A lunch last week prepared by Sunday Times Young Chef of the Year, Ashley Heeger of Test Kitchen, with superb wines from Zonnebloem’s team of three inspiring ladies was a delightful experience. Zonnebloem is both a trusted and respected brand for producing excellent wines which have pleased many wine aficionado over the years. I have in my cellar several magnums of older vintages of Zonnebloem Shiraz and Pinotage purchased at past Nederberg Auctions, which we still enjoy on special occasions.
Zonnebloem’s trio of ladies is headed by Cellarmaster Deon Boshoff who believes being surrounded by women has been very beneficial! Both red and white winemakers are women and so is the viticulturist. Bonny van Niekerk makes the red wines, Elize Coetzee the white wines while Annelie Viljoen works very closely with the growers who supply the grapes. “Their combined talents and skills have nuanced our winemaking.”
Annelie’s close working association with Zonnebloems grape growers is the result of an increasingly detailed understanding of the profiles of the individual vineyard blocks from which they source the fruit and the greater capacity to micro-manage them in the vineyard and later by the winemaking team in the cellar.
We tasted through the limited release and the standard range of wines from Zonnebloem and it was clear that these wines, made by Bonny and Elize, have been taken to a pleasing new level of quality. At the recent Veritas Awards Zonnebloem received several Gold medals endorsing this sentiment! If I was put on a spot and had to choose one white and one red from the line up, it would be the Limited Release Chenin Blanc 2011 and for the red, the 2009 Zonnebloem SMV (Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier). The Chenin Blanc is made in a dry style with intense varietal flavours of dried peach and guava which linger on the palate encouraging you to take the next sip!!! The wine paired well with Ashleys delicious Trout tartare with green apple, crème fraiche and caramelised cured aubergine.
The 2009 SMV, which is made up of 83% Shiraz, 12% Mourvedre and 5% Viognier, offered expressive aromas of ripe plums and warm spice which enticed you to the full bodied flavours on the palate of black cherry, plum and cassis. The wine was in perfect harmony with the pan fried beef fillet with porcini jus, chestnuts, butternut beurre noisette and sous vide red cabbage!
Expect to pay:
Zonnebloem Chenin Blanc Limited Release 2011 @ R70.00
Zonnebloem Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier 2009 @ R70.00