2019 started off in a pretty amazing way – wine-wise. I know I’m late with the blog post (some things don’t change, or change only slightly). As always, I have a valid excuse – employment. Also, my website isn’t co-operating with me!! I could bore you with the details but you’re really here to see how awesome the very first #beccaswineswap of 2019 went and not to commiserate over January blues and generally wishing I didn’t need this job. So, let’s jump right in.
Last year, when I was using my friends as guinea pigs and trying to figure out this thing, a very special sommelier came to my rescue and allowed us to use his wine – Kumusha Wines. So it really just seems serendipitous that he was the very first guest of 2019. I decided to switch up the format this year (always using the friends as guinea pigs) and have a wine expert guide us through a tasting and of course it helps that Tinashe Nyamudoka is the creator of his own wine – a family of wines that keeps growing.
I was excited to taste the new additions to his range. On the newbies he worked with Hannes Meyer, winemaker at Lomond Wine Estate which is on the Cape Agulhas wine route and known for its cool climate wines. Typically, cool climate wines are higher in acidity, the reds more spicy with lighter bodies and the whites more citrus-y as well as higher in acidity. The grapes take longer to mature (because of the cool climate) giving the fruit intense flavour and character.
We started with the Kumusha sauvignon blanc, one of the new additions to the Kumusha family. This was followed by the 2017 white blend. Now, I am a notorious red wine lover and I am consistently exclaiming “I don’t like white wine” but I was duly chastised when I announced it this time. When Tinashe asked me “why?”I spluttered. If I walked away with only one lesson on this day, it was that it’s really unwise to limit yourself when it comes to wine. I know I will most likely always reach for a bottle of red before a white, but it doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy a white wine once in a while. We are learning to be open minded! I can honestly say the sauvignon blanc is not my cup of tea buuuuut, she was a straight hit! She was soft and gentle, less like the blend which I found to have a bit more character and a slightly tart. I’m more likely to choose the blend if pressed.
What I love about Tinashe’s tasting style is that it’s very informal and he’s a great story teller. Tinashe doesn’t teach wine, he enjoys wine and the simplicity of it all means that we interacted with the wine on a personal level – whether we liked it or not. He told us how, when he began his tasting journey, he had to learn to identify wines by the names of fruits he’d never encountered. To make sure he never failed, he would rather use the names of indigenous fruits he grew up with that he’d pick up in the wines. We even had a google moment, trying to find the English word for umviyo. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you love wine in your own personal way.
Oh, bonus!!! He didn’t just bring his own wine. I think vanity would make one super protective of one’s brand, but like I said, Tinashe loves wine. The Infinite 3 was a welcome surprise. I LOVE ME A CHENIN BLANC. (one of the few white wines I gravitate towards), and she was EXCELLENT. The common note is that she smelled like the ocean -(she smelled like an apple tree orchard to me). She was beautiful and crisp, Just how I like my chenin.
My favourite part was definitely the red wines (sue me). The merlot was exactly as one would expect, soft and easy to drink. I recommend her to anyone who enjoys a fruity, smooth red wine. The shiraz – big, bold, spicy (can you see my eyes get dreamy?) was my sweet spot. One of us won a mixed box of Kumusha wines for guessing the signature trait of a shiraz – the black pepper.
Watching Tinashe patiently and very slowly uncork the Fairview Cabernet Sauvignon from 1979 (yes, 1979) was super special. She had to be the oldest wine I’ve ever consumed and as an aside, I collect wine corks and I now have a cork older than I am in my stash. The wine was plum in colour and had some residue – from all the time she spent ageing in a dark cellar somewhere. I think the natural sweetness is what sold me, akin to honey – nothing too overpowering. One friend described her as musky (hunky man maybe?)
As we sipped on the 1979, Tinashe asked us to stand if we were bornat any point after 1979 because, as we learnt, it is customary in the wine trade, to stand when drinking a vintage that surpasses your age. And as I looked around the room at the people who chose to spend their afternoon learning about African wine from African excellence, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness. #beccaswineswap was created to bring together young lovers of wine and in that moment, the excitement that has been building since the very first day started looking like my dreams are really valid.
Thank you Tinashe, for always saying yes. Thank you to Ondela, for opening up your home to us. Thank you to Coral Zebra for the catering and of course to the lovely ladies who are fast becoming friends and therapy mates, see you again soon!
*If you would like Tinashe to conduct a Kumusha wine tasting for you in the comfort of your home, all you have to do is gather at least 10 of your people, rustle up some food, and he will do so for FREE! Give him a shout on any of his socials. (He’s also a great communicator.)
**In case you’re wondering, his wines are available at Open Wine at the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town. (Opposite The Test Kitchen)