A Hidden Gem of Rare Excellence
SILVERMIST ORGANIC VINEYARD
Friday 30 December 2016
Every cloud has a silver lining so they say. Today was no exception. My partner and I made our way to the top of Constantia Nek yesterday only to find that the Silvermist wine-tasting host had left. We returned again today and ended up chatting with the wine-maker, Greg Louw, and the Sales & Marketing Manager, Tessa Melck. Wow – what an amazing experience we had too!
Silvermist is the highest of the Constantia Valley estates. It is the only organic-certified estate in the area and has been passionately developed by Greg for only 12 years to create his dream. Alien vegetation was cleared to make way for the Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines over the 8.5 hectares under cultivation. Greg’s organic practices include minimal intervention with zero soil-tilling, natural fynbos growing amongst the vines, ducks for pest control and fertiliser, and home-made composts. Pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers are not used.
Constantia Nek was buzzing with Xmas-New Year traffic and tourists, with long queues for the Red Bus, as we made our way up to the circle at the top. In barely a few minutes, we were threading our way up a winding road amid thatched lodges to the Green Vine Eatery. We had found a hidden gem and a haven of peace. There was plenty of available and comfortable seating, with stunning views over the Constantia Valley and beyond. It would be impossible not to relax fully here.
We explained that we were student wine-tasters with the Cape Wine Academy so wanted to taste the estate wines ‘blind’. It transpired that they sold two wines only so, rather than taste, we ordered a glass of each together with a delicious cheese board. I should add here that the staff could not have been more cheery and helpful.
The white wine was a Sauvignon Blanc and one of the very best I have tasted. It was served at the right temperature and glinted with a crystal clear green-yellow colour. The nose promised much and I was not disappointed. I tasted pear, asparagus and soft green fruits. It was dry, acidic and flinty and left a strong balanced complex finish. I knew from the first mouthful that this was very special.
The red was equally amazing. It was a gorgeous dark cherry in colour, medium-bodied, and with a delicious nose of blackcurrant, blackberries, cherry, dark chocolate and cedar wood. I am not a great fan of red wine but this was exceptional -smooth, medium in tannin, complex am with a long finish and strong aftertaste. My partner and I both correctly guessed it as a merlot, even though with added Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from the Swartland.
We lingered and chatted as we finished both glasses. I sense the word ‘organic’ to be much overused but on this occasion there was something magical about both wines. I was in no doubt about buying both wines and left with a half case of the Sauvignon Blanc and two bottles of the Rocket Dog Red. The individual and boutique nature of the estate was even reflected in the numbered bottles, out of 16,300 and 780 for the Sauvignon Blanc and Rocket Dog Red, respectively. Greg and Tessa joined us as we waited for the bottles to arrive. Their passion and long dedication – it took 10 years to produce their first wine – were immediately apparent. Greg told us how the estate survived the fynbos fire of 2015. He hired a helicopter with fire-buckets with an adjacent estate to ensure his dream was not destroyed. We even met Rocket Dog himself who is very much part of the estate family.
Silvermist was a truly exceptional experience and an estate I shall return to over and over again.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2015 Sauvignon Blanc – R150* FAVOURITE WINE
2013 Rocket Dog Red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz) – R320*