Nitida Calligraphy 2010
An invitation last week to have lunch with Bernhard and Peta Veller, owners of the lovely Nitida Cellars outside Durbanville, I knew would be special! This dynamic couple never stop at making the experience at Nitida exciting and besides producing a range of excellent wines they have two restaurants, a mountain bike track, a rehab centre for wild animals and a farm deli!
The lunch was a six course meal prepared by the two restaurants, Cassia and Tables to show how versatile the new vintage of their flagship wine, The Calligraphy 2010, can be. This is the second Calligraphy vintage made exclusively from Nitida’s own vineyards since 2004 after they had an intensive replanting programme. Last year, the 2009 vintage secured winemaker RJ Botha the title of Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year and was described as the wine that “stood out for its multi-faceted qualities”.
The 2010 sees the addition of Petit Verdot to the blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. “Although just four rows of Petit Verdot were added to the blend, this varietal intensifies the wine’s lovely dark colour and its high tannin lends a beautiful structure,” says RJ.
The Merlot fruit is expressive within the blend and offers an embracing shroud of cinnamon, mushrooms, peat and Christmas cake. The intense spiciness of the Cabernet Franc makes it an excelllent food wine, whilst the round berry fruitiness of the Merlot and depth of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot make it both accessible and full-bodied at the same time. The result is a wine that delivers elegance along with the softness and drinkability found on red wines from this region.
“Nitida’s lower lying, warmer red vines have been grafted onto a special earlier ripening rootstock, so that they can produce perfectly ripe, full bodied reds from the cool Durbanville area more consistently than in the past,” adds RJ who considers this flagship Calligraphy to be a true testament to the Nitida signature of hand-made wines.
All the old traditional Bordeaux practises such as pigage, remontage and delastage have been employed in fashioning this signature wine. Every cultivar was separately harvested and fermented before four weeks of post fermentation maceration, pressing and a year of barrel maturation. Finally, after meticulous barrel selection, the individual components were painstakingly blended and bottled.
“Think hot cross buns and lightly roasted Arabica coffee. This wine is infused with leather, cherry and sandalwood and some dry tobacco leaf,” is how RJ describes this wine.
We enjoyed sipping the wine while waiting to be seated for lunch and looked forward to finally trying the wine with the six courses. The wait was worth it and the experience interesting in as much the wine adapted so well to each course! I particularly enjoyed the Calligraphy with the Spiced choc-chilli Venison soup, the Cajun tuna and the Irish Lamb stew!
Needless to say I loved this wine and have bought a case to enjoy now and to keep some back for later years.
Expect to pay R150.00