By Tim Ferguson
Posted in Promotion Wine
Friday 12th September 2014.
It is always a special occasion when we can catch a ‘flying winemaker’ on a stopover to the UK to meet some of our customers over dinner. Last week we had the pleasure of Murray Barlow, proprietor and winemaker at the revered Stellenbosch Estate of Rustenberg introduce his wines in tandem to a special menu prepared by Le Talbooth. So for those of you who could not join us for the evening I hope this round up gives you an insight into some of the delicious wines Murray and his team produce and talked us through…….
September’s Indian Summer allowed us to enjoy the newly released 2014 Sauvignon Blanc on the terrace; an elegant wine with crisp Francophile characteristics that powered up the taste buds ready for the dinner. Murray was keen to explain that the wine had not been influenced by oak, preferring to gain the natural concentration through extended contact with the lees.
Once seated we were served with a delicious Isle of Skye crab, dil gremolata with cucumber and shellfish cream. This was the opportunity to compare the 2013 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay with the single vineyard 2011 Five Soldiers Chardonnay. Both were a joy to savour with the dish, and I admit to not being ashamed at being seduced by the allur of the Five Soldiers. Left blindfolded in a room I would have had no hesitation to describe this as a Burgundian treat from one of the classic villages south of Beaune.
On to a slow roast venison saddle sitting in bitter chocolate with polenta parsley and cherries – dutifully heralding the arrival of autumn evenings and the need for comfort food! An envious chance to match the Bordeaux blend of the 2011 John X Merriman with the peer of the estate, the 2008 Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon. While the John X is designed to fulfil the pleasure of every day drinking, the Peter Barlow, by virtue of its barrel selection and patient cellar maturation prior to a team decision to release, signals a subtle caveat – enjoyable now but will develop beautifully over the next four years.
Feeling utterly content with the main course now complete, Murray related the story behind conception of the straw wine. An opportunity to let the cellar team experiment in 2003 led to the concept of taking Chenin, Viognier and Crouchen grapes and allowing them to dry on straw mats before pressing to obtain the remaining juice which by now was highly concentrated with natural sugars. The 2011 vintage shows both power and elegance, avoiding the clumsy cloying fruit of some dessert styles. A joy to match with ‘chef’s’ Vanilla bean bavarois with poached autumn berries and an ideal way to bring the taste buds in for a safe landing.
Again, a big thanks to Murray Barlow and Le Talbooth for helping us host this event; if you would like to purchase any of the wines tasted simply fill out the request form below and we will be in touch.
RUSTENBERG ESTATE –wines enjoyed with dinner:
2014 Sauvignon Blanc £12.25
2013 Stellenbosch Chardonnay £15.50
2011 Five Soldiers Chardonnay £30.75
2011 John X Merriman ( Cabernet/Merlot/Petit Verdot/Franc) £16.95
2008 Peter Barlow, Cabernet Sauvignon £30.75
2011 Straw Wine ( 37.5cl) £11.95