The just-released Tanagra Colombard 2017 is, indeed, a maiden release worthy of connoisseur attention, but its also a wine for all who relish unearthing the unexpected: - In this case finding a Colombard that, having been given star treatment, has risen to the challenge and proved that even cultivars that are not regarded as “noble” can be transformed into classy wines worthy of special status.
The beautiful little Tanagra wine farm and distillery a few kilometres outside McGregor village has established itself as a hugely popular venue both for locals and international visitors. Beautifully restored by Robert and Anette Rosenbach it is a haven of tranquillity in a valley where vines and orchards roll up to the foothills of the Sonderend mountains. The indigenous flora – mostly Little Karoo but with patches of mountain fynbos – is as lovingly preserved on Tanagra as are the vineyards, and Continental travellers make a beeline for Tanagra’s two “getaway” self-catering cottages – off-the-grid, stylish accommodation complete with plunge pools and sweeping views. There are other cottages to hire on the main farm, within shouting distance of the giant and ancient wild fig tree that shades the tasting room courtyard.
The certified single vineyard that is home to the Colombard grapes that yielded their juice to this golden-hued wine is 20 years old and this maturity is reflected in the structure and complexity of the wine. The nose offers fruit – subtropical, stone fruit with a hint of characteristic guava. Although fairly light-bodied there are hints of flint to round out the fresh zippiness that accompanies dry but fruity notes on the palate. Alcohol levels are kept to a moderate 13,5%. Wild-yeast fermented the Colombard spent 10 months on the lees before being bottled.
It’s one of these rare white wines that tastes even better the next day after being opened and having spent a night in the fridge, and reveals its character better if it’s not over-chilled. Production was limited to 2 500 bottles, and the cellar door price is R80.
What has been nicely proven here is that’s there is more to Colombard than its capacity as a major component of base wine for our brandy production.
With this unique release the McGregor valley has added another “first” to its burgeoning reputation for diverse and quality ranges:
Another limited edition from Tanagra is their immensely popular Cabernet Franc Blanc de Noir, the 2017 vintage having also just been released. Previous vintages have taken little time to sell out, so all wanting this outstanding “pink” (which this year is darker than usual, strawberry-hued, thanks to concentrated berries) should waste no time in stocking up. As before its dry, packed with berry flavours and presenting a fine balance between fruit and friskiness.
No blog about Tanagra can be complete without mention of the impressive and substantial ranges of grappa or marc and eaux de vie that Robert Rosenbach crafts in his charming distillery – here, as with his wines, innovation melds with quality to intrigue guests who sample uncommon products like quince and lemon eau de vie along with more classic creations. And few leave without clutching a slim bottle of his irresistible Tanagra Orange Liqueur, with its extraordinarily concentrated citrus flavours. (Tip for a festive finale: pair it with very dark chocolate sprinkled over a vanilla panna cotta.)
Tanagra is open to the public for tastings and sales seven days a week, but it’s advisable to contact the farm ahead if possible to make sure the owners are there. For more information, and details of their range of impressive reds not mentioned here, visit www.tanagra-wine.co.za, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.