Monday, June 29, 2015

Môreson Family Winery: South Africa Winery Visit

Continuing the saga of our wine and safari expedition to South Africa…
We arrived at Môreson at just the right time during our first day of wine tasting in Franschhoek. We had been to a couple of wineries and the day was starting to heat up and our bellies beginning to growl.
The winery is located on Happy Valley Road and to get to the cellar door (as the South Africans call the tasting room) you walk on the cobbled path past oak trees and lemon orchards. We found a lovely location for tasting under a spreading tree. Soon our server Cara was pouring a glass of Methode Cap Classique bubbly. MCC is South Africa’s version of Champagne, made in the traditional method.
The Solitaire Blanc de Blanc was effervescent and a fountain of refreshment. It was less yeasty, and more crisp, than the MCC sparklers we had tasted at other wineries. It is made with 100% Chardonnay, a portion of which is oaked. It is lightly tropical with a hint of biscuit. It also had a delicious froth and persistent bubbles. This was Green Dragon (my wife) approved.

Enjoying the sunshine on the patio, we continued our exploration of their whites with the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. This was a tasty glass with tropical flavor notes and lemon zest. The playfully named 2013 Dr. Reason Why is an “unwooded” Chardonnay. This offers a full bodied mouth-feel and had butterscotch and vanilla tones. We were able to contrast this with the 2013 Mercator Premium Chardonnay, which had more of a citrus flavor profile.

As we progressed, the red wines emerged. Môreson was one of the first Franschhoek wineries to excel in Pinotage, the signature red of South Africa. Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (which the South Africans call Hermitage). The best Pinotage is medium bodied and subtly flavored.
The 2013 Widow Maker Pinotage is the best Pinotage we tasted in our excursion to South Africa. The vines for Widow Maker are grown on a sunny slope and the grapes are treated like Pinot Noir (with great care!). It projects bright cherry and berry flavors. It also has no “funk” which can ruin Pinotage. According to Cara the winemaker must carefully avoid pulling out the banana flavors in the grape – a sign of an inferior Pinotage. We loved it and lugged a bottle back in our checked luggage.
We closed our tasting with the 2012 Mata Mata, a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot. Unlike many blends you encounter, the Petite Verdot was prominent on the nose and the Cab Franc played a major role in the mixture. It offers rich berry flavor with a hint of oak.
Since we were approaching the lunch hour, we were in luck. One of the best dining experiences in the Cape is Môreson’s Bread & Wine restaurant under the spreading trees of the courtyard.
I luxuriated with the bacon-wrapped springbok, butternut granola and sour fig. The Green Dragon enjoyed a tasty ahi tuna dish. Augmented with some wine, and surrounded by the pastoral setting of the wine farm, this was exquisite.

Môreson is a top pick when visiting South Africa’s Cape Winelands. Franschhoek is known as the country’s culinary capitol, and Bread & Wine is a top pick for creative, balanced and seasonally inspired dining.
We heartily recommend Môreson.
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