Earlier in the week, a visit to Franschhoek property Allée Bleue, owned by the Dauphin family of Germany, well known as manufacturers of ergonomic office furniture. Van Zyl du Toit is winemaker having moved across from Simonsig in mid-2009 and he was keen to discuss his vision going forward.
The tasting started with a pre-dosage Méthode Cap Classique from 2010, 50% barrel matured Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. Du Toit long had a hand in making Simonsig’s accomplished Kaapse Vonkel and this bubbly is nothing if not precise. To be launched soon.
Among the whites, white blend Isabeau is stand-out. The 2011 consists of 60% Chardonnay, 36% Semillon and 4% Viognier, 80% spontaneous ferment, full malolactic fermentation, matured in French oak for 9 months. It shows yellow fruit and attractive oak-derived vanilla notes. There’s nice palate weight but also bright acidity and the finish is long. I liked the 2010 vintage (see here) but I think the 2011 is even more focused (score: 17/20).
A somewhat idiosyncratic wine but not completely without precedent – Winifred from De Grendel is also a Chardonnay-Semillon-Viognier blend. It is Allée Bleu’s flagship white (R88 a bottle from the farm) and is positioned in the new premium tier of so-called platinum label wines which also includes the Pinotage 2009 (R140) and Bordeaux-style red blend L’Amour Toujours 2010 (R150).
Red of the day for me was the Shiraz 2010 (R87). It contains 3.5% Viognier and was matured in barrel for 14 months, 50% new French and 10% new American, the rest used. It’s all own fruit (apparently Franschhoek not completely incapable of decent wine) and shows good varietal character with notes of red berries and spice. Medium bodied, good freshness and well-judged oak, it’s nicely unassuming. Score: 16/20.