Western Cape Rosé

Both a designated coastal wine region and historical centre, the dynamic town of Stellenbosch lies 50km inland of Cape Town in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Three centuries on in time and toil from the first planting of grapevine by Dutch and Huguenot settlers in 1690  — an under-developed plot of land that local farmers had dismissed as vuilplasie (‘dirty little farm’) was gradually converted into a vineyard. Launched with a fledgeling white wine vintage in 1992, the ever-evolving Mulderbosch winery has seen a number of development phases, both in its properties and its wine crafting talent. Star vintner Mike Dubrovnic led the enterprise through a period of expanded profile, and now under Adam Mason’s creative winemaking guidance, it continues to contribute to South Africa’s revival as a reliable source of very affordable, accomplished and terroir-distinctive wines.

This week’s DéClassé featured varietal Rosé is made from the so-called Don of red wine grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon. With distinctively compact blackberries and a thick-skin, Mulderbosch harvests these somewhat earlier than if it were destined to be finished as a full red wine. This particular practice of fashioning Rosé yields naturally higher levels of acidity, minerality, and brightness to the bottled aromas of the fruit. Exploiting a local geographic advantage, their vines are planted in well-drained, valley terrain below the Cape Fold mountain range. The surrounding hills also act as a funnel, directing cooling breezes into the vineyard rows; a critical benefit that counteracts the grape-wilting heat of South African summers.

This impressive 78-hectare farm has come a long way in a quarter century. Along with attaining critical and commercial success, the eco-friendly farming strategies that they’re employing qualify it as Certified Sustainable. Moreover, sections of the property have been dedicated to a conservancy that includes the rehabilitation of wetlands; better ensuring that the biodiversity of indigenous vegetation and wildlife will continue to thrive.

Local rumour has it that, once upon a time, only Mozart was played in the cellar during the cool fermentation processing of the grapes; perhaps imparting some layered finesse and playful sophistication into the developing wine? True or not, a great deal of investment by the vintner has been directed into this attractively priced, and unique bottling – that should translate into you picking up at least 3!

MULDERBOSCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON ROSÉ 2016
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #999821 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 12.95
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: D

Made in Coastal Region, South Africa
By: Mulderbosch
Release Date: July 22, 2017

Tasting Note
This is a dry, medium-bodied Rosé that’s full of delightful lip-smacking acidity. With cherry, ripe strawberry and pomegranate flavours, serve this well-chilled to preserve its crispness. Substantial on its own as an apéritif or along with summer citrus-laced salads, Thai spring rolls, sushi or an asparagus quiche.

Niederösterreich Grüner Veltliner

20 centuries ago in one of the newly conquered lands bounded by the Danube River, the legendary Roman military commander, Tiberius, recognized the untapped agricultural potential of its fertile valleys and plains. After having subdued the Celtic and Ligurian tribes who were loosely allied in the kingdom of Noricum, he set about establishing a legionary encampment that would grow into a large and prosperous regional capital, Carnuntum. Apart from mining the ore-rich mountains, which provided high-grade steel weaponry to the empire, the settlements other success was in developing farming estates in nearby territories that eventually included Kamptal (Kamp River Valley). To fulfil a social philosophy that deemed wine to be a daily necessity for all classes of its society, from slave through noble, these ‘provincial Romans’ introduced terraced vineyards as an agricultural innovation. The technology allowed growers to exploit the underused portions of the sloped terrain; expanding the cultivation of indigenous grapes such as the one they termed Veltin; resulting in a significant boost of harvest yields and the local wine supply. In the modern age, this corner of central Europe has become known as Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), and one of the distinctive wines that Austrian vintners have become uniquely expert at is called Grüner Veltliner!

Primarily grown in Austria, Grüner Veltliner (Grew-ner Velt-leen-er) is a flagship white wine variety making up nearly a third of all plantings, with spillover into the neighbouring Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. As a hardy and prolific vine, its suitability to these terroirs is tied to the rich löss (wind-blown soils) that have built up in the geography of ancient volcanic calderas; settling over top of crushed stone beds that provide drainage for mildew-free growing conditions. As of 2009, Austria’s wine laws have evolved to include DAC designations for both Veltliner and Riesling wines in order to clearly distinguish between the regional sources of the grapes and to promote higher quality levels. Additionally, the bottling is graded and priced according to either a ‘Classic’ finishing style of 12.5% abv (with no wood influence) or ‘Reserve’ at 13.5%abv (with some integrated wood allowable). As with this week’s DéClassé recommended Rabl Grüner Veltliner Langenlois 2015, the ‘Classic’ version is somewhat lighter-bodied, unoaked and largely intended to be enjoyed as a fresh, zingy young wine that blooms with food pairing – and it does!

rudolf-rabl

70km north-west of the capital, Vienna, the designated Kamptal DAC wine zone is centred around the Baroque-esq town of Langenlois. Surrounded by forested mountains and ringed by vineyards, this idyllic setting has been home to Weingut Rudolph Rabl for 265 years and counting. In the mid-18th century, 20 hectares of the estate’s land tracts began as a traditional farm with mixed crops and livestock. After adding grapevines, the business remained confined to selling bulk wine in barrel to local innkeepers – up until the early 20th century. In 1986, Rudolf Rabl Junior was enlisted into the family business and progressively entrusted with his father’s passion; ultimately allowing the winery to expand to 80 hectares and bloom into one of the largest estates in the valley. The distinctive icon of a green Raven depicted on Rabl (‘little Raven’) labels marks their line of well-crafted, entry-level wines; consistently offered at an exceptionally modest price-point.

All in all, it’s taken some time for North American markets to embrace white wine styles other than the enduring stars such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Soave. So, in the spirit of more deeply exploring the horizon of your established tastes, add this varietal wine to your DéClassé recommended list of alternate, characterful dry whites: Sylvaner, Picpoul de Pinet, Tsinandali, Gavi, Pecorino, and Vinho Verde. Consider buying half a case while being reminded that Grüner Veltliner offers the promise of longevity in the bottle; making it a worthy candidate for some short-term cellaring, over the next 2 – 5 years.

RABL GRÜNER VELTLINER 2015
VINTAGES – LCBO Product # | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 14.95
12.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in Kamptal, Austria
By: Weingut Rudolph Rabl
Release Date: July 22, 2017

Tasting Note
This is a bright and elegant wine with flavour notes of apple, lemon balm and lime, delicate pepper spice, loads of ripe acidity and an intriguing minerality through the remarkably long finish. As apéritif, serve with Prosciutto crostini, smoked fish, or with mains of veal schnitzel, grilled asparagus and white-sauced artichoke.

Veneto Prosecco Superiore

Historical references to lightly sparkling wines in the Veneto region date to the 1100’s, though these were much sweeter in the 12th century compared to the popular versions being fashioned today. With the burgeoning profile and interest in this delightful wine style, internationally, progressive Italian producers have had to take pro-active steps toward guarding the unique, regional nature of their Spumante. The traditional grape family for the bubbliest of all Italian white wine styles was colloquially known as Prosecco for a very long time; likely to have originated around the namesake town that lies close by to the Slovenian border. The official rebranding of the name to Glera in 2009 now means that these grapevines can be cultivated and marketed in other wine-producing regions in the world with the new designation, but only those wines which specifically originate from DOCG Prosecco and its various sub-regions may be labelled as bonafide Prosecco.



Though the sparkling wines from Italy’s north-eastern corner are distinctive,  the vintners have employed and innovated the French production method called Charmat to achieve their form. After an initial fermentation, the second infusion of yeast continues the converting of sugars and provokes the carbonation that provides the wine with its bubbled froth. This key finishing step is done in large, pressurised Stainless Steel tanks rather than the bottle, and so results in a fresh, crisp fruit flavour with less of the toasted character that’s more typical in its distant, French Crémant cousins.

This week’s feature of Prevedello Asolo Superiore Extra Dry Prosecco 2016 comes from a hillside vineyard around Asolo – the picturesque walled town that lies 40km inland from Venice in Italy’s Veneto-Friuli region. This family-run winery is yet another successful endeavour by Toronto-area restaurateur, France Prevedello, who has diligently been at the forefront of developing several dozen notable eateries since the 1970’s. You can now confidently add Prosecco wine-making to the list of his culinary accomplishment.

Serve well-chilled and keep at a cool temperature while enjoying it in a wider mouthed
goblet rather than in slender stemware. Your brunch guests will appreciate you
having another bottle standing by, brimming with steely fruit – to top them up!

PREVEDELLO ASOLO SUPERIORE EXTRA DRY PROSECCO 2016
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #262881 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
11% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: D

Made in Veneto, Italy
By: Prevedello
Release Date: June 24, 2017

Tasting Note
This informal sparkler has an abundance of fresh apple, pear, and white peach, with a mildly nutty finish, wrapped up in a creamy body. Try serving with Brunch food fare or as a spritzy complement to smoked salmon canapes and savoury pastry appetizers.