– LOVELY FESTIVAL, SMALLER AND WELL ORGANISED!
It was a good friend’s birthday over the weekend and he chose to invite everyone to attend the Fork & Cork Festival in Wellington for some celebrations. Great idea!
The festival was held at Kleinevalleij event venue which has the most beautiful setting at the foot of the Bainskloof Mountains – even under the grey skies of this past weekend. Being a smaller wine region, the festival was smaller and less crowded, which actually meant you could interact quite easily with the winemakers and farm owners and taste a number of exceptional wines from boutique farms which are not often open to tastings.
While you can try to taste everything, it probably won’t be in your best interests later in the day, so we looked for the lesser known farms and those we hadn’t tasted before and tried to find a variety. Below are some of the farms and wines that stuck out for us on the day.
We started with a Welbedacht MCC, you can’t go wrong starting with Bubbles! Dry bubbles and apple flavours make this MCC, named after the estate owner’s only daughter, a very enjoyable glass of Bubbly!
I tried to find some Rosés to broaden the summer wine options, but there are not very many made in this area, well at least they weren’t available for tasting. The Jacaranda Pinotage Rose was quite a lovely dry wine with the Pinotage berry flavours coming through.
Old School (Alkmaar Wines) have such a great concept going, with blackboard looking labels and the Old School theme of Masters, Professors, Mistresses and Reunions used to name their wines. We actually had a long chat to the owners of the farm and being a smaller boutique winery, one can certainly taste the hard work and heart that has gone into each vintage.
The Mistress was our favourite of the day, an SMV Blend (Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier). another reviewer was quoted as saying, “move over 50 shades of grey” here comes the Old School Mistress.
A delicious red blend, smooth as anything with some rich spice on the palate.
The Professor is a Pinotage also of great quality and The Master, being a Cab Sav / Merlot blend finds the best qualities of the two varietals and draws them out. Each vintage is appropriately noted as “The Class of …”.
Really great wines, we will have to pay them a visit and stock up on some wine education. Just as a note – being a boutique, their wine tastings are by appointment only and wines need to be bought through the farm.
Now honestly, if I see a Chardonnay for R20 I usually run a mile because it will probably have that overpowering oak and honey combination with the sour aftertaste – not pleasant at all. But the White Rhino from Linton Park Wines was actually not bad at all. Not award winning, but certainly a Best Value. The Red Rhino Pinotage was also very enjoyable for a whopping R30, I think. My cousin and I bought one of each to enjoy on the grass outside with the live band, perfectly suited. If you have a wine palate, but you’re on a student budget and would rather go without than drink some old plonk, you might want to get in on these wines… and you can save the odd Rhino while you are at! Everybody wins. We did find their stand later in the day, but nonetheless while they may not be award winning wines, they certainly get a “Best Value” vote from me and I would definitely enjoy them at a casual braai with friends.
The farm’s Linton Park range is also very reasonably priced and pretty good, the Shiraz has won a number of awards, so too has the Merlot. Next time you see their wines, you should give them a try and let me know what you think!
Bosman Family Vineyards is another ‘tasting by appointment only’ farm, so we made a point of trying some of their wines while we were at the festival. Great quality wines! We did not get to their second tier brand – De Bos, but the the Bosman Family wines were really good. The Adama Red 2010, a predominantly Shiraz based blend was very enjoyable, typical white pepper, mineral flavours with your dark fruits – lovely. The Optenhorst Chenin Blanc was also a lovely silky blend of almond and apricots. The Bosman Erfenis was another delicious Cape Blend, these blends are popping up more often and it is great to see. With an almost equal combination of Pinotage, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Shiraz (a little Cinsaut in for good measure), this wine’s red berry fruit and spicy oak flavours are fantastic.
After all the Shiraz based and spicy wines we had tasted the Doolhof Minotaur, which has many awards and we absolutely loved last time, actually seemed a little too rich on the fruity side this time around. Still an awesome wine, but worth noting the intense juicy berry flavours one gets when blending Pinotage, Malbec and Merlot. Shiraz, Cab Sav and Petit Verdot are also in the blend, but you can certainly taste the full fruit flavours of the first three varietals. A note to self for future reference and food pairing.
I am sure there were other fantastic wines we didn’t get to, but like I said, it is not in anyone’s best interest to attempt everything on offer. These were some of my favourites. What are your favourite Wellington wines?
There were a handful of small foodstalls to keep your bellies full. The roosterbrood which we had from Festa was DE-licious! I really want to go back to TWIST deli and restaurant in Wellington sometime, their food looks amazing.
Even with the grey weather, it was a lovely afternoon, a very well put together festival and great atmosphere outside under the tent with the live band.
On the way up Bainskloof Pass
Tel: +27 21 873 0075