WINE O’CLOCK: African wines with a Waterford accent
SOME beautiful wine is made in Waterford but it’s not called Déise Delight or Vin de Dungarvan. The Waterford in question is in South Africa – the Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, 70kms east of Cape Town. That’s where Jeremy Ord and Kevin Arnold have established a remarkable vineyard.
European vineyards mostly grow a single variety of grape with, sometimes, a second and maybe a third for blending. But here they have used the excellent climate of the Cape for a wide variety of grapes to produce Cabernets, Chardonnays, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.
They have also made Waterford a centre for wine tourism. Offerings include a wine safari – a two-hour drive through the winelands with Table Mountain as the backdrop – and a tasting that pairs wine with handmade chocolates.
You can sample their dessert wine, Waterford Heatherleigh, made from muscat and semillon grapes or their top of the range The Jem, named for the owner and made from 11 grape varieties. You will need to go to a specialist wine shop to get the last one in Ireland – and it will set you back a bit. But there are other nice Waterfords on sale here at about €15 to €20.
Look out for:
*Waterford Pinot Noir 2010: Sweet, smooth, tastes of cherry;
*Waterford Estate Chardonnay: Single Vineyard: Scent of fig and a taste of peach;
*Waterford Estate Library Collection BB: BB stands for Bordeaux blend. Blackcurrant and blackberrry are the dominant flavours.
South African wines are not terribly popular in Ireland, but you may also find these from the Stellenbosch region.
Rustenberg Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon: Blackberry and blackcurrant again, with a nice smooth texture.
Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay: Barrel-fermented with wild yeast. Subtle flavours and a lovely texture.