Sunday afternoons in Cape Town, when the sun shines, the sky is a deep blue and the tablecloth begins to show on the top of Table Mountain, present many opportunities for excitement. The beach; a hike; a round of golf, some shopping perhaps. Or you can sit down and taste some exceptional wines at one of the best hotels in the world.
On Sunday past I spent the afternoon with Olivia Mitchell, the woman who with her Cape Wine Master father Andy and mother Vikki make Andy Mitchell Wines. It is a Garagiste’ operation, with the family involved literally hands on in all aspects of the production. They buy in their grapes from carefully chosen farms and then produce the wines in Greyton, about an hour outside Cape Town. Olivia is one of South Africa’s top chefs, having spent six years at La Petite Ferme in Franschhoek and guest stints at The Palace of the Lost City and the Taj Hotel in New Delhi. She clearly understands the flavours of wine, the science behind making wine and has the passion and energy needed for a small family run operation.
Before us were these:
Andy Mitchell Chenin Blanc 2011;
Andy Mitchell Pinot Noir 2011
Crooked Path Pinot Noir 2011
Crooked Path Shiraz 2007
and Table Mountain in the background….
The first, and what turned out to be my favourite wine of the four was the Chenin. Barrel fermented and left on the lees in French oak for 11 months. This showed off the best of the grape and had the mouth feel normally experienced with a wooded Chardonnay. The grapes are from 40 year old bush vines and the end result is what Chenin should taste like.
Second up was the Crooked Path Pinot. This is their second label, the named after the zig-zag path going up the mountain near the Gobos River. Olivia said that the Crooked Path uses the same grapes as the Andy Mitchell wines, but second or third fill barrels for aging. The wine is prefect for a long lunch on a hot day. Something I would take with to a braai, complex enough to work with a stukkie wors, light enough for the salads and easy drinking enough for a lunch extending to sunset.
The Andy Mitchell Pinot was aged in new oak for 11 months. The grapes are from Elgin and the wine is going straight into my locker at Bascule. It works for me as it gives the lightness needed for our climate, with the clean and complex flavours I want from a Pinot. All it needs is a lightly grilled piece of Tuna and you have heaven on a table.
The Shiraz was initially disappointing for me as I prefer a spicier wine with a bit more pepper and wood influence. I thought it needed the sun to have set and to be drunk with a meal, to get the most out of the wine. Peter Heeger, the Mayor of the Bascule Whisky Bar was also part of the tasting panel and shared my view about the Shiraz. So we waited for the sun to set, the Bafana Bafana game to kick off, ordered a variety of tapas and yes, the Shiraz is a great wine, especially when celebrating a Bafana win.
Another discovery that afternoon was a pourer called “VinOair”, which aerates the wine as well as making it easy to pour. Pop round to Wine Concepts and give it a try.
The wine is available from Wine Concepts, Newlands; Roeland Liquors; Hermanus Wine village, all restaurants in Greyton; La Colombe; Chapters in Pretoria and more to come
The Andy Mitchell Chenin goes for R 80, Pinot for R 150.
Contact Olivia firstname.lastname@example.org