19 Jun Spier Private Collection Pinotage 2008
Frans Smit, Cellarmaster at Spier outside Stellenbosch, had every good reason to host a dinner to celebrate his recent achievements. Although the invitation initially was to celebrate his honoured five star John Platter rating for his flagship wine the Frans K. Smit he had another reason: the announcement of the Old Mutual 10th Anniversary Trophy awards where Spier Private Cellar was given the Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the most successful Producer for 2011. Besides this honour Spier received one Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals for some of their wines.
Spier Private Cellar on the outskirts of Stellenbosch and sniffing distance from False Bay boasts 170 hectares of vineyards. The 4000 ton capacity cellar is fed from the farms grapes as well as fruit from a further 390 hectares spread over most of the other wine growing regions in the Cape. Senior viticulturist, Johann Smit, works closely with all these vineyards to ensure that the stringent standards that Frans requires for his wines are met.
Frans’s interest in viticulture began at an early age starting with a diploma in cellar technology. He joined Spier in 1995 after completing his studies on oenology where he was top of his class. He believes in simplicity in the cellar, yet attributes high importance to grape quality He is also a self-confessed ‘terroir nerd’ and spends a good deal of time studying vineyard charts of the vineyards he sources grapes from as well as his own at Spier. He enjoys working with most cultivars and decisions about what goes into the six different ranges at Spier, including the Private Collection, are made based on style requirements and fruit quality. “The Private Collection range is very site specific” says Frans. “Volumes are driven by fruit quality every vintage. The terroir must deliver the style components I want”
At the dinner which was held in the dining room of the beautifully restored Wrench House in Observatory we enjoyed two wines from the Private Collection, the Chenin Blanc 2009 and the Pinotage 2008. The Chenin which was paired with variations of Beetroot served with Olives and Buffalo Mozzarella was bliss with its silky smooth vanilla and apple and pear flavours.
The Pinotage 2008 followed with a dish of Braised Pig’s Cheek, Crayfish and Scallops served with peas and sweet corn. What an amazing wine this Pinotage is, with its velvety colour and inviting aromas of black cherry with hints of savoury spice and violets. The palate is perfectly structured with dollops of ripe, creamy plum flavour supported by excellent concentration of tannin and oak. A wine that can be enjoyed now but additional cellaring will add complexity.
Expect to pay: R148.50