I am very impressed with Yonder Hill! So much so that I think their Inanda could become a new personal favourite. Also, we are going back there soon, which says something!
The tasting room is intimate and tasteful, with a display of nice olive products from Olyfberg for sale. From face creams and body butter to olive oil, jars of olives and a lovely vegetarian tapenade. The vegetarian tapenade was an added bonus because most of them have anchovies in them, which tastes great, but excludes vegetarians. It is hard not to buy something here, so we did some shopping. They told us they are renovating soon and opening a restaurant, which is nice, but I hope they don’t go too commercial and lose their charm.
They spoilt us with crackers, olives and olive tapenade to nibble on between tastings, which was to die for. I made sure I bought a jar of tapenade to take home!
They brought the Danilo Rosé first, and although I am not the biggest Rosé fan, this was a great, easy drinking wine that i would buy for the right occasion. It is fruity, light, not too dry, but not sweet. It is balanced, with a lovely light pink colour. I would drink this wine at a summer’s picnic and pair it with any cold chicken dish – chicken sandwiches, drumsticks, cocktail wings, saté, salad. Also a simple crusty bread with butter. For vegetarians, I will go with egg mayo sandwiches – Bev makes the best ones -and mild cheeses, tomato and green salads, or a dip like tzatziki. I think it is an easy, crisp wine to drink cold with many summer snacks and salads.
The only wine I had at Yonder Hill that I am fairly neutral about. I was not impressed but also not unimpressed. It was a Sauvignon Blanc like many other – tropical fruits but with a slight bitterness at the end. Not enough to be bad, but it was there. I just won’t go out of my way to get this wine.
I loved it! It is a pure Merlot and a wine I could easily drink every day. It was made with a process called malolactic fermentation. According to Wikipedia: malolactic fermentation is a process in winemaking in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Read more here.
It is fruity – I got strawberries and raspberries and a very slight mintiness that some people may question. It is very smooth and soft. I think it will pair well with foods that traditionally pair well with lighter red wines, but also a whole bunch of other things that are not really the usual red, or Merlot, partners. A good moussaka, pizza, cheesy pasta, or chicken casserole with green vegetables – beans, baby marrows, broccoli, spinach. For vegetarians, simply leave out the meat, keep the green veggies and be creative! Vegetarian moussaka will go well with this wine! Also, spanakopita, spanakorizo, bread or crackers, the Olyfberg olive tapenade… There are endless possibilities because it is such an easy drinking wine.
If the 2016 is good, the 2013 is simply wow! The extra time, and of course the vintage, made this wine a winner – literally!
Platter 2017 – 4 Stars;
Vitis Vinifera 2017 – Gold
Winemag Merlot Awards 2017 – 89 (Top 10)
Top12Wine Awards for Merlot 2017
• 4th – MERLOT 2014
• 6th – MERLOT 2013
It is richer, darker, has got a lot of depth and complexity, and endlessly interesting flavours. I got chocolate, dark caramel, maybe a bit of mulberry and blackcurrant… For pairings, I would throw the Merlot cliches out the window and go with ostrich steak or sausage, chicken spatchcock with mango marinade on the braai, oriental dishes with soya-sauce beef, and definitely my South-East-Aisan Pork Stew. It is a fusion dish, combining Thai and Chinese flavours for something unique but not so way-out that it becomes too “weird.”
For vegetarian pairings, I’d use vegetarian beef or chicken strips in Asian dishes, or give a vegetarian patty from Fry’s or Quorn a new spin with a Soya Marinade before cooking it on the braai. Also chickpea or brown lentil dishes.
This wine won a Silver – Michelangelo IWSAWARDS 2017. I am in the minority here, from what I understand! Although absolutely amazing, I thought the tannins are just a little bit too bold, and I would love to taste this wine in a year’s time. Having said that, it is a very, very good wine! It is layered and complex, with flavours hitting your tongue and combining in different ways creating a full-bodied taste explosion! While it is one of their premium wines and I really liked it, I stick to my guns – I want to taste it in a year’s time. Or 3…
Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does! Nicola may be number one, but Inanda is my personal number one. Inanda means “Place of Beauty” and the beauty of this wine is captured in every sip! It is a red blend, and a good one at that!
47% Cabernet Franc;
44% Cabernet Sauvignon
3% Petit Verdot
It is powerful, without being pretentious. Slightly lighter than the Nicola, and as smooth as soft rain in the Cape. I immediately wanted waterblommetjie bredie with it. (a traditional SA stew with a type of water lily and mutton.) I probably should have been thinking about more food to pair with it, but my mind got stuck there!
From the place, to the wines and the winemaker Abe Beukes whom we met, to Sherna who served our wines, Yonderhill was one great experience. Sherna was friendly and knowledgeable and engaged us with information and her quirky sense of humour. Abe Beukes taught me so much about winemaking in a 20 min crash course that I want to pick his brain some more and absorb information from him. We are going back soon to taste the premium wines with a cheese platter. I can’t wait.
On our way to the next stop from there, I went to buy waterblommetjies from Mooiberge. I promised Bev I am going to come up with a vegetarian waterblommetjie stew. A week later, I still have no idea how I am going to do that, but I will find a way!
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