Decade celebrates the 10th Vintage of De Toren Z

Words: Crush

De Toren Wine Estate in Stellenbosch is perfectly positioned to enjoy views of Table Mountain and False Bay, with a backdrop of the Stellenbosch mountains. The name is derived from the unique, gravity-driven cellar design which has a tower. Here owners Emil and Sonette, and winemaker Albie Koch, focus on crafting quality Bordeaux blends through a combination of patience, meticulousness and passion.

2015 marks the 10th vintage of De Toren ‘Z’ a Merlot dominated Bordeaux blend, with all 5 varieties grown on a gentle slope facing onto False Bay in the historic Stellenbosch wine growing region. This special vintage was celebrated with a beautiful paired lunch, hosted at the ever elegant La Colombe, located at Silvermist Estate, at the top of Constantia Nek.
De-Toren-1Guests enjoyed a wine tasting, paired with a stunning menu especially prepared by chef  Scot Kirton and his team, to complement these elegant wines.

De Toren Decade was the first tasting and being that it was the reason for the celebration, it was fitting that it be served first. This 100% Merlot started off the meal and was served alongside the Amuse Bouche – a signature dish of tuna tataki, served in a specially created ‘tuna tin’. A playful start the the menu that never fails to impress and always get conversations around the table going.

De Toren Z 2009 was paired with the starter – springbok tataki and tartare, served with foie gras and liver parfait wrapped in a rhubarb gel, asparagus and truffle.
The main course of roasted herb crusted lamb rack, braised neck was served with caramelised fennel bulb, aubergine and anchovy purée, parsley and fennel jus and was perfectly paired with a glass of De Toren Z 2004. The stand out dish of the day was the dessert, or rather the ‘cheese board’ – texture of 3 ages of Boerenkaas, served with pickled alliums, balsamic cherry purée, cumin and walnut ice cream and a glass of De Toren Z 2012. The dish was just outstanding – a perfect balance of cheese, with hints of sweetness from the cherries and ice cream. Each bite offering the palate a new texture and flavour – in a word, inspired.
The belle of the ball was of course, De Toren ‘Z’, a Merlot dominated Bordeaux blend. This wine stems from the same originators of the acclaimed Fusion V and is vinified in the iconic De Toren Private Cellar under the same guidance as Fusion V. The critical difference is that Fusion V is a Left Bank inspired blend that evolves through several stages of critical tasting panels, whereby ‘Z’ is exclusively a Right Bank inspired, Terroir driven wine. This scientifically based project was originally labelled ‘Project Z’, due to the extreme nature of the research and planning, however became affectionately adopted for the brand over time, hence – De Toren ‘Z’.

The team set out to capture the influence of nature’s elements by aligning rootstocks and cultivars to identified soil parcels on a chosen single vineyard and planting an array of clones over 5 varieties to ultimately grow a great Merlot dominated wine.  Winemaker Albie filled guests in on the intricacies of  growing good quality merlot grapes and it was interesting to hear that Merlot is a varietal that requires patience, love and intricate care… much like a good woman. This must surely be the reason it makes such good wine.

Winemaking at De Toren is not a simple affair. they make use of state-of-the-art Infrared Aerial Imaging, which allows for the separate micro-vinification of clusters of grapes from the same block. Hand sorting is also practiced to ensure that only the best berries are selected, no grape skins are ever broken and no wine is ever pumped. Each berry that arrives at the cellar door is scrutinised through 3 different sorting phases from the field to the cellar, with the final stage personally enforced by the philosophy of owner Emil den Dulk: “If you wouldn’t eat it, toss it.” It is this kind of meticulous ministration that produces wines of such elegance and quality.

De Toren Decade celebrates the 10th vintage; only 1760 individually numbered bottles of this once-off wine have been produced and will sell via the mailing list for R400 incl. vat per bottle. To own a bottle of this special vintage, visit the De Toren website and sign up to their newsletter. | Facebook

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