Upon receiving the invitation to meet a Baroness and a Count atop a hill I initially wondered what the hell Tim James and Michael Fridjhon were doing together in public. Shaking hands, sweaty with anticipation, permitted me ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ just ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ to read to the next paragraph which said this wine gig was at the Capaia Winery, owned by a Baroness and having the pleasure of a Count as a wine consultant.
“Better than a kick in the head” I thought, and took the N7 out of Cape Town, turning right to negotiate a hill where the Capaia Winery awaits in the wine region of Philadelphia which straddles Durbanville and the Swartland.
This was my first visit to Capaia, and despite a bottle of red once shared with the gorgeous model Tammy Ann-Fortuin (situation undisclosed) I knew diddly squat about this winery, nor its wines.
It was thus with the relief of standing on the threshold of vinous enlightenment that I sat down with a bunch of mostly unfamiliar persons with a whack of glasses filled with red wine before us. All was to be revealed.
And how. The revealing was done by Comte Stephan von Neipperg, who ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ as I was informed by French wine expert Fiona McDonald ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ is a hotshot in Bordeaux.
Well, he certainly played the part.
Dressed in designer jeans, crisp pin-strip shirt and with a brightly coloured silk hanky strategically pointing from his tweed jacket, Comte Stephan appeared stylish enough to make Anthony Hamilton Russell look as sartorially sussed as Jan Boland Coetzee.
The wines before us were components for the Capaia Bordeaux blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ all 2009 ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ and were still lurking in the barrel,
Using an exotic blend of German and French sounding English, Comte took us through the wines, telling us what they were like and why he deemed Capaia’s terroir to do the trick.
All four were brooding, heavy wines ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ although not as heavily brooding as the place’s owner, Baroness Ingrid von Essen, who watched the guests sniffing, swirling and spitting. She is an imposing figure: I made a point of appearing especially enthusiastic during my actions, scribbling notes with concentrated attentiveness lest she call a gang of gothic creatures to lock me up somewhere small and cold, where there is no light.
The Comte says his wines should last, and last long. Well, if this were the criteria, these should stand the test of time. The wines were inky with cloying tannins and immense power. Classically Pauillac in forcefulness, especially the Cabernet Sauvignon which I would not mind seeing a bit of singular treatment.
The fruit was still cloaked in darkness, although the Cabernet Franc did show some black-berry.
What I missed, was a hint of freshness in the wines. Perhaps the wines are still too young and like all youngsters they are trying to impress with the big-ballsiness. Time in the soil will hopefully give the fruit a bit of composure, allowing for a bright and freshy angle to the current tannic monsters that they are.
After the tasting we stood around trying to catch and audience with the Count. I tried to sound clever by asking him if he does not believe in making up his blends before they go to barrel, to which the answer was no.
We had some Capaia 2007 which showed that the wine does tend to open up a little, although I think the property’s potential is only really going to get going once the vines are over 10 years old. If there’s a tasting going then, well, count me in.
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