Waxing Lyrical about Canto
Durbanville Experience 4.0 Wine 4.0

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

CANTO WINES
Wednesday 13 December 2017
http://cantowines.co.za/

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

Everything was new at Canto Wines. Everything.

Canto

As I arrived, a staff member was polishing the glass doors on the impressive Cellar and Tasting Room building. The white painted shape, with steep roof, reminded me of Ataraxia in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley whose Tasting building was built to look like a white chapel in the vernacular architectural style of the Overberg.

Canto

Canto

Earlier, I had left Cape Town via the N7 to turn off onto the Vissershoek Road towards Durbanville. It was a road I had not taken before, under angry grey clouds that were trying to release precious rain. The road constantly gained height over rolling slopes of drab bare wheatlands later to pass a bright patchwork of leafy green vineyards. Canto is just past the Meerendal Wine Estate and at the start of the Durbanville Wine Route. Banners in house brand colours black and white fluttered at the entrance to make the winery easy to find.

Canto

Canto

Owner Marinus Neethling bought the farm from adjacent Meerendal in 2012. Well established Chardonnay and Merlot vines grow on 18 hectares of the 22 hectare property, neatly trimmed and tidy between the wide rows. The Cellar Building was formerly a function venue for Meerendal but has been tastefully and beautifully converted for Canto. Modern meets classic, edgy meets functional, wood meets glass to make for a relaxed and appealing Tasting Room. The open Cellar, with overflow space for tasting, was being cleaned at the rear of the building.

Canto

Canto

Karien was my enthusiastic tasting host. She was new too and in her second week at Canto having left Groot Phezantekraal where I was to visit at the end of the day. The Tasting Room had been open for only a few days. A well stocked deli fridge made for self selection of a cheese or meat platter or picnic on the inviting lawn outside with its spectacular panoramic views of the low hills beyond the vines.

Canto

Karien explained that the name Canto – Italian for ‘lyric’ – reflects the Meerendal origin. ‘Canto is the lyric’, she said, ‘to Meerendal’s big song’. It was only last week that I tasted at another Durbanville winery, at D’Aria, that also had musical connections and name. I wondered whether the Durbanville hills were alive with the sound of vines!

Canto

Unusually, and I was to learn that Canto does things in a distinct and different way, the first 4 (of 6) wines of the tasting were MCC. Marinus has chosen to focus the boutique winery on MCC, together with Chardonnay and Merlot from the farm. Each MCC was similarly priced (R173 to R188, though I would have simply priced all at R185 or R190), all Brut, from 2013 to 2015 vintages, and made with different cultivars. There’s always something special I feel to start a tasting with a MCC wine!

Canto

The first MCC was made from Pinot Noir which, like Chardonnay (Pinot Meunier too) is a key component of Champagne. The wine was an inviting pale salmon in colour, with tinges of onion skin orange/brown, and with a fine line of rising bubbles. It was rich in strawberry and sweet candy aromas and I noticed a slight spiciness from the Pinot Noir grape. The moussante mouthfeel was good, the flavours delicate, though they were short on the palate.

Canto

I rated the Chardonnay MCC the same as they were similar in character. Pale straw instead of salmon pink, fine bubbles gave yeasty and baked apple notes to the wine. It too was dry on the palate but weak at the finish.

Canto

Canto

The third MCC was a Chardonnay-led combination of the 2 cultivars. I preferred it to the first 2 MCC as it was a little fruitier with extra complexity of apple, strawberry and raspberry on the nose. The fruitiness made it feel sweeter than a Brut MCC and it showed better length.

Canto

The last MCC, unusually made from Shiraz, was my favourite and my favourite wine of the tasting. Pale onion skin in colour, the complex aromas of spicy strawberry, blackcurrant, yeast and biscuit were a delight. I liked how the spiciness followed through to complement the fruit flavours in the mouth and the fine mousse.

Canto

It was soon a change of glasses for the Chardonnay and Merlot. The Chardonnay is made from over-ripe grapes and is unwooded. It was a vibrant pale straw in colour and fresh and youthful to drink. There was a warmth and a complexity to the nose of baked apples, sweet lemon and gooseberry together with herbaceous aromas of green pepper beneath. It was clean on the palate, with some creaminess, with moderate acidity and an average finish.

Canto

Canto

I preferred the Merlot. It was classic pale ruby and medium bodied in appearance with bright and positive red fruit aromas of ripe cassis, redcurrant, sour mulberry and red cherry. The wine had a pleasant clean, light touch on the palate with mildly astringent tannins to the fore. I bought a bottle and shall keep it a few years for the tannins to soften and age before drinking.

Canto

Canto

I liked Canto. The winery showed a style and a class that sets it apart from the other Durbanville vineyards I have visited. The boutique farm is neither grand nor historic like Meerendal, Diemersdal and De Grendel. There is not the ancient farm feel of Altydgedacht or the populist tourist scale of Durbanville Hills. It does not have the open, simple Tasting Room of either D’Aria or Signal Gun or even the cellar feel of Nitida. The décor is closer to that of Groot Phezantekraal.

Canto

Canto

I liked how the different lyrics of Canto combined. The wine is of course what matters. The decision to focus on MCC is a bold one and it makes sense to de-risk by making Chardonnay and Merlot from vines on the property. I sense that winemaker Anneke Potgieter has licence to push boundaries – the Shiraz MCC for example – and I would like to see some experimental boutique wines made in the future. That too would set Canto apart from the other Durbanville vineyards. The wine labels were funky and different, almost hipster or craft beer in character (now there’s a thought), eye-catching too. The contemporary website aligns too. I wish the new venture well and shall certainly make a point of visiting in the future – and be sure of waxing lyrical about Canto again.

Wines tasted (bought *):

Sparkling:

2013 Pinot Noir MCC Brut – R183
2015 Chardonnay MCC Brut – R188
2014 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir (65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir) MCC Brut – R173
2013 Shiraz MCC Brut Rosé – R188* FAVOURITE WINE

White:

2017 Chardonnay – R75

Red:

2015 Merlot – R138*

Canto

You Might Also Like

Mutual Attraction

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Quantity over Quality at Durbanville Hills

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Blush-endal!

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

No Black Marks at Raka

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

It’s High Time Again

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

The Vineyard Hotel a Classic Vehicle to Showcase L’Ormarins Wines

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Latching onto Superb Wines at De Grendel

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Wheels Turn Full ‘Cycle’ at Meerendal

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Beyond Expectation

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Wines to Love on Love Street

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Great Value in the Swartland

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

More than Just a Destination

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

A Table Setting Fit for the Gourmet at De Grendel

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Altitudes with Wine!

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

More Still at Tanagra

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Iconic Steenberg

Red Chair in the Morning

Diemersdal has Six Appeal

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

2 Comments

  1. There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] Gun was within range of Canto Wines and easy to find at the top of the Hooggelegen Road. The shabby, potholed road slowly gained […]

  2. Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] to the area before for wine tasting and prompted to do so from my return route home after visits to Canto Wines, Signal Gun Wines and Groot Phesantekraal before Christmas. As with all roads leading North, East, […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *