blend, whereas Jonathan's Ridge is from a single block.

Springfontein Estate focuses on Pinotage, as well as varietals they make Pinotage blends with both red and white grapes and a couple of 'blanc de noir' white Pinotages.

Instead of buying Jonathan's Ridge as I had intended, I took away the Terroir Selection 2012, the Limestone Rocks series 'Gadda da Vida' 2012, (92% Pinotage /8% Petit Verdot) named after the Iron Butterfly's 1968 album In a Gadda da Vida.

Other blends in the Limestone Rocks (geddit?) series are Dark Side of the Moon (Chenin/ Pinotage/Chardonnay), Child in Time (Petite Verdot/ Pinotage) and Whole Lotta Love Pinotage/ Petit Verdot/ Shiraz).

Tasting Room at the left, restaurant ahead at the end of the path
In the evening we opened 'Gadda da Vida' 2012, (92% Pinotage /8% Petit Verdot). It was very dark, intense and closed. Balanced and opening in the glass to offer black cherry and cedar wood flavours. I'd recommend decanting an hour before consuming,.

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