OK, it’s a holiday, but I’m in wine country, and so it’s a chance to add in the odd low key visit.
I agreed to lunch at Haskell Vineyards’ Long Table restaurant, with Keith and Rita Prothero. Numbers swelled somewhat, and it became a major event,with PR Nicolette Waterford, Richard Kershaw MW, winemaker Rianie Strydom and general manager Wikus Pretorius.
It was a great visit, and I was impressed by the wines, which I will write up in detail later. Rianie’s style is aiming at elegance over power, but she’s not afraid of tannin.
The Haskell wines are very stylish indeed. The vineyards are planted on the slopes of the Heldeberg, and are managed by Wikus in a way that’s a little more natural than that of some of the neighbours, with an emphasis on composting and cover cropping.
The Anvil Chardonnay 2010 is quite serious, made in a fresh, tight, citrussy style with classy oak. Haskell Pillars 2008, a Syrah, is really fresh, aromatic and quite meaty, with some finesse.
Aeon 2008 is another Syrah, with a dribble of Mourvedre, and is more formal with freshness and elegance its hallmark. Haskell II 2009 is a Shiraz/Cabernet blend, yet again showing real elegance and refinement. Perhaps the pick of the bunch (reflecting Rianie’s true vinous love) is the Haskell IV 2007, a structured, intense Bordeaux blend.
With lunch we had some of the Dombeya wines. This is thought of as a foundation range for Haskell, rather than a second label, and the branding is kept quite separate. I really liked the Sauvignon 2011 and the Boulder Road Shiraz 2008.
The Long Table is a smart restaurant. The views are fabulous, and the food first rate. I had a huge tuna steak, which was perfectly cooked.