Monday, June 19, 2017

Chamonix 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir, Franschhoek

Pinot Noir from South Africa is not as well known as that from Oregon or France. Just one sip may make you wonder why this is so.

Out Of The Blacksmith Shop

One or our great wine adventures was our trip to South Africa, which included a visit to Franschhoek, the food and wine capital of the country. Chamonix wine farm was a memorable stop on our tour.

The Chamonix tasting room is in a blacksmith cottage. Outside there was a spectacular view of the mountains and an elevated views of the picturesque Franschhoek Valley. The area was settled by French Huguenots who brought with them their winemaking tradition.

The top-of-the-line tasting cost a mere $3.22 US due to the favorable exchange rate. We were enchanted by the Reserve Pinot Noir and picked up this bottle for $22 US.

A South African Spin On Pinot

The Reserve Pinot is naturally fermented and is made from the best blocks of Pinot Noir, which flourish in the Greywacke soil. Greywacke is a dark sandstone soil with quartz feldspar. The wine is aged for 16 months in French oak.

One of the reasons we love South African wine is that although it is considered “New World,” the techniques and focus are old world. The wines have subtle flavors and a finesse designed to accompany foods – as opposed to the bold flavors of New World wines often quaffed on their own.

The Chamonix had an earthy quality punctuated by raspberry and rhubarb flavor notes. It’s a complex wine with layers of flavors and even a dash of toffee.

This bottle was none the worse from being stuffed into our luggage for the long trip from South Africa. With some wines there is a type of “buyer’s remorse” perhaps more aptly named the “winery effect.” A bottle sampled in a scenic tasting room leaves you scratching your head asking, “What was I thinking” when you sample it at home. But with the best wines – like this one – the memories of our incredible travels came flooding back with each sip.

Three cheers for Chamonix and the superlative wines of Franschhoek!

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