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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Dinner With Kleine Zalze - Past, Present and Future

Dinner with Kleine Zalze

Twenty years in is a good point for a period of reflection; a consideration of the past, an assessment of the present and thoughts on the future.

A short history

Winemaking has taken place at Kleine Zalze on a small scale since 1695 but it was in 1996, when Kobus Basson and his family purchased the property, that the modern Kleine Zalze was born. Over the last 20 years Kleine Zalze has built up a reputation as one of the leading family-owned wineries in South Africa and one of the most-awarded wine producers in Stellenbosch.
Over dinner at Medlar of Chelsea, Cellar Master Alistair Rimmer showed:

- past wines that established Kleine Zalze's reputation
- present award-winning wines in the range
- future-facing wines that express the direction of the winery
More than the technical details, I was interested to hear (and taste) the vision and ambition. However, what all the wines showed was an Old-World, elegant sophistication and balance, married with New World fruit and purity of expression.

We started with a Methode Cap Classique NV Brut, a fresh, elegant and citrussy sparkler.

Flight #1 - Chenin
The progression here was clearest; from Old-School substance to a more-modern mineral freshness
Vineyard Selection Chenin 2010 more old-school richness and opulence with a touch of botrytis and some residual sugar
Zalze Reserve Chenin 2015 more-modern style, with fresh tropical citrus
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin 2015 fresher, tauter, more expressive and mineral
Flight #2 - non-Cab reds
These were my favourite wines of the evening and all had a family resemblance, a supple elegance and delicacy
Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Pinotage 2014 smokey dark fruit, spice and minerality
Zalze Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier 2014 Rhone-inspired blend with red fruits and wild berries
Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection Cinsault 2014 violets, lavender and red-berry fruit
Flight #3 - Cab
The Cabs were, unsurprisingly, bigger, fuller and more substantial than the flight #2 wines, as well as more fruit-forward and international in style
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 library stock from Zalze's cellars with lovely, aged Cab characteristics
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ripe dark fruit and adept, well-integrated oak
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 sweet-fruited cherry, blackberry and cedarwood
Other related articles
Chenin Blanc Style Council

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