Inspector Louis Albert Péringuey was a powerful man in the 19th century, in his role as Inspector-General of Vineyards in the Cape. Yesterday Gary and Kathy Jordan of Jordan Wines paid tribute to the man who led the fight against phylloxera, and who supervised the importation of American rootstocks onto which vineyard varieties were grafted. They have named their 2014 vintage Chenin Blanc Inspector Péringuey, ‘as Chenin was the first varietal we planted in 1983, that being the oldest block on the estate‘.
The Inspector collected museum artifacts in Africa, and moved to the Cape in 1879. He specialised in Coleoptera (the study of beetles) and prehistory. He was a teacher, worked for the South African Museum, and also worked as the Inspector-General of Vineyards. He has a leaf-toed gecko, an adder, and an ant named after him too!
The Jordan Inspector Péringuey Chenin Blanc 2014 was made from grapes on 32 year old vines grown 220 meters above sea level. The grapes were gentle pressed. The juice was barrel-fermented in second and third-fill barrels, and matured for eight months. Half of the tank-fermented Chenin Blanc was blended with an equivalent amount of barrel-fermented wine.
We met in the cellar, and tasted the juice of grapes which had been picked on Tuesday. Gary Jordan welcomed the group of writers, and told us that this was the earliest harvest that they have ever experienced. He added that they only received about 77 mm of rain in the growing season, usually receiving hundreds of mm. The berries are in perfect condition, and they are very excited about this vintage.
We moved outside to sit under the trees on the deck of The Bakery at Jordan, overlooking the dam. I had the luck of sitting opposite Kathy Jordan, and with her was the Sales Manager Jacques Steyn, winemaker Sjaak Nelson, and their new Women in Wine intern Ksenia Findlay, who has been on the farm for a week, a Russian who married a Scot, and who lives in Glasgow. Kathy runs the international intern program, to allow one passionate female with an interest in wine, be it in making or in marketing wine, to join them. Ksenia scored brownie points by having read the whole of Jancis Robinson’s wine encyclopedia in just over a year, a goal she had set herself! They missed each other by a few days when Robinson was at Jordan last month. Jordan Wines has local interns too, one of them being Lara Fäbinger of New York, daughter of Markus of Ill de Pain in Knysna. Important in selecting the two or three Jordan Wines interns is their passion for wine, and their fit in the team. They do not have to have prior wine knowledge. Every evening Kathy and Gary eat with the interns, and Gary introduces them to Jordan, other local, as well as international wines, to broaden their knowledge.
Our starter was a gazpacho with basil pesto and buffalo milk mozzarella, the final touch being a bread stick. Kathy told us about their restaurant High Timber in London, which is run by South African Neleen Strauss with great success. They opened just as the world economy hit a low, a tough start but it focused them on cost control, even now that they are doing very well. The restaurant has an excellent location at the Thames. As about 70% of Jordan wines are sold to restaurants, and the UK market is important to their wine estate, it made sense to open in London.
A board of artisan wood-fired breads (seed loaf, brioche, ciabatta) was brought to the table with butter, pesto and a tomato spread. Boards with charcuterie and cheeses followed, with gherkins, and topped with rocket and capers. Delicious was the chicken liver parfait. A Caesar salad with baby lettuce, pancetta, croutons, and an anchovy dressing was also served.
For dessert a selection of the baked treats made at The Bakery was brought to each table, consisting of delicious rich chocolate tarts on a salt caramel base, lemon poppy seed treats, and chocolate brownies, with strawberries. A perfectly made dry cappuccino ended off a perfect lunch.
Disclosure: We received a bottle of Jordan Inspector Péringuey Chenin Blanc 2014 with our media pack.
Jordan Wines, Stellenbosch Kloof, Vlottenburg, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 881-3441 www.jordanwines.com Twitter: @Jordan_Wines @BakeryatJordan Monday – Sunday