Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MORESON Vineyards, Happy Valley, S. A. With Hannes Meyer(Winery Manager ), Clayton Reabow ( Winemaker ) & Richard Friedman Thursday, Mar. 19th, 2009

The morning sun , that's what the word Moreson means and John Morrison and I arrived there at least once in the morning ( our second day ). Wow! This was something else, really : the whole experience from start to finish which included many parts from saying " hello " to many of the cheerful, energetic, youthful and bright, professional staff in their office. Their smiles say it all. Look at their smiles, especially the lovely brunette seated at her desk by the door working at the computer. What's her name? I feel bad now that I cannot recall it, cannot recall the name of many of the people that I encountered on this wonderful trip. It's a good thing that there are business cards and that I have some of them as well as Theresa Morrison's " Winelands " book which I had many of them sign copies of ( one for John & Theresa Morrison, owners of Boutique Imports and my hosts for this trip , and one copy for me ) signed.

I will have to check later the book which I have now at work at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 ) where I manage the wine department with Mike Martin. Some are signed in English and some in Africans. I will add some of them here as I have time.

It's a complicated task this one of mine of recording and telling in prose, stories, anecdotes, phrases and many pictures this amazing first-time visit of mine to Africa ( South Africa in this case ). I can't wait to download the video clips that I took with sound. That will be special, too. For the time-being these pictures will have to satisfy you. I am sorry that so many of them are tinted in hues of reds and pinks and grays. My " new " camera was playing tricks on me and I did not even know it at the time. The pictures are meant as a caring record from me of all the wonderful people, places, etcetera that I visited in this short-stunning week with John Morrison which has now added immeasurably to me, my life and my wealth of intangible, without-price experiences.

I arrived with John and we were greeted by a nice gift shop, restaurant and garden all there close together and next to the winery, cellars and offices off back and to the left. We had to find our way through the restaurant of happy diners and saw the lion fountain and the other Bacchus/cherubs' fountain, stream amid many colorful flowers as we wound our way over to the offices where Hannes, Clayton and the lovely brunette all awaited us. I just missed meeting the owner as he had to fly to Johannesburg that morning I believe.

Hannes Meyer, the vineyard and cellar master lead us around at first and showed us the MORESON bubbly being corked properly with corks and not the bottle caps. I've taken pictures of that and included them here. We got to see it all as it was occurring and to try some of the bubbly there, on the spot with Hannes. I loved the Cape brut and loved it's brightness and head and crispness of softer palate of flavors with great citrus accents, too.

Next winemaker Clayton Reabow joined us and took us through a series of tastings from the stainless steel tanks where the whites and the reds were still fermenting - one day, two days, one week, two weeks : and then we tried from the barrels and enjoyed the full bevy of wines from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blancs, Chenin Blancs, Merlots, Malbec ( yes, a Malbec, the second one they have made! ), Cabernet, Petit Verdot ( I love these Petit Verdots and believe that South Africa should start bottling them and not blending them - they will add something nice to our whole world of wine experiences in my humble opinion ), Shiraz ... am I forgetting anything? I probably am.

This visit was very visual for me. I am an artist and I like to share and record memories in an artistic fashion. I feel strongly that more of these wine moments should be recorded and shared to add to the mountains of technical reports, scores, reviews and points that we mostly have at our disposal. I want to get behind the wine to discover about it's people and who makes and pays for it and what their personal involvement/commitment and purpose is. What motivates them, why do they do all of this?

Both Hannes and Clayton are very young and completely devoted to their jobs. They both gave us excellent tours. I also photographed a young lady, a brunette that was working I believe analyzing and recording the various states of development of these wines as she went from stainless steel to another and back to her desk in the cellars.

Later we met an older black man that had been at MORESON LONGER and made some of the older ones. Here in their tasting room we tried one of this gentleman's wines and I really enjoyed it for it's development and maturity, complexity, depths from highs and lows to solid middle range flavors, too as well as it's classic style that was clearly made to be drunk with a meal and not replace the meal entirely as so many more modern-style wines seem to be designed to do. He didn't take any short cuts with this wine and it showed gloriously in the tasting room this Thursday, March 19th, 2009. Thanks guys and gals, you made this an especially wonderful, enriching tour and tasting at MORESON for me.

Later we caught up with these three gentlemen at the famous restaurant in Franschhoek ( supposed to be one of the Top 10 in all of South Africa ) for dinner called Le Quartier Francais. I had a blast with my cameras and my sketch pad as I sat there at the table and proceeded to draw sketches of these three men, the manager of the restaurant and one of the waitresses. I was in artistic heaven as well as heaven on earth with great wine from MORESON, great food from Le Quartier Francais and great company. The owner ( the sister of the owner of MORESON ) we met as we entered the restaurant. That was nice. We saw her again the next morning at MORESON as she showed up there ( we were in the shop ) and head chef ( another one of the TOP 10 restaurants in South Africa ) Neal Jewel showed us and tasted us on a broad range of the meats that he had cured and sells there. That was when we saw the morning sun at MORESON. I will have a separate entry about this shortly.

I spoke French the whole time with the waiters and waitresses hoping that someone would respond with one or two words even in French. No such luck. They did respond with smiles, giggles and big, broad beaming smiles. I loved that! The service was fantastic and very attentive and the food was excellent, too.

I had only one beef with myself here : I ordered a rob eye steak. Up until this moment I had been ordering quite a bit of the indigenous foods only found in South Africa from Springbok and Ostrich, Hake and Kabeliou and more ) and felt like some red meat after all this wine I had been enjoying on this trip this far. I would have ordered something more adventuresome if I had realized at the moment where I was. Oh well, the rib eye steak was delicious and I did enjoy it with all the reds we were tasting from MORESON this evening.

Thank you all for such a wonderful meal. You all signed my book and the menu I asked for. I appreciate that, really I do.

I stated years ago selling the MORESON wines and bubblies at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits. It all began one eventful day with my family and John & Theresa Morrison ( Theresa's daughter, too ) on a boat ride off Annapolis, Maryland with guest Anton Beukes, then of MORESON. We later did in-store wine-tastings and a dinner with Anton at Ardeo restaurant down the street from the store.

We sell a whole lot of the PINE CREST wines because they are less-expensive as well as lots of the Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, bubbly and the Pinotage and the Merlot. It's great to have them ready-at-hand now that I am back to sell lots more. We have a great special on the 1999 Merlot now MORESON ON SALE for $19.99 a bottle and it is drinking superbly. Everyone that tries it loves it and returns for more.

For any questions you might want answered please call Mike Martin or me ( Anthony - TONY - Quinn ) at 202-363-4265. For any information about MORESON go to : MORESON Happy Valley Road , Franschhoek, Tel : +27(0)21 876 3055

I am sure that I have forgotten a million things I want and intend to say but I must post this now ( Sunday, April 5th, 2009 here from home in northern Virginia at 3 PM ) and add them later. Cheers to one and to all and may all your mornings' be filled with sunshine as I truly believe they are at MORESON in the Happy Valley! TONY

The full tour and tasting once again. I loved it. Got to see the sparkling wines being bottled, taste wines still fermenting, from stainless steel, from barrels, from bottles, later in the tasting room, too! TONY

Hannes Meyer shows John Morrison and me the grounds and the Cuvee Cape being corked here.

Hannes gave me a cork which I brought home with me. It's upstairs with my other " collectibles " in a dish on the dining room table. Hannes translated Africans to English and I understood you perfectly Hannes. I did have to listen carefully at times but I heard it all and understood it all. Thanks.

I love these artsy photos that I take of reflections in the glass as well as how the wine glass fractures the light and makes the images on them smaller, broader? THey also show the cloudiness of the white, fermenting wine here - a Chenin Blanc was it? I'll ask John. He recorde notes while I snapped pictures quickly as I framed them, Exhausting work but so rewarding.

I love the reflection of Clayton here in the stainless steel tank, though I am sorry everything came out in hues of reds and pinks.

Nice to see these detailed notes on the 2009 dry rose , still fermenting that we tasted here.

I love the reflections of the buildings and sky around us here in the glass as well as our shadows here on the pavement before we four walk into the winery. Lots going on, many fractured realities living peacefully side-by-side.
It was a treat to try the Magia here from the barrel just to the right of Clayton's right hand.

I love the white t-shirt that both Hannes and Clayton wore at different times here with the image of the shining sun and the big " M " for MORESON. I have one that I brought home with me and gave to my son.

I twas great to try all the bubblies here with the dry rose and the Cuvee Cape, the Premium Chardonnay, the contrast of the 1996 with the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignons : both great in their own ways : both still very much alive and enjoyable.

It was also great to try the Magia 2003 here in the bottle. We enjoyed them later at dinner.

Funny, here I have the afternoon setting sun pictured and not the morning sun. I like it, too.

These last two pictures here are from DIEU DONNE winery and I loaded them on by accident ; woops!

A le solei du matin, j'espere que c'est toujours avec vous ... a la prochaine ... TONY

No comments: