Spioenkop Riesling – not as sweet as you’d expect
14 October 2016
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Jenny Crwys–Williams : This is the second weekend in October, I’m joined by Wikus Human, Sommelier and Assistant Manager at Marble. Wikus, you studied for a BCom Tourism, so I’m thinking, what drove you to wine? Because this is a very long journey and tourism, I think it’s quite hot in South Africa, but not necessarily linked with wine.
Wikus Human: Yes, definitely tourism is very hot in SA. I was an exchange student in high school and I went to Germany for three months. That’s why I learnt the language of Germany and just the culture of the German people.
When I came back I decided let me go and study BCom Tourism and open up a travel agency cause I can speak fluent German. I really want to teach the Germans more about SA and just invite them to come over. Because most of them are very scared to come over because they think it’s very dangerous.
I started working at a hotel, I thought I must somewhere start in a hotel industry and worked at the reception for six months. Then once somebody actually bought me a glass of wine, that’s actually the wine we’re doing today, it’s from the same wine farm. He said: Taste this.
The first sip that I took, I didn’t expect these flavours to come out of this wine, the nuances to come out of the wine. It just drove me further on to go and study how is this made? Where does this come from? How it’s even possible to taste these things in wine and that’s where all the passion started.
A love for wines from the Elgin region
JCW: Tell us what your weekend wine is?
WH: For this weekend I chose a wine from the Elgin region. I’m very in love with the Elgin region, I love the cooler climates. I went with the Spioenkop Riesling, currently running at a 2015 vintage. Rieslings of course come in the long little slim bottle.
The winemaker here is Koen Roos and the grape varietal is a visor Riesling. People think Riesling, everyone thinks sweet, this is not sweet at all. This is actually a bone dry Riesling with aromas of flintiness. There’s some green nuances, some floral notes, white stone fruits and of course that taint of petrol that we all know is on Rieslings.
Onto the palate these floral notes carry through with these white stone fruits and of course the most important thing in Riesling is the high acidity. This makes this wine absolutely amazing with fatty meats. Something like pork belly, bacon, curries, raw fish, this wine is just so accessible. Once again, alcohol at 12.5%, it doesn’t overpower your food tastes at all.
JCW: Could you do sashimi with this, is this the perfect companion to sashimi?
WH: Definitely, this is a raw fish, sashimi has of course a bit of fattiness in it. It depends if you’re having salmon as well and the acidity of the Riesling is going to cut through it absolutely beautifully.
Drier Riesling are delightful
JCW: It sounds gorgeous and Riesling has been, in South Africa at any rate, a little bit out of fashion for some time hasn’t it?
WH: Yes, I think people have been turned away from Riesling because it’s maybe sweet and people are not expecting the more dry styles of Rieslings. I pick it up quite a lot at the restaurant, if I recommend, people say: We don’t want red wine with our meat today. Well, why not have a Riesling, it’s got the acidity.
Oh, we don’t like sweet wine. Hold on, there are dry styles of Riesling and especially this Riesling from Koen Roos. He’s got no irrigation on his farm, these grapes basically have to source in the roots for all the minerals to get it into that grape. It just makes this wine absolutely amazing.
JCW: I’m getting a Riesling feeling! Join us again for another episode of Old Mutual Live Wine edition, on mobile, on digital, on demand.