Stellenbosch Terroir Tasting

This past week unveiled an enchanting experience for wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike at the Simon Wine Emporium, as the Stellenbosch Terroir tasting event in collaboration with the Stellenbosch Wine Route unfolded. The gathering centered around a meticulously curated, guided wine tasting, led by passionate winemakers. The focal point of this captivating event was the exploration of four distinguished varietals: Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon. As we indulged in this sensory experience, we embarked on a voyage of discovery into the captivating narrative of Stellenbosch terroir.

Stellenbosch, a beacon of unparalleled excellence in winemaking, has garnered its well-deserved reputation through a combination of factors. At the tasting event, we delved deep into the heart of the region’s landscape, unlocking the subtleties of its microclimates and savouring the wines that encapsulate the unique charm of Stellenbosch.

The core theme of the event revolved around terroir—an intricate concept that embodies the identity and characteristics of Stellenbosch’s viticultural landscape. This educational tasting offered us a rare opportunity to unravel the distinctiveness that makes Stellenbosch wines truly exceptional. The journey began by examining the taste profiles, varieties and geographic nuances that define the Stellenbosch wine experience.

Diving into the geological history that shaped Stellenbosch, we were treated to a fascinating insight into its origins. The ancient influences of a supercontinent called Pangea, followed by the formation of shale soils from a massive inland lake, set the stage for the region’s complex geology. The intrusion of Cape Granite Suite and subsequent erosion sculpted the terrain further, resulting in a mosaic of soil types that enrich every corner of Stellenbosch.

The omnipresent seabreeze, a testament to the region’s proximity to the ocean, exerts a profound influence on Stellenbosch’s viticulture. A cooling breeze from False Bay, accompanied by increased humidity, contributes to maintaining optimal temperature ranges for vineyards. This maritime influence, particularly felt in the valleys, fosters a conducive environment for grape concentration and flavor development.

Throughout the event, we embarked on a guided tasting journey, exploring the intricate details of each varietal. Chenin Blanc, a signature grape variety deeply rooted in Stellenbosch’s history, showcased an array of micro similarities and differences that speak volumes about the terroir’s diversity. Chardonnay, a relative newcomer to the region, demonstrated its worthiness as a premier variety, especially in the cooler microclimates.

Chenin Blanc Tasted:

Kaapzicht Kliprug Chenin Blanc 2022, De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2020, Kleine Zalze Project Z 2018, Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2022, Stark-Condé Chenin Blanc 2022, Keermont Riverside Chenin Blanc 2019, Oldenburg Chenin Blanc 2021, L’Avenir Single Block Chenin Blanc 2021

Chardonnay Tasted:

Meerlust Chardonnay 2022, Cavalli Reserve Chardonnay 2022, Uva Mira The Single Tree 2020, Lanzerac Mrs. English 2021, Glenelly Estate Chardonnay 2021, Delaire Graff Reserve Cbardonnay 2022, De Morgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2019, Saxenburg Private Collection 2022.

The heritage-rich Pinotage, which originated, thrived and matured in Stellenbosch, displayed its deep connection to the terroir. Lastly, the internationally revered Cabernet Sauvignon, a true flagship of Stellenbosch, unveiled its unique expressions, deeply rooted in tradition yet imaginatively reinvented.

Pinotage Tasted:

Kanonkop Pinotage 2021, Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve 2020, Lanzerac Pioneer Pinotage 2020, Longridge Maandans 2018, Meinert Printer’s Ink Pinotage 2018, Kaapzicht Skraalhans Pinotage 2022, Lyngrove Pinotage 2018

Cabernet Sauvignon Tasted:

Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Rust en Vrede Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, Warwick The Blue Lady 2020, Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Jordan The Long Fuse 2021, Hartenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Le Riche Ocean Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

The Stellenbosch Terroir tasting event provided a remarkable and educational insight into the intricate interplay of geology, climate and human craftsmanship that shapes the wines of this renowned region. With a meticulous focus on individual terroirs and varietals, we gained a profound appreciation for the diverse flavours and stories that unite to define Stellenbosch wines. As glasses were raised and memories created, the event celebrated the past, present and future of Stellenbosch’s winemaking legacy.

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