Nederburg has launched its long-awaited, richly-fruited and plush Ingenuity Spanish blend now that it has had enough time in the bottle to begin expressing its potential, says cellarmaster Razvan Macici.
The 2012 maiden vintage is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, both famous Rioja varieties that have transplanted extremely well to the Cape's growing conditions.
Nederburg has been experimenting with these and other Mediterranean varietals well-suited to changing climatic conditions for more than a decade. Both the Tempranillo and Graciano were established at the winery's Simondium farm in 2004.
The new blend forms part of Nederburg's flagship Ingenuity collection, which is the showcase for the winery's most innovative and original wines. Grapes were selected from individual vines that were then further sorted at the cellar that is equipped with a top-of-the- range vibrating hand-sorting table for the exclusive wines in the range.
Macici describes the blend as big and bold with intense aromas and flavours, supported by smooth, silky tannins. "It abounds with aromas and flavours of ripe dark fruits and dried plums, tempered by some savoury notes of leather and tobacco leaf and well-integrated wood spices of vanilla and clove."
He was inspired to create the wine after working with renowned Spanish winemaker Simon Arina Robles, the technical director of top boutique Rioja winery Bodega Baigorri. Robles spent a month working at Nederburg in 2010.
Macici decided on Graciano as a blending companion for its concentration of colour, and for the firm backbone of acidity and weight it would lend to Tempranillo's intensity of fruit.
The fruit was cold-soaked to delay fermentation. The technique allows for optimal extraction of colour, aroma and flavour and gives a fine mouthfeel, good structure and accessible tannins to the resulting wine. "Even after fermentation on the skins in old 500-litre open wooden vats, maceration continued. We wanted vivid colours, aromas and an explosion of flavour in the mouth but also depth, complexity and staying power, and a very approachable texture."
Unusually, the wine underwent double first-fill barrel maturation. It first spent three months in first-fill American oak, followed by another 14 months in first-fill French oak.
"The wine needs the wood. It provides a well-balanced counter to the fruitiness and enriches it, imparting excellent structure so it manages to be very approachable but serious at the same time."
He says it can be cellared for at least 10 to 15 years with excellent results but is obviously sufficiently aged now, after some time in the bottle, to give great enjoyment.
He recommends serving it with bold-flavoured, robust dishes prepared with a bite of spice, such as paella, game fish, chorizo, grilled venison, beef or pork, smoked meats and also dishes featuring roasted brinjals, peppers and mushrooms.
Locally, it is available from the farm, via www.vinoteque.co.za, and from selected wine specialists in the major centres. It retails for around R280 a bottle.
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