Grande Provence


Instead of the usual after work drinks on a Friday we decided to go for a nice wine tasting.  Unfortunately so many of the farms close at 5pm and that makes it tricky finding one that is open after work.  Grande Provence tasting room is open until 6pm (7pm in the summer I think) and so we headed there to start the weekend.

The entrance on the main road as you head into Franschhoek makes you expect a large parking lot and grand old Cape Dutch house as soon as you are through the gates.  But instead you drive over the railway line and along the dirt road on a slow meander through the vineyards completely forgetting about any of the bad drivers you encountered on the main road.  The final stretch of the driveway is beautifully manicured and comes out right at the tasting room. 

We sat inside around the bar counter for our tasting.  It was a bit chilly as the sun was going down, but next time I would like to sit outside in the courtyard and gardens.  We didn’t wander much further than the tasting room, but it is a really beautiful estate and I can only imagine the restaurant, luxury accommodation and art gallery are fantastic.

We were in no rush, enjoying the stunning scenery and lovely evening, so we opted for the full tasting of eight different wines.

My wine notes below…

DELICIOUS!  This wine smells like apples, like fresh sweet grass.  It does not have the sharpness of lemon or peppers.  The grapes are brought in from Durbanville, an area renowned for its Sauv Bs.  You can definitely taste the pear flavours and a soft zesty finish, this wine is not acidic or tart at all it is really a cut above the rest.  The best wine we tasted here at Grande Provence and definitely a favourite.  We took a bottle with us to the birthday celebrations which followed.

This blend has a sweet, buttery sort of smell with an apricot ice-cream/sorbet flavour.  It definitely has yeasty notes and a cream finish as mentioned in the winery notes.  It has a very smooth after taste, almost a milky taste, its weird.  It tastes cold (like the flavour not the temperature) if that is possible.  An interesting wine, I’m not 100% sold.

With a light golden hue this wine has a lovely light butterscotch smell with a toastiness to it.  The wine seems to roll over your tongue almost like it doesn’t even touch, so soft.  A very distinct butterscotch flavour with a smooth vanilla and soft wood finish.  A very enjoyable chardonnay.

According to the TRH the skin of a pinot noir grape is much thinner hence the lighter colour and flavour of the wine.  That explains why they often look a bit watery when compared to other REDS.  This Pinot has quite a sharp nose and smells a bit like dirty soil.  It has quite sharp berry flavours, still light but very berry, more flavour than other Pinots.  It has quite a dry, tanniny finish.  All in all though quite a pleasant wine.

Apparently these vines grow next to Eucalyptus trees on the South facing slopes which gives the wine a hint of minty flavours from the trees (and my understanding is they would have less harsh sunlight being South facing).  This wine has a spicy cedar wood smell, almost a little metallic smelling also.  It has lovely juicy berry flavours, like a mulberry when it bursts in your mouth.  I agree with the strawberry compote description, that syrupy lighter berry flavour.  It has a slight spice with soft aniseed (maybe?) flavours.  With a dry finish and limited tannins this is a very smooth wine, very nice!  The soft, velvety mouthfeel and elegant, lingering finish description is quite apt.

To me this wine smelt like evergreen trees, like the smell on the top of a mountain when you’re skiing.  While the wine has quite hectic legs, the spice and white pepper flavours are more subtle.  It has quite a rich berry flavour with a smooth easy finish that just slides down.  It is rated as one of the top 6 Shiraz in South Africa.  I think it is exactly what you would expect from a good Shiraz, nothing out of this world, but a very good Shiraz.

THE GRANDE PROVENCE 2009 (Cabernet & Merlot blend)
This wine can only be purchased from the estate with a mere 3,000 bottles being produced.  With quite a floral nose this wine smells almost like lavender and pot pouri.   It is definitely a full bodied wine with full fruit and rich berry flavours.  It has a slight spice to it and a hint of mint from the previously mentioned eucalyptus.  With a lovely vanilla finish it would be great with a rich steak dinner.  A very enjoyable blend that gets better with each sip.

This fortified dessert wine has a lovely sweet elderflower and Turkish delight smell, it just smells delicious, like fruity flowers.  It smells like a dark strong red rose.  It has very strong grape flavours, obviously, but almost as strong as raisins.  It is actually a lovely dessert wine.  While it is very sweet and sugary it is not like some others that have a syrup feel to them, it is actually quite light on the palate and the overall finish.  I really enjoyed this Muscat.


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