Groote Post is a farm out in the Darling hills. The Pentz family, that own it, used to be leading dairy farmers. Peter, the â€œOld Manâ€ of a wine that is named in his honour, is a big, stern looking man with a trimmed beard. He would fit right in at the start of a trek. But looks can be deceiving.
Having sold the prize herds, the family embarked on a different trek, into the wilds of wine, encouraged by the success of certain sauvignon blancs that came from the farms in Darling, like the â€œGroenekloofâ€ that Neil Ellis makes. And being urbane fellows, Peter and son Nick had no trouble heading into the jungles of international marketing, especially after their first vintage in 1999 got good notices.
Darling is fortunate to preserve good natural acids in the wines, and a tasting of their older sauvignons reveals that the 2003 is still drinking beautifully, and although it now has prominent bottle age characteristics, the signature pea notes are still bold, along with floral, almost Turkish Delight tones. Which is pretty yummy. The taste, as in the later vintages, reveals softness and a slightly sweet flavour with good freshness.
So, with a good â€œregularâ€ sauvignon, they have now launched a Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2006, bottled with a Vino-Lok. At R90 from Woolworths, itâ€™s a good R30 more than the first and you get a wine with more: palate weight, richness and flavour. Plus an interesting closure thatâ€™s sure to get people talking.
To my palate, their Chardonnay 2006 is bold, wooded and rather anonymous in style; while the Pinot Noir is a fruit-driven wine thatâ€™s charming in an eager-to-please way. Both are now also under Vino-Lok. The other reds, a shiraz and a merlot, are also fruit-forward, while the â€œOld Manâ€™s Blend Redâ€ is a generous winner at R40.
As if their current range was not Catholic enough, they are experimenting with semillon, riesling and a sparkling wine. While I am unsure why producers tend towards multiplicity instead of simplicity, a sneak preview of the bubbly, made from early-picked merlot, is very promising.
As with most things in life, for the full effect, you have to go there, something I regrettably have not managed in a while. It is a pretty part of the Cape, and they have a restaurant thatâ€™s also open on Sundays. The Pentz family are very urbane Afrikaners, but they certainly have not lost touch with the heart of a country home, the generous kitchen.