Today is the tenth instalment of “Malbec World Day”, a day dedicated to the production of the Malbec grape in Argentina and coincides with the first day that the then Argentine President decided to transform Argentina’s wine industry way back in 1853.
It is a celebration of a grape that has become the flagship grape for Argentina, and although its origins are in France, it’s a varietal that the Argentines have made their own by making it in their own style, putting their own stamp on it and making fantastic terroir driven wines in classical wine making regions in the country.
Johann Olivier, sommelier and member of the Wellington Wine Route committee, says “The Wellington region is ideal for the cultivation of world-class Malbec, because of the terroir. He says that the hot, dry, summers ensure prompt even ripeness of the fruit, while the cold winters force the vines into a deep dormancy, which re-charge their energy to produce another bountiful vintage. The growing conditions align with those of the Left Bank, the spiritual home of Malbec in Bordeaux.”
Old Mutual Insure Wellington Wine Route will also celebrating all things Malbec in the next few days by putting the spotlight on three of our producers’ wines; Diemersfontein Wine Estate, Doolhof Wine Estate and Linton Park Wines.
Diemersfontein Wine Estate
When owners, David & Sue Sonnenberg, decided to start a wine business on their family farm, after the age of 50, they were truly ‘seizing the day’. Their Carpe Diem range is this dream of making world class, innovative wines from Wellington, reflected.
Carpe Diem Malbec 2017
A decadent blend of berries and plums, yielding to subtle liquorice and cherry tobacco aromas followed by lively and finely structured tannin. Although this wine is a great partner to rich lamb casseroles and gentle Malay curries, the best companion for this wine is a rich, decadent chocolate dessert like molten chocolate lava cake or Chocolate Pecan brownie, absolute heaven!
Doolhof Wine Estate
Doolhof’s vineyards have the highest elevation in Wellington and is the only estate that can produce Limietberg Terroir. They produce four very unique Malbecs namely Doolhof Signature Malbec 2017, Bloedklip 2016, Malbec Blanc de Noir 2018 and then the most unique of them all, the Doolhof Malbec Gin.
The winemaker of Doolhof, Gielie Beukes, is excited about the particular style of Malbec produced in Wellington. “Most vineyards are located on the western slopes, facing good afternoon sun. The terroir is ideal with warm days and cool nights.” He continues to explain how good judgement of aging contributes to delivering expressive but elegant Malbec, known for flavours full of dark red fruit. “Wellington Malbec are well recognized for its outstanding quality and are well awarded through-out competitions. These wines are full of structure, juicy, soft and supple, but full of firm tannins. Malbec is a cultivar showing the ability of Wellington’s terroir in the vineyard and in the glass.”
- Bloedklip 2016
Bloedklip is possibly one of the most interesting versions of Malbec. This wine is from a single vineyard wedged between two mountains, a barrel selection from the premium of each vintage from the Limietberg ward in Wellington. The grapes used for this wine is harvested quite early in the season due to the aspect and exposure. The vineyard is located on a steep slope resulting in a difference in the ripening of the top rows to the bottom rows due to different soil attributes. Multiple pickings ensure diversity and complexity. Pickings are always based on optimal phenolic ripeness and with different building blocks in mind to achieve the resulting wine goals.
The full wine making process takes place in stainless steel and the wine is left for 10 months in 100% new French oak barrels to age. After the first 10 months in barrel, the three best barrels are selected based on intensity of aromas typical of Malbec as well as structure, elegance and age-ability. These three barrels are then blended and aged further for eight months in the same barrel that was selected. Thus, creating a well-balanced complex single vineyard, Malbec wine.
The soils of this vineyard is marginal and very steep, Malmesbury shale in the higher areas and GlenRosa type soils down towards the Kromme rivier area on which the block is situated. This vineyard is quite challenging to work with and does not deliver equally year on year. Just like the saying, “drawing blood from a stone”, this wine is dense and complex. It is from this symbolic relevance of the stress that the vines endure in these marginal soils that the name has its origin, Bloedklip!
Bloedklip can be enjoyed with an ox-tail potjie, a well-aged sirloin or if you prefer seafood, chill the wine a bit and enjoy with an Atlantic herring prepared un-filleted over wood fired coals.
- Doolhof Malbec Gin
This very unique dark gin has typical aromas of juniper and botanicals, layered with aniseed, liquorice and sweet fruit. It is made from premium Malbec grapes from the heart of the Labyrinth (Doolhof); steeped in small batch distilled gin to extract all the natural flavour and goodness. Mix the gin with a plain Indian tonic or sip it neat.
Single Vineyard Malbec 2017
A rich, deep, voluptuous Malbec which is an intense garnet to dark purple in colour with vibrant aromas of violets, cocoa and black pepper. The palate shows richness and roundness with flavours of blackberries and plum.
- Malbec Blanc de Noir 2018
A delicate version of Malbec in a lively and fresh style. It is made from hand selected grapes from the estate in the Limietberg as well as grapes sourced in small batches in Simonsberg-Paarl ward. Light Salmon pink in colour with delicate aromas of crushed strawberries, flower petals and underlying white truffles. It has finishes with a subtle freshness of pomegranates and a stylish zesty silkiness.
Linton Park Wines
Singularity, heritage, innovation, variety and commitment come together seamlessly with each Linton Park vintage. The Linton Legacy was bestowed upon the historic De Slange Rivier farm in 1995 with its purchase by a London based multinational sustainability-driven group. Almost 300 years after its 1699 creation, our hidden Cape gem was interwoven into the prestigious portfolio and rich tapestry of Camellia Plc.
- Linton Park Estate Malbec 2018
This full bodied, deep purple coloured Malbec is full of ripe, juicy berries and plum aromas on the nose which follows through to a complex and deliciously layered mouth feel with well-integrated tannins.
For more information about orders of the above wines (which will be shipped after lockdown) email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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