Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Classic Wine Trophy 2009

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2009 Classic Wine Trophy


The CLASSIC WINE TROPHY celebrates 11 years in 2009. Under the new management of
Christophe Durand (Vins d’Orrance) who has brought SANTAM on as headline sponsor,
the competition is sure to surpass all previous editions in scale and prestige. As previously,
the show is in association with leading French wine publication, LA REVUE DU VIN DE

The CLASSIC WINE TROPHY has a single-minded objective: to promote, recognize and
reward wines of elegance, balance, finesse and the capacity to improve with time.
The competition is unique and compelling in several ways:

The competition is adjudicated by a panel of French judges, all prominent wine
personalities from around the world

Guest judges this year will also include Sydney Buthelezi, wine buyer at Makro, and
Miguel Chan, sommelier at the five-star Cellars-Hohenort hotel

Only 17 medals can be awarded, which ensures a legitimate and worthy winner of
each medal

La Revue du Vin de France, the leading French wine publication, will cover the event
and ensure an international spotlight on the competition

The overall winner will also receive a return air ticket to Paris

The CLASSIC WINE TROPHY will be given to the most iconic wine entry.

This accolade will reward the winemaker for patience and excellence, two essential qualities that make a classic wine.

As it matures in bottle, the winning wine will become a cult of its own as it
garners awareness and respect through the local and international wine media.
Unlike other competitions, the CLASSIC WINE TROPHY only awards 3 trophies, 10 gold
medals for red wines, five gold medals for dry white wines, one gold medal for dessert
wines and one for sparkling wines.

The organisers of the 2009 SANTAM CLASSIC WINE TROPHY are committed to upholding
the highest standards of entries for this unique celebration of South African wine.

TEL: 02... FAX: 021 683 7489 SABRINA@VINUM.CO.ZA

The judges will be accommodated at Mandela Rhodes Place, the exclusive lifestyle
centre in the heart of Cape Town.

This year’s judges:

Jean-Michel Gerin.
Top wine producer of the Rhone Valley.

Olivier Poussier
Word’s Best Sommelier 2000, wine writer and worldwide wine consultant.

Olivier Poels.
Editor/Journalist RVF.

Denis Saverot.
Wine writer/journalist RVF

Jean Daniel Angibaud.
Sommelier of the Le Meridien hotel in Dubai.

Claude Gilois.
French wine importer. Owner of Vins du Monde.

Christophe Durand.
Organiser and owner of Vins D’Orrance.

Germain Lehodey.
Ex general manager of the Lynton Hall hotel in Durban.
Owner of the French restaurant Village Bistro in Irene, Pretoria.

Marc Friederich.
International sommelier and owner of Chez Marc’s restaurant, Paarl.

Jean Yves Muller.
Owner of the Caveau and Headquarters restaurants.

Guest judges:
Sydney Buthelezi.
Wine buyer for the group Makro in RSA.

Miguel Chan.
Sommelier at Cellars-Hohenort hotel, Cape Town.

This year’s competition will start on 2
nd March 2009, and the blind tasting will be
conducted over a period of four days at Mandela Rhodes Place.
Winners will be invited to an exclusive dinner and awards ceremony, to be held on
Friday, 6
March 2009 at The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands.
Page 3
TEL: 02... FAX: 021 683 7489 SABRINA@VINUM.CO.ZA

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

At your service - D'vine Intervention - Miguel Chan

01 Dec 2008
DVine intervenion

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2007 Groot Constantia Estate Sauvignon Blanc 87+ Points

2007 Groot Constantia Estate Sauvignon Blanc 87+ Points

Perfect colour, very pale.

Fragrant, dusty, ripe gooseberries, jalapeno pepper and grapefruit.

Complex mouthfeel, broad, intense fig, juicy freshly squeeze ripe green lime, crunchy beans, textured, hints of white pepper spiciness, leesy.
Tight structure, long minerally length, the best to date made by Groot Constantia Estate.
That shows when Cape Sauvignon are given enough time in bottle to meshed together and bonify over time and reach their full stride, this Sauvignon has changed for the very good since release in August 2007

Re – tasted 11 december 2008.

Watch out the 2008, one of the best of the Constantia Valley from this difficult and rain washed 2008 vintage, much more showier than 2007 at similar time last year.

I remember Groot Constantia Estate wines whilst visiting the Cape for the first time in 1998 and in between 2003, nothing striking and really captivating at that time besides the Pinotage and Gouverneurs Reserve as well as the Weisser Riesling, but since Boela Gerber and assisted by Michelle Rhodes has taken over the reign of this historic estate, they have brought a complete breath of fresh air and the whole range shows cleaner, purer fruit and well as more balanced and striking wines with freshness, complexity and longevity, but above all else they are food wine.
I still believe that since 2005, their Pinotage, the one and only grown and made in Constantia, is one of the finest the Cape have ever produced, the 2006 is as striking as well, more fruit which is fantastic.


Crumbed herb coated goat cheese medaillon, served crisp and warm on a bed of crunchy French beans salad with jalapeno and lime dressing and fresh grapefruit supreme and preserved wild Cape fig

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2003 Gary Player “Major Championship Series” Muirfield 1953 87+

2003 Gary Player “Major Championship Series”
Muirfield 1953 87+

This maiden release from Gary Player, one of the world’s greatest Golf legends is simply a fantastic Cape Blend style of 38 % Merlot, 31 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 % Pinotage & 8 % Shiraz, made by Carl Van Der Merwe, of Quoin Rock winery in Simonsberg ward, Stellenbosch.
My first impression of the label and bottle presentation is the Mouton Rothschild look alike presentation............

Deep ruby cherry red. Forthcoming fragrant aromas of ripe blackcurrant, cassis, dark chocolate and cedar, complex, touch earthy, multi dimensional expressive and characterful.
Rich, Christmas fruitcake like palate intensity, mouth filling, ripe tannins structure lends a complex and savoury character, juicy and touch salty minerality, impressive mid palate depth and very very good length, sour plum notes lends freshness and elegance.

The concentration of fruit and solar ripeness gives this maiden vintage a feel of Spanish reds from Rioja regions, though it’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinotage, this blend will drink well from now with decanting / aerating and until 2013.

Total production of the 2003 vintage, 30000 bottles, excellent value at +/- R 300 bottle retail

Tasted between Friday 5th & Monday 8th December 2008, to accurately analyse evolution with oxidation.

28 days wet aged, wood fired pan seared Certified South African Angus beef fillet, with intense shitake mushroom, black wooden ears and jus corsé enhanced with black truffle shavings and medley of roasted root vegetables, of baby organic carrot, beetroot and turnips.

Friday, December 5, 2008

2006 De Grendel Op Die Berg Pinot Noir 85 - 87

2006 De Grendel Op Die Berg Pinot Noir 85 - 87

This is an amazing debut for the first Pinot Noir of origin Durbanville wards, made by what I considered one of the most intimidating but down to earth winemaker, Charles Hopkins.

Charles has a sense of humour second to none in the wine industry, and I would go as far as qualifying him as the sweet giant..............................
Medium clear with bright Morello cherry ruby red, good clarity. Medium concentration, no evidence of gas or sediment, medium viscosity.

Clean nose, unmistakably Pinot, high intensity, fragrant primary fruit of ripe cherries, freshly picked strawberries on a hot summer day, spicy with touch cinnamon / camphor and wet earth beetroot earthiness complimented by new small French oak cask and cedary character.

Has some Gevrey Chambertin aromatic complexity, which lends a very interesting profile.

Dry, confirmed fruit on the nose, fresh, very good attack, ripe, with sour cherries, raspberries, confirming wood initially perceived, very well integrated, medium tannin and medium plus acidity, velvety texture with depth and long finish and high complexity, holding it’s 14.5 alc / vol, very well, balanced and structured, this is a Cape Pinot Noir that should be in any wine lover cellar, or on a good and respected wine list.
Excellent food wine. Definitely a Pinot to follow.

For now or on a special occasion, great on Valentines day enjoy until 2014, if cellared under optimum condition.

Excellent value and a bargain at R120 from the Cellar Door

Tomato Catering suggest

Such a great full bodied Pinot Noir requires a Cantonese inspired “top heat” grilled pork rashers deliberately made salty basted in a fresh crushed garlic and ginger with fermented black beans and “Lee Kum Kee” clear soya sauce and baby leek.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2004 Solo Petit Verdot 84+ Points

2004 Solo Petit Verdot 84+ Points

This is indeed a solo operation…….General Manager by day at the eponymous Le Quartier Francais hotel, in Franchhoek who boost one of the Top 50 restaurant of the world by San Pellegrino.....

This is Linda Coltart hand made wine made from grapes grown by Dirkie Morkel on Bellevue Estate in Stellenbosch

The 100 % Petit Verdot spent 30 months in only 2 French oak barrels, 1st fill and 1 2nd fill were made at Stony brook facilities…….so…. Dark pitch black with slight cherry red rim, good brilliance and clarity, typical Petit Verdot colour extraction, austere, with notes of prunes, tar, and tobacco.

Juicy well meshed with the earthy lead pencil minerality, has freshness and savouriness, more rewarding on palate than aromas suggest, medium bodied texture, good length, now until 2013 Bottle in February 2007.

Tasted 20 September 2008

Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier

Should anyone be interested in this unusual and rare grape variety on it’s own, please contact Linda Coltart at Le Quartier Francais Hotel.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2007 Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Chardonnay 88 Points

2007 Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Chardonnay 88 points

I tasted that new release on Friday the 31st October during a South Africa Young Skal Club dinner function at the Cape Malay Restaurant, of The Cellars Hohenort hotel.

As it is part of protocol to taste any wine before service especially for a function to avoid changing a whole set of glasses...........................I duly apply to my Sommelier task of tasting each bottle to be served.....

Well I was amazed by the sheer quality and complexity of that Chardonnay that remind me of the older style of Cape Chardonnay especially those made between 1997 and 2001, ( a style that’s between the buttery character of a Meursault or Chassagne Montrachet in a ripe year added to the fruitiness and concentration evoking grapes grown in sunny and warm condition as well as the opulence of some Californian Chardonnays ) the one in particular was the 1998 Fleur du Cap Chardonnay, in those days I only have about 3 years experience in the hospitality industry, under my belt and still learning the rudiment of the trade and that style was one of my favourite to recommend and sell, whenever I had to recommend an elegant, wooded and buttery chardonnay from the New World......... those days with a salary of approx R 1000 a month, it was passion, hard work and love of the people to provide excellence in service everyday as the main motivation and learning to understand the psychology of wine connoisseurs spending a glamour holiday under the tropical sun.

We have to create the experience, money and earning was never and will never be the main motivation to be a Sommelier, it grows with the experience..........and trust we get from our clientele................

Back to the Rhinofields Chardonnay

The 2007 vintage of Rhinofields Chardonnay were made by Cellar Master Martin Moore and assistant Gunther Kellerman from 100 % Durbanville grown grape, fully ripe grapes were hand harvested in February from trellised and low yielding vineyards of 2 different block picked at between 24 & 26 Balling.

50 % were fermented in stainless steel tank on the lees for 6 month to retain freshness, the other 50 % percent were in Mercurey French oak and Radoux American oak, for 10 month both tight grain, medium toast before blending and bottling, the results....

“Bright straw with slight hint of green tinge, no fizz. Classic Chardonnay aromas of ripe pears,fresh apricots, burnt citrus, and subtle vanilla oak, multi layered complexity.
Good attack and acidity, fresh, leesy with creamy texture, citrus medley and vanilla follow through, very good concentration, medium bodied, oak very well in balance and supportive of the fruit, touch clay minerality adds interest, well made and over deliver on price.
Great restaurant wine, so well made that I listed it immediately.

From 2010 until 2015

Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier

This will be a great compliment with pan seared loin of veal with glazed organic spring root vegetables such as carrots & turnips and citrus confit Beurre Blanc emulsion
Food suggestions by TOMATO CATERING

The Harder someone work the luckier that person gets

“The harder someone work the luckier that person get”.........and I always believe in that motto taught by Mr Harmon Chellen HCIMA, my Food & Beverage service teacher at the Hotel School of Mauritius, not only was Mr Chellen a perfectionist when it comes to teaching but he was a very good mentor, and always lead whoever was in his class into the right direction in life.....I was very priviledge to have known him.

Nowhere in my wildest dream would I have though 5 years ago when I left my paradise island of Mauritius, in the quest to follow my passion for wines, especially Cape wines, would I this year of 2008 create South Africa’s best national wine list as discerned by no more no less that the great independent panel of Diners Club International, the long an interesting epic South African journey is starting to pay off.

When I started in 2003, at The Cellars Hohenort Hotel the challenge was to maintain the depth of selections as a fair representative of each regions, district and ward of the Cape.

One of the major contributors to the quality of our extensive wine selections has been the introduction of the blind tasting process in spring 2006.

With over 6000 labels available in the Cape it is impossible to represent all of them and make everyone happy with listing, so using the 100 points scoring system, widely acknowledged by leading world critics as the best system to judge wine blind, as it ensure more fairness to the wine evaluated and gives more clarity as opposed to the compressed 20 point scoring system where as an example how do someone demark the real attribute of the wine from a 16.5 to a 17 points? whereas a 100 point system will gives a very distinct point of reference of either the wine is an 82 or an 85, there it’s a question of either spending an additional R 1000+ on the wrong wine or making the right purchase decision, thereby creating another unique level of service excellence and experience.

The 100 points scoring system is commonly used by major international hotels chain for fair listing in fine dining concept and not be influenced by branding.

The minimum criteria set for listing was and up to now 85 points, rewarding quality that can be comparable to world benchmark, individuality, reflection of terroir where possible, as well as an affinity to complement a broad style of cuisine, with the structure to improve with cellaring. Today we have over 400 Cape wines on our list, and our mission is to be a proud ambassador of Cape Wines to our discerning international guests.

As for freshness, cleanliness and minimal spoilage, screw cap as a means of closure is preferred.

Our wine list is a continuous work in progress, and wine selections are an extremely important aspect to our very exclusive international and local clientele alike, and a major contributor to their overall experience, and I want to personally thank all of you viticulturists and winemakers to supply us with unique wines of integrity, with a multitude spectrum of style, along with one of the best wine prices in the world, keep striving for the very best it is so exciting to be indirectly part of this dynamic industry.

I feel extremely blessed, proud and priviledged to work in South Africa.

Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier & Beverage Manager
The Cellars Hohenort Hotel

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shannon Vineyards Reviewed by Certified Sommelier Miguel Chan

Shannon Vineyards review by Sommelier Miguel Chan

It’s been a very long time, since I got so excited about a new release especially when it comes to a new winery, the harder I try to find faults in the wines the more actually I have to raved about it and there is simply no more to say than well done guys, keep it up, maintain that style and quality, keep respecting the fruit and work harder in the vineyard, you are taking South African wines to the next level and this is so exciting. You cannot go wrong with that style. This will be successful.

That discovery is Shannon Vineyards in Elgin,

It all started at Cape Wine 2008 whilst tasting at Beaumont counter and then the topic of discussion turn to Merlot, and it is a fact that quality Merlot is truly a rarity in the Cape, as most example are hard, green, overworked and over oaked, with none of the tell tale silkiness and elegance and sheer drinkability that we expect from Merlot, and there I was challenge by Sebastian Beaumont as he took me to the Shannon Vineyards counter and asked James Downes to pour me a tasting.....

I must admit I was a little sceptical and try to get to the task as unbias as possible, and well well well..... since I started tasting South African wines in 1995, nowhere I had ever come across such a complete Merlot, with it’s fragrance, purity of fruit but above all else the elegance, silkiness and tannins structure of a Pomerol in a ripe year, WOW. Goose bumps moment. Thank you Sebastian, will remember that moment as well as the Mourvedre and Pinotage..........

This is the finest South African Merlot I have tasted to date, and will easily slip in between some Pomerol in a blind tasting........well done James and Stuart Downes.
So the 2007 Merlot is not label as a varietal, though it is 100 % Elgin Merlot but label as Mount Bullet.

My tasting notes read as follows:

2007 Shannon Vineyards Mount Bullet 92 Points

Perfect colour extraction, fragrant, ripe red fruit medley such as plums and dark cherries, earthy with touch of orange peel complexity, lead pencil minerality, juicy, very good acidity lends an outstanding freshness very well intermingle with the ripe and delicate tannins structure, silky and elegant, almost a Pomerol in a ripe year, has everything a Merlot has to be, this is stunning stuff, enjoy now or until 2016.
It’s going to be pricey by Cape standard, but worth every single cents, and this is a must listed for anyone who take South African wines seriously.

2007 Shannon Vineyards Pinot Noir 92+ Points

When I tasted the Pinot Noir as a barrel sample in September, my comments to James was this is a very promising Pinot, with outstanding complexity, depth and richness, however the oak is overpowering as the toasty and charry character tends to dominate the wines, but I was reassured that once the wine will be blended, it’s going to be another breed, and hey he was right.

Tasted yesterday (18 November 2008), the aromatics of the Pinot have changed beyond recognition, much more contained, oak not as dominant as initially perceived in September, typical Burgundian complexity, with complex notes of ripe maraschino cherries, raspberry, strawberries and hints of truffles and dark mushrooms, impressive, textured, soft and elegant with ripe tannins and just the perfect extraction, the purity and concentration of fruit is mind boggling, and this is another wine from Shannon Vineyards that is just fantastic, WOW.
South African Pinot Noir is reaching another era of perfection, this is a wine that was made in the vineyard, as the purity of fruit can attest, enjoy now until 2015.

2008 Shannon Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 87 – 89 Points

After tasting close to 300, Sauvignon of the 2008 vintage, I am now in a position to honestly say that it has not been a fantastic year for Cape Sauvignon and makes listing and my life as a passionate sommelier very tough, as I much as I love Cape wines and try be a good ambassador, the stuff out there is pretty horrible..........only about 9 wines woth listing and 1 of them is.....................

But here comes another trick from Shannon Vineyards, in a vintage of intermittent rain, and rot, where dilution is the hallmark of 2008, Shannon vineyards have managed to retain the true characteristic of a pungent and multilayered Sauvignon with amazing mid palate depth and purity of fruit.

This 2008 exhibits a complex gooseberries and tropical fruit medley, even spicy, with excellent purity, bringing along a juicy texture, which is ripe, intense and delicate, the length is further complimented by lots of quartz minerality, which is very rare in the Cape, but seems to be an emerging hallmark of Elgin Valley Sauvignon. Well done.
For now until 2013.

Tasted by Certified Sommelier Miguel Chan

18 November 2008

All these outstanding wines above can be paired by stunning food prepared by Tomato Catering

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Colmant Brut Tradition MCC Maiden Vintage 86+ Points

NV Colmant Brut Tradition MCC Maiden Vintage 86 + Points

Pale straw with slight yellow peach hue.
Clean, shy, rather austere initially, when warming up, shows slight toasty aromas, freshly baked Golden apple, fine bubbles, burnt citrus medley, yeasty, followed by very good palate weight, yeasty character follows through, adding interest and complexity, structured, with precise acidity, clean, intense, delicate, elegant overall.

With the future release, 2007 harvest with 25 % Reserve wine from the previous vintages most of it matured in wood, expect a more complex, mature and profound Méthode Cap Classique, this is a label to watch closely and should never be left forgotten at any celebration or tasting where quality and benchmark South African wines is the order of the day, keep it up Jean Philippe.

Excellent value, highly recommended, this is a must for any respected wine list

Tasted on 06 October 2008

Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Dear Friend Sommeliers from all over the world,

If one and only website I highly recommended for anything about South African wines, is that of Wine of South Africa, WOSA.

Everything you will need to need to know about Wine Regions, District & Wards to producers and contact details is clearly and concisely laid out, in a very simple way, so at a single click go to to discover the rich and unique biodiversity of South African wines.


Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier


01 Oct 2008
Diners Club het vanjaar oudergewoonte hul wenwynlyste aangekondig en vir die eerste maal ook die beste Sommelier aangewys. Mortimer Bester from Zachary's by Pezula Resort Hotel en Spa het met hierdie gesogte toekenning huistoe gegaan. Beste landw...

2006 Silverthorn The Green Man Blanc de Blancs Brut 88+ Points

2006 Silverthorn The Green Man Blanc de Blancs Brut 88+ Points

The latest release ( August 2008) shows a vintage label as well as a Wine of Origin Constantia,

This is made in absolutely tiny quantities +/- 3500 bottles, which I consider as one of the avant garde of bottle fermented or method traditionelle sparkling wine in South Africa.

John Loubser works very traditionally, giving the wine roughly 20 months bottle age on the lees before disgorgement. He also ferments a small proportion of the base wine in barrel, to give a bit of structure.

Fresher and more complex than in previous vintages, minerally driven, light, very fresh on the palate, with profusion of green limes notes. A small proportion of the base wine was wooded, to give weight to an intense crisp structure.

The bubbles are consistent and fine, overall very elegant with very good length well done.

Exceptionally good value by world standard. Buy by the case loads, if you can get hold of.

Great as an aperitif over the festive season, or if you have a proper cellaring facilities, keep it until 2016, for a richer more textured and complex Méthode Cap Classique, enjoy.

Miguel Chan

Saturday Week End Argus The Good Week End

23 Aug 2008
Cape cartes are tops...
Province rules in Diners Club wine list awards When you come across a wirielist starring boutigue and garagiste cellars it?s not only a pleasure to read but it?s evident that the compiler has gone to great lengths to give patrons an inspired cho...

5 Mountains Oak Fermented Chenin Blanc 85 + Points

5 Mountains Oak Fermented Chenin Blanc 85+

This 2006 vintage made from 15 + years old Wellington vines, creates distinctive wines demonstrating the versatility and expression Chenin Blanc when grown under the South African Sun.

Pale straw with ripe citrus notes, burnt quince and a combination of stone fruit mélange, oily, rich and fat textured, this is a concentrated and structured wooded chenin with leesy complexity and mid palate. Full phenolic ripeness, very long aftertaste.

Aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels. Recommended with black tiger prawn Thermidor, or grilled crayfish.

This bottle of Chenin was given as a gift by the in laws, thanks Coleen & Gary, it was beautiful.

Californian Wines at Rodwell House

Californian Wines tasted at Rodwell House

Californian wines below tasted at Rodwell House in St James, courtesy of Adam Mason winemaker of Klein Constantia Estate, who just returned from a 3 week stint of Californian harvest at legendary Screaming Eagle in Napa Valley

1 - 2005 Stonestreet Upper Barn Alexander Valley Chardonnay 93+

Bright deep gold, complex, nutty, with tangerine and lime aromas. Fresh, citrus flows through. Intense, crunchy, very good length, impressive mid palate, toasty aftertaste. Big, powerful without loosing focus, precise acidity, the 14.5 alc very well meshed. A beauty. Now until 2023. Only 305 cases made, from grapes grown at 600 meters altitude.
The closest South African wooded Chardonnay would be a style between the intense fruit concentration of Jordan Nine Yards 2006 and the Constantia Uitsig Reserve Chardonnay 2004 for it’s structure and minerality.

2 - 2006 Favio Avarzo Syrah Amador County 95

Bright deep cherry red with slight purple tinge. Fragrant, blueberry, ripe, intense, complex multifaceted, cedary, juicy with very ripe tannins, ripe plum, tobacco.
Intense, concentrated warm finish, impressive the best Syrah I have tasted to date. Only 120 cases made from Amador County fruit. Impressive opulence. Unforgettable.
Anyone aiming at a successful style of world class Syrah with the aimed of wowing either the novice or the experience palate, this is the style to go, you cannot go wrong there, this stuff will sell, irrespective of the price.

3 - 2006 Leviathan 93

This just-released 2006 Leviathan is the follow-up vintage to Screaming Eagle winemaker Andy Erickson's wildly successful premiere 2005 offering that sold out nearly overnight last year. The new 2006 is a blend of prime Napa and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon (41%), Merlot (32%), Syrah (21%), and Cabernet Franc (7%) that has been brilliantly woven together by Andy to seamlessly deliver a decadently rich-tasting, feels-like-velvet-on-the-tongue red whose outsized flavors inspired its name: Leviathan!

Andy bottles his precocious monster unfined and unfiltered, thus preserving and amplifying its astonishing intensity of flavor.

Production has edged up from last year's 700 cases to just shy of 1,000 this year, but pent-up demand will see this new edition disappear every bit as rapidly as before.
Bright dark cherry. Fresh, mulberries, earthy, lots of dark ripe fruit, complex with notes of dry chilli, classic aromas, more European feel than Californian richness and opulence, well contained, ripe and textured.

Palate is similarly ripe, intense, spicy and earthy, complex, mouth filling, concentrated, touch bitterness, not distracting. soft tannins. Impressive.

4 - 2005 Stone street Christophers Cabernet Sauvignon 92

Dense, concentrated, almost opaque, slight purple, perfect colour. Fresh, with pronounced lead pencil minerality, earthy, complex blackcurrant medley, dry ripe tannins, has grip. Juicy, savoury and fresh texture, elegant finish.

5 - 2005 Arietta H Block Hudson Vineyards Napa Valley 87+

Good deep ruby-red. Restrained, ripe tomato concentrate aromas, black raspberry, touch acetone and alcoholic. Fresh, ripe, intense, touch bitterness, oaky style. This wine is based on 80% cabernet franc, the highest percentage since Arietta's outstanding 1997 red blend ($150)

6 - Dalla Valle Maya 83+

Dalla Valle Vineyards is a small, family-owned winery that was founded in 1986. The winery and vineyards are located on a plateau 400 feet above the valley floor, in the eastern hills of Oakville, Napa Valley. The combination of perfect sun exposure and the cooling marine influence from the Pacific Ocean make this an ideal site for world class winegrowing. Dalla Valle has reached an admirable level of acceptance in the last decade and produces some of the most sought out Cabernet Sauvignon and proprietary red wine in California. Wines made from Dalla Valle Vineyards are pure unbridled expressions of fruit at its most powerful and concentrated. These wines are of immense stature and richness with well-integrated tannin and acidity, this 2005 is ripe, touch alcohol, earthy, gamey, acetone, ripe intense, grippy tannins oaky and cedary, savoury texture. Cab/Cab franc blend

7 - 2003 Staglin Family Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley 90

This 2003 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet reflects this classic vintage. With saturated ruby and hints of black colors, the 2003 Staglin Family Vineyard reveals an intense fragrant, delicate, complex blackcurrants with undertones of intense dried apricot, black tea and hints of tobacco.
Complex mouthfeel, savoury with gamey and earthy notes, elegant and fresh, impressive length and richness. The 15.1 very well meshed and integrated. Ultra perfect ripeness and structure, now with some decanting or until 2023. Small amounts of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc in the blend. -

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chaines des Rôtisseurs Directory Western Cape

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2008

Press Releases

OM Trophy Wine Show produces 24 gold, 52 silver medals 9 May 2008

The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show – now in its seventh year - is widely regarded as the country’s most credible wine competition. Judging for the 2008 competition took place at Grande Roche in Paarl from 5 to 8 May when the 9 panelists – including three from overseas - worked their way through the 1 024 submissions. It was announced at the judges' feedback session that the 2008 show produced 24 gold, 52 silver and 242 bronze medals. These medals and the 15 trophy winners (from 15 producers) will be announced o­n 2 June.

As headline sponsor of the South African Trophy Wine Show, Old Mutual has committed itself to ensuring that the country’s top wines are identified in ideal judging conditions and the results brought to the attention of the South Africa’s wine drinking public. Meticulous attention to detail throughout the judging period ensures that the Trophy Wine Show maintains its reputation as o­ne of the toughest and most rigorous events of its kind in the world.

Public tastings in six major centres

By hosting a series of Masterclass® and Public Tastings in six major centres in South Africa and o­ne in Namibia over a two week period following the announcement of the competition winners in June, Old Mutual fulfils its undertaking to showcase the country's top wines. These are held in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Port Elizabeth and Durban – and this year, for the first time, in Windhoek.

Among the many regulations and guidelines applied by the show and implemented by logistics manager Celia Gilloway are that the entries – which must be in market-ready condition – are served entirely unsighted. They are kept in Miele wine storage units so that they can be brought to the judges at optimum service temperature in specially designed Riedel tasting glasses. Judges therefore never see the bottles or any aspect of the packaging, ensuring that their opinion is based o­n the wine's perceived merits and not its image or reputation. Three panels – each comprising three judges of whom at least o­ne comes to South Africa solely to taste at the show – are directed to produce a consensus driven result.

All the wines remain o­n the tasting bench until the completion of the judging of a particular class. This enables the jury to back-taste and to compare the evolution of the wine in the glass. The panel's result is then submitted to the scrutiny of the show chairman and, in the case of the gold medal winners, to all their fellow tasters at the Trophy judging which wraps up proceedings. Prior to the announcement of the results the top wines are submitted to an independent laboratory to confirm that the show sample is identical to the wines which will be found in the trade. The judging process and the competition results are monitored and audited by chartered accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

2008 show attracts 1024 entries from 230 producers

The 2008 show attracted 1 024 entries from 230 producers: Shiraz 156 (up o­n 2007); Chardonnay 96 (down o­n 2007), Cabernet Sauvignon 105, Bordeaux-style Red Blends 114, Sauvignon Blanc 106 (up), Merlot 62, Pinotage 58 and Chenin Blanc 41. This year also saw 40 Museum class entries. The 2007 show saw 968 wines judged (from 231 producers), with 19 trophies awarded to 13 cellars.

The 2008 overseas judges were: Joël Payne, editor of Meininger’s Wine Business International and chief editor and publisher of Gault Millau German Wine Guide; Sam Harrop MW (UK), o­ne of 5 chairmen of the International Wine Challenge and Anthony Rose, wine columnist for The Independent and contributor to Decanter, Wine & Spirit and The World of Fine Wine, amongst others.

The local judges included Angela Lloyd, who has been tasting for the John Platter SA Wine Guide for 22 years, Cathy van Zyl MW, South Africa’s o­nly resident Master of Wine, Chris Williams, winemaker at Meerlust, Christian Eedes, newly appointed editor of WINE magazine, Gary Jordan, proprietor and cellarmaster at Jordan Winery, and James Pietersen former wine buyer for Vineyard Connection and a graduate of the WINE Magazine Michael Fridjhon Tasting Academy. Michael Fridjhon, who has been co-convenor of the show – together with WINE Magazine – since 2002, continued as chairman of the judges.

Associate judges for this year’s show were selected from South Africa’s new generation winemakers, buyers and sommeliers. A different associate judge sat with each panel o­n each of the medal-judging days of the show. They participated in the tasting and the post-judging discussion, though their scores were not taken into account in the final tally. Their involvement provides an essential training platform for the country’s wine judges of the future.
This year’s associates were Francois Rautenbach of Singita Game Reserves; Tarriro Masayiti, white winemaker at Nederburg; Ginette de Fleuriot CWM, wine buyer at winesense; Roland Peens, manager of Wine Cellar; Eric Botha, wine specialist at Woolworths; Miguel Chan, sommelier of Cellars Hohenhort and Khuselo Mputa, sommelier at Belthazar’s in the Cape Town Waterfront.

Event partners American Express, British Airways Comair, Grande Roche Hotel, Miele and Riedel enjoy naming rights in respect of some of the trophies.

The results of the competition will be announced in Cape Town o­n 2 June and the road shows will run in the various cities from 3–17 June 2008.

Public tastings will take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town and will showcase the trophy, gold and silver medallists. The Johannesburg tasting is o­n Friday 6 June at the Hilton Sandton from 18h00–21h00 and Cape Town wine lovers can taste the winners o­n Thursday 12 June at the Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays (previously the ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel) from 17h00–20h00. Tickets are available via Computicket or at the door and cost R75 each if purchased by 31 May 2008 and R90 thereafter.

The 2008 results will be available o­n the website from 15h00 o­n Monday, 02 June 2008.

Diners Club Wine List of the year award 2008

Drinking on the Job a Prerequisite

The Cellars Hohenort Hotel & Spa, Cape Town SOUTH AFRICA

The Cellars Hohenort Hotel & Spa, Cape Town SOUTH AFRICA
Diners Club highly coveted Winelist Awards have benefited both the consumers and the establishments they award, and are highly regarded in the wine industry.Diners Club has played a critical role in maintaining and improving the standards of this award since its inception in the 1980s.Two new categories were introduced this year - the best wine steward award/sommelier and national award for the Best Restaurant Wine list.The Cellars-Hohenort is the first recipient of The Best Wine list in South Africa Award. The Plettenberg and The Cellars-Hohenort were also given Diamond awards for their wine lists. "I am very proud to have received the awards. Our wine list is something special at The Cellars-Hohenort and truly representative of the incredible wines we have in the Cape" says Miguel Chan, Sommelier at The Cellars-Hohenort. Miguel is responsible for the magnificent wine cellar at The Cellars-Hohenort, Hotel which boasts one of South Africa's finest selection of Cape wines, as well as a world's benchmark, with 9000 bottles totalling 520 bins with vintages spanning from 1975 to 2008, without forgetting some of the complete collections of the legendary wines of Constantia Valley, the birthplace of the South African wine industry, 366 years ago.We are the only hotel in the world to boast the complete mythical collection of the famed Vin de Constance, from 1986 made by Klein Constantia Estate.

Miguel Chan - Sommelier at The Cellars-Hohenort is the best in the country!

Miguel Chan - Sommelier at The Cellars-Hohenort is the best in the country!

Posted Jul 13, 2007

The steady composure that comes with self-confidence in the face of competitive situations can only happen when specialized knowledge is buttressed by passion and a love for the subject.

Performing with such grace under pressure lead to success for Miguel Chan, sommelier and beverage manager at The Cellars Hohenort in Constantia who clinched the title as South Africa's first national Jeune Sommelier by the Chaine des Rotisseurs. Chan will represent South Africa at the inaugeral International Jeunes Sommeliers Competition on September 7th in Frankfurt Germany during the German Grand Chapitre.

It will be held concurrently with the Annual Jeunes Commis Rotisseurs Competition. The new Jeune Sommeliers competition, which is open to sommeliers/ wine waiters between the ages of 21 - 32 years, holds special significance for wine professionalism and stands on equal footing with the Jeunes Commiss Competition.

"The seven candicates who entered the first national round were in for a hard time," says Monty Friendship, Echanson of the Chaine des Rotisseurs . Their knowledge of international wines and spirits were put to the test in a gruelling three part evaluation - theory, service and blind tasting. The theory portion is written and lasts for one hour, testing deep knowledge in all areas of wine, wine production, laws, viticulture and vinification as well as spirits, beers, ales, ciders, ports and sherry.

"South Africa is one of only ten countries who will take part in Germany later this year. This is a feather in our cap, as not even France, nor Italy will be taking part in this tough competition," reckons Friendship. Congratulations Miguel!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wining and Dining, and then some by Kim Maxwell

Wining and dining, and then some

Monday, November 03, 2008 by Kim Maxwell

Wining and dining your way through year-end events and launches can be tiring even to contemplate. Kim Maxwell highlights a few that stood out, and some to watch out for.

With deadlines looming and ever-limited time for private commitments, what makes a launch or new release worthy of three or four hours of concentration and conversation is hard to define. People often tell journalists how "lucky" they are to spend so much of their time wining and dining "for free".

Yet in reality anybody past the stage of a rookie newshound realises that taking on too many events for the sake of staying abreast of developments means even less time to complete those income-generating deadlines. Generally it's about striking a balance between what's newsworthy, new or novel, ensuring an event is easy to attend in terms of timing or location, and hoping that it doesn't drag on.

In the absence of a celebrity claim to fame, having a likeable personality/quality wine/reputable chef makes something more appealing if you're a new winery, restaurant or book trying to be launched.

Curtis Stone, TV chef best known to viewers from 'Surfing the Menu' (featuring two Aussie chefs cooking on scenic coastlines), didn't have that problem last week in Cape Town. He's dishier in person than on screen (where he made People magazine's 'Sexiest Men Alive' list along with George Clooney) with a boyish friendliness too. Curtis was visiting South Africa for a whistle-stop tour of cooking demos and dinners from his current Los Angeles home, and managed to squeeze in Gansbaai shark diving followed by home-cooked lunch with a nearby winemaker.

He'd messed around as a junior kitchen hand in London's Quo Vadis restaurant with a similarly junior Peter Tempelhoff, who now oversees luxury hotel kitchens of The Collection by Liz McGrath properties.

Their six-course dinner was impressive and the chef duo had fun, with Constantia Valley wines donated to match sommelier Miguel Chan's interpretations. The Eagle's Nest Viognier 2006 was a surprise because it wasn't overly wooded or peachy, and Vin de Constance to finish is always a treat. My top choice was Curtis's first course: tiny hand-dived sea scallops with diced avo in a lime-spiked sauce with basil, coriander and coconut milk.

He'd been surprised to hear scallops weren't to be found in South Africa, so Peter placed a pricy order from America's West coast. The Constantia Glen 2008 Sauvignon Blanc wasn't showing as well as WINE Magazine's 10 Sauvignon Blancs did a week earlier (personal favourites at that event being Ghost Corner 2008 and Strandveld Vineyards 2008 for that idiosyncratic Elim / Agulhas sea air-infused mineral character, and Groote Post Woolworths Reserve 2007 for completely different characters on the Darling coastline), which just shows how bottle-ageing benefits some Sauvignons.

An interesting titbit from a table guest was that Curtis and three London nightclub owner mates created an imaginary rock band and fanclub, although none of them played instruments or sang. For a laugh, Curtis booked the friends "gigs" in Ibiza, Greece and Barcelona, planning these boy's holidays to a tee.

The "band" all take turns now at pitching to holiday at Curtis's swanky LA home, because everybody knows celebrity chefs enjoy rock star status. This might explain Curtis's thought process in the naming of his signature 'bump and grind' stainless steel pestle and mortar, which he designed for @home stores (March 2009 release). With a pre-release price indication of R1650, you'll need the expense account of a rock star to justify the purchase.

A few weeks ago Premiére restaurant at the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa launched their first of monthly Wine and Dine dinners, with the menu being paired with offerings by two winemakers. They seemed to think the concept was novel, which it isn't. But having good wineries is always a drawcard, and the elegant wines crafted by Newton Johnson brothers Gordie (wines) and Bevan (marketing) are always a pleasure to sample, while Blaauwklippen's Rolf Zeitvogel provided novelty value for their Red Zinfandel - the red 2005 a glorious example of the variety, the pink-toned White Zin 2007 a little too acidic and strange to be taken seriously with food. Subjective wine choices were also the subject of Michael Olivier's 'Crush!' pocket book released in October, featuring '100 of the author's favourites to drink now'.

With appealing layouts and clever diagrams of macro/meso/micro-terroir differences, it's essentially a consumer-orientated book that's largely wasted on a wine industry crowd. It should be punted in magazines geared at men or women specifically, or at those tourism booths offering guesthouse and wine tour information.

All this complicated eating left a desire for simpler pleasures. Fortunately at The Venue at South Hill winery in Elgin, Gordon Manuel's simpler eating is what you'll find, with an emphasis on locally farmed ingredients. Overberg wines are also on offer - Catherine Marshall sources fruit at James Downes in Elgin, before any eyebrows are raised about her wine inclusion - at affordable prices.

Time your Elgin visit right and you can buy your own delicious sausages, honey, bakes, farm produce and take-aways at the new Elgin Valley Market at Peregrine's Saturday market space, previously held at Rockhaven.

I'm a repeat customer and there's something extremely satisfying about making this country drive where grocery shopping becomes fun. If scenic gardens, country lunches and teas are your thing, why not combine the farmer's market with a drive through at Elgin Open Gardens 2008 on 8 & 9 November from 10h00 - 17h00. A variety of farms open their gardens for a small fee to benefit charity. Visit or call (021) 848-9146 for a list of participating farms.

Dornier Donatus 2004 - Article by Mike Bampfield-Duggan, Wine Concepts

Dornier Donatus 2004

Article By: Mike Bampfield-Duggan, Wine Concepts

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 15:07

Miguel Chan, sommelier at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia, was asked to create a four-course luncheon matched with selected wines from the Dornier winery in Stellenbosch.
Miguel is a master at food and wine pairing and each of the courses we had matched the wines perfectly. But, the course that stood out for me as the most perfect in harmony with the food and wine, was the grain fed fillet of beef with mushroom ragout and red wine jus.

The fillet was tender and cooked to perfection having been 'matured' for 15 weeks and it perfectly enhanced the spicy black cherry flavours of the Cabernet Franc!

The smaller percentage of Merlot made its appearance on a softer note but enough to tantalise the flavours of the mushroom.

Dornier is a small winery located in the Stellenbosch area and benefits from the cool False Bay breezes resulting in classic and elegant wines. The magnificent loft-style brick faced winery set at the foot of the Stellenbosch Mountain range has been designed to integrate with the striking surroundings.

Winemaker, JC Steyn, has been given a free hand to create his own expression in the wines he produces under the three labels: The Donatus being the flagship, then the Dornier range, followed by the Cocoa Hill range — all offering excellent quality.

The Dornier Donatus Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2004 shows an excellent dark plumy colour with delicate violet and nutmeg aromas. The palate shows a silky expression of black cherry flavours with fine concentrated tannins on the finish.

Enjoy now or keep for a further four years.

Expect to pay R155.50

To order this wine contact Wine Concepts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

BUSINESS DAY Wanted - Moet & Chandon 2003 Grand Vintage


01 Sep 2008
1 of 4 French TOAST
Chateau de Saran 1,1 •e£T" I, The chance to taste a new Meet & Chandon vtage champagne •*-"' — ahead of the pack, in the historic cellars of Epernay — is,' something Naomi LaH

Subject: BUSINESS DAY, Wanted~01 Sep 2008~p14

01 Sep 2008
2 of 4 i
one of the fest and most evocative wines is centred. In Champagne, Moet & Chandon is a dominant force, both in the size of its Maison (1 louse) and in the brand's global position. Located on more than 1 000 hectares of terroir, it has the largest ...

A.V.E. 263mm X 303mm = R 42,905.17

Subject: BUSINESS DAY, Wanted~01 Sep 2008~p16

01 Sep 2008
3 of 4 resulting blend is 43% Pinot Meunier, 29% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay.
Below the Maison Moet & Chandon, the temperature drops as we descend to the cellars. The passages are more like tunnels, long with archways and a curved roof. Years of sediment and slime, nurtured by the damp, have settled on the walls. Locked, ar...

A.V.E. 262mm X 144mm = R 20,295.17

Subject: BUSINESS DAY, Wanted~01 Sep 2008~p17

01 Sep 2008
4 of 4 for invited guests. Celebrities, presidents, prime ministers, supermodels, even the late Qu
The glamourous Grand Vintage 2003 dinner setting the 2 500 pickers returned in September, the normal harvesting period, only to find it was all over. It was a nerve-racking time. "To extract the best from a harvest ... never make early decisions,"...

A.V.E. 265mm X 150mm = R 21,425.67

Circulation: 40022

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trophy Wine Show 2008 - The Judges


International and local tasters who judged the various classes at the 2008 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.


Michael Fridjhon (South Africa)Chairman of the judges at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

Author, co-author and contributor to a number of wine books including ICONS (SA), The Global Wine Encyclopaedia, The Oxford Companion to Wine and Platter's (SA). Recipient of the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Merite Agricole (France). Panel chairman for the WINE magazine Shiraz and Chenin Blanc Challenges (SA) and judge at numerous other competitions including the International Wine and Spirit Competition (UK), the Australian National Wine Show, the Tri-Nations Challenge as well as benchmark tastings in France, the United States, Chile and South Africa. He was the first international co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge (2007). Visiting Professor at the UCT Graduate School of Business.


Sam Harrop MW (UK)

Trained as a winemaker in his native New Zealand. Early career included stints at Villa Maria's wineries in Auckland, Blenheim and Hawkes Bay, followed by a spell at Littorai Wines in California, where he developed a special interest in natural and biodynamic winemaking. In 1997 he moved to the United Kingdom where he was employed as wine buyer for influential retailer Marks & Spencer, working closely with producers throughout the world's key wine regions. In 2004 he started his own consultancy and now works with a number of wineries in Portugal, the Loire Valley, Southern France and Spain. Active member of the Institute of Masters of Wine mentoring program. One of five chairmen of the International Wine Challenge, responsible for the logging and analysis of faults (including closure related problems) at the competition. Judging portfolio extends to the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, the Vin de Pays and Spanish Top 100 competitions.

Joël Payne

(German based)Editor of Meininger's Wine Business International and chief editor and publisher of the Gault Millau German Wine Guide over the past 15 years. Contributor to the Capital, Alles-Über-Wein, Vinum and Weinwelt over the past 20 years and, more recently, Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. Also writes for Decanter and The World of Fine Wine and is President of the International Circle of Wine Writers (FIJEV). Three times winner of the best sommelier award in Germany, a member of the Grand Jury Européen and has judged at several shows including Concours Mondial, Mundus Vini, Wines for Asia and the Japan Wine Challenge.
Anthony Rose (UK)Wine columnist for The Independent and contributor to Decanter, Wine & Spirit and The World of Fine Wine. Contributor to the auction and investment sections in Jancis Robinson's Oxford Companion to Wine, to Tom Stevenson's Wine Report and to WINE (h.f.ullmann publishing, 3rd edition). Teaches at the Leiths School of Food and Wine, and has judged in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, California, Japan and France. Chairman of the Decanter World Wine Awards Argentina panel and the Decanter Wine Retailer Awards panel, co-chairman of the Sake International Challenge in Tokyo. Winner of the Glenfiddich Wine Writer of the Year Award (2000 and 2005) and the Prix du Champagne Lanson Black Label Award (2000 and 2002). Judge at the inaugural Trophy Wine Show in 2002.


Christian Eedes

Editor of WINE magazine and author of Gulp!, the weekly WINE magazine webletter, Joined the magazine as a journalist in 2002, having graduated with a B.A. Honours degree in Philosophy from Stellenbosch University. In 2005, completed a small-scale winemaking course as well as a wine evaluation course under the auspices of the Department of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University. In 2007 obtained Certificate of Competence at the inaugural WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy. Regular judge at WINE magazine panel tastings. Associate judge at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show in 2005 and 2006, judge in 2007.

Gary Jordan

Owner-winemaker of Jordan Winery, having trained as a geologist before pursuing his interest in winemaking to America where he and wife Kathy graduated from the Masters programme at the University of California (Davis). After a further year spent working in California, they returned to the family farm in Stellenboschkloof where Gary has been responsible for the development of the magnificent 146ha property overlooking Table Mountain, False Bay and Stellenbosch. His passion to grow top quality fruit has produced wines displaying the ripe, concentrated and fruity accessibility of New World examples while retaining the complex elegance of Classic styles. Judge at the Trophy Wine Show in 2007.

Angela Lloyd

Freelance wine writer, associate editor of the Grape website, co-author of The South African Wine Cellar Book, contributor to Platter's (since 1987), Wines of the World (Dorling Kindersley) and Oz Clarke's Pocket Wine Guide and About Wine (Delmar Learning). Judged at the Sydney International 100, Vinitaly's Consurso Enologico Internacional and at various tastings in South Africa, including the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Awards and the SAA Winelist Selections. A member of the Trophy Wine Show judging panel since its inception.

James Pietersen

Former wine buyer for the Vineyard Connection and now partner in a luxury travel business. A University of Stellenbosch graduate, currently following the Cape Wine Masters Program. A WINE magazine panel taster (since 2006) and a contributor to Platter's. Achieved Certificate of Competence with Distinction from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy in 2007. Associate judge at the Trophy Wine Show in 2007.

Cathy van Zyl MW

South Africa's only resident Master of Wine. Freelance wine writer, co-publisher of the Grape website and contributor to Platter's as well as The Wine Report 2007 (Dorling Kindersley). Judge at Vinitaly's Consurso Enologico Internacional and the Sydney International Wine Competition. Associate judge at the Trophy Wine Show in 2003 and judge since 2004.

Chris Williams

Cellarmaster and technical director at Meerlust Estate since 2004 and owner-winemaker for The Foundry Wines since 2001. Graduated from the University of Cape Town and Elsenburg College of Agriculture. Past assistant winemaker at Château Bon Pasteur in Pomerol, Bordeaux, and previously employed at Klein Constantia, False Bay Wines and Delaire. Currently a UK Master of Wine student. Judge at the Trophy Wine Show since 2006.


The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show draws upon several of South Africa's new-generation winemakers, all of whom have appropriate tasting experience. They are provided with the opportunity of working in a rigorous show-judging environment and learning from the international and local tasters to whom they are seconded. Associate judges work in the tasting room with the main panel and are invited to participate in the discussion, however their scores are not included in the final tally.

Eric Botha

Wine specialist for Woolworths. Has also worked as a sommelier in Burgundy on an exchange programme. Achieved the Certificate of Competence from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy in 2008 and is a current Cape Wine Academy Diploma student.

Miguel Chan

Sommelier and beverage manager at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia. Represented South Africa in 2007 at the inaugural Under 32 Concours Internationales des Jeunes Sommeliers world final in Frankfurt, Germany (finished 4th). Employment history includes stints at the Royal Palm and The Oberoi Hotel in Mauritius. Achieved Certificate of Competence with Distinction from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy in 2008.

Ginette de Fleuriot CWM

Cape Wine Master and wine buyer for winesense. Began wine career in Germany managing a specialist wine retail store in Cologne, then focused on wine education and training for sommeliers and the wine trade before returning to South Africa in 2006. A lecturer for the Cape Wine Academy and a regular WINE magazine tasting panel member, having also served on the 2008 SAA Winelist Selection panel. Contributor to Platter's (2007 and 2008 editions) and whilst in Europe worked as a wine judge and freelance journalist for publications including Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland and Selection Wine Magazine. Achieved Certificate of Competence with Distinction from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy in 2008.

Tariro Masayiti

Zimbabwean born, graduated with a BSc. in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Zimbabwe and went on to complete a BSc. Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology) at the University of Stellenbosch before joining Distell. After two vintages with The Bergkelder (Fleur du Cap), appointed white wine maker at Nederburg. Served as wine judge at several competitions: Veritas, Diners Club Winemaker of the Year, SAA and the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Khuselo Mputa

Born in Stellenbosch and educated in East London and Cape Town. Holds a City and Guilds Advanced Food & Beverage Diploma as well as a National Diploma in Hotel Operations and Management. After practical training, worked at various Michelin-star restaurants in London until returning to South Africa. In 2007 he joined Belthazar Restaurant and Wine Bar as sommelier and in 2008 graduated from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy with a Certificate of Competence.

Roland Peens

After an Economics degree from the University of Stellenbosch, he has worked in wine retail, import/export and marketing, and as a sommelier in SA and London. UK Master of Wine student. Shareholder and manager of Wine Cellar, a Cape Town firm which imports, cellars and brokers fine wines. Judges for WINE magazine and Platter's. Achieved the Certificate of Competence with Distinction from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy in 2008.

François Rautenbach

Heads up the Premier Wine program for Singita Private Game Reserve, sourcing and supplying wines for the Singita properties in Southern and East Africa. Achieved a Certificate of Competence with Distinction from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Wine Tasting Academy in 2008. Twice runner-up in the Cape Wine Academy Cap Classique Tasting Competition.

Miguel Chan - Sommelier at The Cellars-Hohenort is the best in the country!

Miguel Chan - Sommelier at The Cellars-Hohenort is the best in the country!

Posted Jul 13, 2007

The steady composure that comes with self-confidence in the face of competitive situations can only happen when specialized knowledge is buttressed by passion and a love for the subject. Performing with such grace under pressure lead to success for Miguel Chan, sommelier and beverage manager at The Cellars Hohenort in Constantia who clinched the title as South Africa's first national Jeune Sommelier by the Chaine des Rotisseurs.

Chan will represent South Africa at the inaugeral International Jeunes Sommeliers Competition on September 7th in Frankfurt Germany during the German Grand Chapitre. It will be held concurrently with the Annual Jeunes Commis Rotisseurs Competition.

The new Jeune Sommeliers competition, which is open to sommeliers/ wine waiters between the ages of 21 - 32 years, holds special significance for wine professionalism and stands on equal footing with the Jeunes Commiss Competition.

"The seven candicates who entered the first national round were in for a hard time," says Monty Friendship, Echanson of the Chaine des Rotisseurs .

Their knowledge of international wines and spirits were put to the test in a gruelling three part evaluation - theory, service and blind tasting.

The theory portion is written and lasts for one hour, testing deep knowledge in all areas of wine, wine production, laws, viticulture and vinification as well as spirits, beers, ales, ciders, ports and sherry.

"South Africa is one of only ten countries who will take part in Germany later this year. This is a feather in our cap, as not even France, nor Italy will be taking part in this tough competition," reckons Friendship. Congratulations Miguel!

In a country where the professional sommelier is a rare beast indeed,


The Cellars-Hohenhort, Relais & Chateaux
A series reviewing places that deeply please the senses. By Christian Eedes.

However sprawling the gardens at the Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia, they are immaculately kept. The hotel is set against the slopes of Table Mountain and as you walk the grounds, you encounter a carefully cultivated herb garden, a colourful and abundant rose garden and even a politically correct indigenous garden.

Perhaps the most extraordinary of anything under cultivation are the eight camphor trees dating from 1690 that were bought in by the Dutch East India Company to decorate the supply road from Constantia to the Castle. It was a good thing that I walked down to see these trees at the bottom of the property not once but twice on the afternoon of my stay as, when it came to dinner, the staff at fine dining restaurant The Greenhouse were politely insistent that the brunette and I were to have the seven-course, R450-a-head gourmand menu.

Before our meal, we took up position in The Martini, the plush hotel bar that offers a range of 152 novelty martinis. As much to steel my nerves to face the impending bill I was sure to ring up as to whet my appetite, I had a Negroni, the well-known Italian cocktail consisting of gin, Campari and Martini Rosso. Once that was down the hatch, I felt much more the Latin lover…The Greenhouse is aptly named with floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows that have the effect of bringing some of the garden into the restaurant. Our table was immediately adjacent to a flood-lit oak tree thought to date from the mid 18th century. There can be few more dramatic backdrops to a meal anywhere. By this time hunger (and thirst) were starting to outweigh budgetary constraints. Enter Miguel Chan. In a country where the professional sommelier is a rare beast indeed, this hotel has a remarkable asset in this Mauritian-born and South African naturalised beverage manager-cum-irrepressible wine enthusiast. In ordering the gourmand menu, he was able to surprise and delight us with some unusual and inspired food-and-wine combinations. Who’s up for Semillon-Chardonnay-Vigonier De Grendel Winifred 2006 with pan-seared foie gras, rhubarb compote and black truffle jus?

The meal ended with a glass of Vin de Hohenort 2006 matched to a dark and white chocolate plate. In addition to everything else planted on the property is a tiny 0.6ha of Muscat de Frontignan that is now 17 years old. With the sweet wines of Constantia the stuff of legend, management couldn’t resist making their own version. The 2006 was a combination of late harvest and botyritis-infected grapes vinified at Stellenbosch farm Waterford. Total yield was less than a ton and in the end there were a mere 588 bottles. The wine is not available for purchase and is served only at management’s discretion – so ask nicely. The yet-to-be-released 2007 has even more sex appeal as romantic comedy movie star Meg Ryan helped pick the grapes…

More than replete, it was time for the brunette and me to enjoy the delights of our R5 900-a-night premier suite. Though the main Hohenort manor house and various other buildings all look very Country Living magazine from the outside, the interior of our suite is distinctly more edgy Wallpaper. The open-plan room is decorated in earth tones offset by snatches of bright pink and purple while furniture sees faux-antique table and chairs next to some very contemporary pieces. The bathroom is ultra-modern with a free-standing, big volume bath, his ’n hers basins and a large shower.

With the hour late, it was the comfy bed that interested me most. After the indulgences of dinner, I had no need for the pamper menu which offered bedtime treats such as hot chocolate, camomile tea or even a Jägermeister to settle the tum. Instead, I reflected that I probably needed yet another walk to the camphor trees the following morning as I buried my head in the down-filled pillows.

The Cellars-Hohenhort,Relais & Chareaux93 Brommersvlei RoadConstantiaTel: 021 794

Aeternitas Syrah 2006 85+ Points

"Saturated cherry red, good clarity and brilliance. Intense red berries medley, complex, touch of smoke and light toast intermingle with white chocolate dust, fragrant, multilayered. Fresh, elegant, delicate tannins, very good savoury texture, salty minerality, juicy delicate fruit. Dry, very well poised, excellent oaking, touch bitterness, will dissipate with cellaring or food pairings, need time. From 2011 until 2016+
Score : 85+ / 100

Saturday, September 27, 2008

CHEVIOT SYRAH 2004 - 85+ Points

For more information on Cheviot Syrah, please go to or alternatively contact Jaap Scholten @ or Elmari Swart @

CHEVIOT SYRAH 2004 - 85+ Points

Cheviot Syrah 2004 – 2006

The Cheviot Winery was started by Elmari Swart (MSc Oenology) and Jaap Scholten, over a bottle of sparkling Australian Shiraz, while living in an apartment on Cheviot Place, Green Point, South Africa.

Their search for a good Cape Rhone-style Syrah tempted then into starting their own garagiste winery.

2004 was their maiden vintage, with only 1 ton of grapes pressed.

In one word a stunning Syrah, if you can get your hand on it do not think twice…… there were only 612 bottles made….

From 2005 the annual harvest had since increased to two tons, producing roughly 1200 bottles per vintage.

Elmari and Jaap winemaking philosophy is based on Quality, Purity and Authenticity.

The quality is ensured by personal attention to detail, from the vineyard right through to the final bottled and packaged product.

In true Garagiste term everything is done by hand - tasting the grapes for the final harvest decision; open-tub fermentation; manual basket press - tasting of the juice, no use of hydraulics and pressure gauges; bottling by hand, even corking, labelling, and packing by hand.

Due to the small volume of grapes, terroir indeed plays a major part in the final wine.

Wine-making aspects is kept as constant as possible, thereby only letting the harvest and weather of a specific vintage to play a role in the outcome of the wine.

The oak regime are very subtle with 25% new French oak, 25% second fill French, 25% second fill American, and 25% first or second fill Hungarian oak for maturation.

2004 Cheviot Syrah 85+ Points

"Complex, gamey, earthy, minty, hints of dry rosemary, elegant and delicate, lovely fruit / acid / oak / alc integration, juicy, spicy peppery finish. Now until 2013"

The Cheviot Syrah 2004 beautifully expresses the small but concentrated crop of grapes harvested from the warm growing conditions of that vintage.Sourced from the prestigious Simonsberg area of Stellenbosch.

The vineyards are planted on medium vigour, well drained, granitic soils and managed to retain a healthy balance between grape production and growth and the crop was reduced by green-harvesting.

The fruit was harvested on the basis of analysis, taste and vine physiology. .

All damaged or unripe grapes were removed at harvest thereafter hand sorted - individual berries were selected and crushed into 500L open top fermenters. Approximately 10% of the berries remained whole. Selected yeast cultures were added and fermentation was successfully completed at 25-27°C.

The cap was punched down (pigeage) three times daily to ensure gentle extraction. Once fermentation was completed, the wine was pressed using a traditional wooden basket press and run directly to barrels (225L).
Malolactic fermentation was completed in the oak to ensure integration of the wood and fruit flavours. One Bordeaux style barrel and one American oak barrel (both second fill) were used for maturation. The wine received a racking once malolactic fermentation was successfully completed and another 3 months later.After maturation of 14 months, the wine was bottled without any fining or filtration and the minimum amount of sulphur was used to prevent oxidation.
The Cheviot Syrah 2004 85+ Points
is deep, dark purple-ruby in colour, typical of a young wine. The nose presents pronounced red berry fruit with a bouquet of fynbos perfume, complex, gamey, earthy, minty, hints of dry rosemary, elegant and delicate, lovely fruit / acid / oak / alc integration, juicy, spicy peppery finish.The palate has layers of generous ripe fruit and structured tannins, flowing into in a delicious, velvety aftertaste. Now until 2013
Chemical analysisMaiden Vintage 2004 total production: 612 bottles Alcohol 13.35 % v/v pH 3.7 g/l Total Acidity 5.7 g/l The Cheviot Syrah 2004 was released on August the 1st 2006.
2005 Cheviot Syrah 83+ Points
2005 grapes was selected from only 4 rows grown on the slopes of the Helderberg mountains, so no Simonsberg grapes this time "Sweet vanillin from the American Oak and red berry compote, delicate, refined, complex, elegant almost a claret style of Syrah, subtle earthy character. Now until 2013"
2006 Cheviot Syrah 80+ Points
"Complex red berries / spicy melange, hints of paprika dustiness, complex mouth feel, "Ribena", cassis syrup like richness, with lovely freshness, ripe needs time for acid to integrate. Now until 2013".
Tasted & rated by Miguel Chan

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Klein Constantia Estate Vinotheque Tastings November 2007

Klein Constantia Vinotheque tastings November 2007

Sauvignon Blanc

1986 83 Points
Dusty, peppery, prominent wet earth, structure still holding very well, juicy texture. Amazing for a 21 years old Cape Sauvignon Blanc.

So call wine critic who are adamant that great Cape Sauvignon do not age, will be discredited, they should rather write about beers, eat Boerewors and drink brandy & coke.

2003 83+ Points
Ripe tropical and passion fruit, dusty texture, elegant complex wine.

2005 85+ Points
Beautiful, compact, tense structure, juicy, peppery, freshly squeeze white grapefruit texture, need food to express it’s best.

Blanc de Blanc

1987 84 Points
Lovely peach texture, caramel & mild toast, delicate fruit structure, holding very well, hints of botrytis on the finish. Blend of Chenin Blanc & Sauvignon.

Rhine Riesling

1986 82 Points
Sweet peach, apricot flesh fruit, terpene character very evident, delicate elegant texture, off dry finish.

1998 86 Points
Terpene, delicate white floral notes, a bit shy compare to 1986. Complex structure, candied kumquat, lime, drier than 1986, very complex, delicate & sophisticated


2004 84 Points
Dusty, peppery, white oak vanillin structure / flavours, delicate, will hold very well for another 5 years.


1990 75 Points
Fruit fading, caramel, toffee, maderized character.

1995 77 Points
Fruit fading, leesy character, sweet oak aftertaste.

2003 80+ Points
Lovely sweet ripe fruits, candied lime & lemon, intense structure, long leesy finish.

Pinot Noir

1996 73 Points
Truffles, red currants, typical complex Pinot Noir aromas. Palate deceiving, not as complex as nose suggest, short finish.

2001 87 Points
Restrained, classic Burgundian feel, tight, fresh lovely fruit and natural acidity, morello cherries, delicate structure. Complex. Will last another +/- 4 years. This is the style of Pinot noir that sells at top end fine dining hotel restaurant, internationally, as it is neither overpowering, nor too weak, it has great natural acidity with delicate fruit structure, so will worked in harmony with rich oily fish, duck and mild matured game.
If only South Africa could make more of this style of Pinot Noir.

2004 85+ Points
Riper, denser fruit structure, earthier, tighter, needs time, will be as beautiful if not more complex than the 2001, in +/- 3 years (2010)

Cabernet Sauvignon

1997 81 Points
Minty, dusty, ripe delicate structure, almonds, walnut and richly textured, drink now.


1996 79 Points
Cedar, cassis, old leather, delicate and elegant. Now and over the next 2 years.

1998 81+ Points
Riper sweeter, denser, more concentrated, without loosing it’s elegance, hints of sharpness on finished / aftertaste.

2000 74+ ? Points
Denser, very prominent dry tannins, slight bitterness, will the fruit hold ?

1993 70 Points
Fruit fading, drink now, hints of bitterness, and very dry tannins that will not melt.

Noble Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

1992 91 Points
Richly textured, smokey, toasty, sun ripened peach, very intense finish.

2002 89+ Points
Richly textured, treacle, Canadian maple syrup, ripe apricot, dried fig and very ripe pears aftertaste.

2005 90 Points
Darker in colour than the 2002 ? Bigger texture, sweeter, cleaner, very ripe and rich apricot aftertaste.

Vin de Constance

1988 88+ Points
Terpene/petrolly, rich, burnt lemon zest character, acidity brings freshness, intense long finish.

1992 90+ Points
Ripe, richly textured, sun ripened apricot, sweet vanilla, intense long finish.

1996 88+ Points
Intense, ripe peaches, rich mouthfeel, complex raisiny aftertaste.

Constantia Glen New Vintages

Constantia Glen

Established in 2000, perched high up near Constantia Nek this is Constantia Valley latest winery. The first wine was bottle in 2005, a phenomenal Sauvignon Blanc a la Cloudy Bay style followed by an equally impressive 2006, one of the star of the vintages.

Winemaker Karl Lambour, a towering giant, is one of the most meticulous and knowledgeable wine maker I have come across in the Cape, a born perfectionist join the stable in 2006, now overlooking the 29 hectares planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc.

Constantia Glen 120 ton state of the art gravity fed cellar, is one of the most modern in the Cape, offering precision winemaking at all level of production. This is a winery to watch, if meticulous approach is maintain, expect some world class wine in the next 10 years, if not sooner!

Privilege pre-tasting of flagship red following pre blending component tasted from barrel in February. At that time the tannins and structure suggested a style somewhere between the profile of Anwilka, Vilafonté, Morgenster and Anthonij Rupert range, however post blending have created a totally different and complete wine, with a profile for a Bordeaux style never encountered before in the Cape. Exciting, interesting & captivating. The Cape needs more of this style to gain more international respect.

Clear with bright cherry red with slight purple rim. Fragrant, with delicate medley of blackcurrant, very ripe cassis, and lead pencil minerality intermingle with cedar notes, as wine warm up toasty notes of dark chocolate comes through lending a new dimension to the already complex aromas profile, never encountered before in a Cape Bordeaux style blend. Oak very much in balance coaxing subtle notes of dark forest fruit, delicate and subtle with refreshing acidity, very well integrated for a wine that was only blended 2 and half week earlier, already appealing with charm and a sense of sophistication. Perhaps not for the long term by world standard, but very good by Cape standard, this wine will reach it’s full potential at +/- 2013 and will drink well until around 2016+, as vines ages couple by a better understanding of each site and growing condition, expect a more profound product to come from this winery, definitely a winery to watch, Private collectors, Sommeliers.... get your cheque ready for release in January 2009.....

32% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18%Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc & 11% Petit Verdot . 13 month in new French oak, TA 5.3, PH3.6, alc 14.5.

Price: Unknown at time of tasting, expect to pay at least level 3

2 ways to enjoy the Constantia Glen Red Blend:

1- Vine fired roasted lamb loin rubbed with parsley, crushed Szechuan pepper and garlic flakes, served rare served with pommes dauphine, spring vegetables a l’Anglaise and jus corsé enhanced with black truffles shavings.

2- Wild Cape Guinea fowl marinated in red wine and a sprig of fynbos, slowly braised with forest mushrooms, home cured bacon and veal stock and served with herb tagliatelle and fresh tomato compote.

Food suggestions above created by Tomato Catering, for more information please email

2008 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc 83 Points

Discreet varietal note, with gooseberries, touch of tropical fruit medley and hints of elderflower. Lighter structure than 2007, only 12.5% vs 14%, but broader palate lends interest and charm, notes of green lime, guava skin and racy acidity suggest hints of Semillon.......... it’s. Winemaker Karl Lambour was spot on in his harvest bringing in most Sauvignon grapes before the 3 and half day non stop long deluge over the week end of 10th & 11th February that annihilated most Cape Sauvignon of the 2008 vintage.

Irrespective of all the effort, nowhere as close as 2007 or the great 2006, definitely shows characteristic of the 2008 vintage, nevertheless one of the few survivors of 2008 Sauvignon Blanc.

Anticipated integration around December 2008 thereafter should drink well with the possibility of a fatter mid palate due bottle age until +/- 2012.

Price: 2

2 ways to enjoy the Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc 2008:

1 – Carpaccio of kingklip with herbs dressing and a light dust of baie roses du Cap
2 – Crunchy medley of spring asparagus spears, rocket, cherry tomato and chervil, served with grilled goat cheese medaillon and a Key lime dressing enhanced with Passion fruit pearls.

Food suggestions above created by Tomato Catering, for more information please email

Tasted in the presence of Constantia Glen owner Gus C.G.Allen, consultant Dominique Hebrard previous owner of Chateau Cheval Blanc and now owner of Chateau Bellefont-Belcier, a Saint Emillion Grand Cru Classé, Constantia Glen Winemaker Karl Lambour and Marketing Director Jeremy Nel of Luxury Brand.

Tasted on the 30th July 2008 at 1530
Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier
2007 Young South African Sommelier of the year – Chaine des Rôtisseurs
2007 Finalist, Concours Internationale des Jeunes Sommeliers World Final, Frankfurt Germany.
2008 Certificate of Competence with distinction from the WINE magazine Michael Fridjhon Tasting Academy

Older Vintages......

2007 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc 85+Points

Expressing the vintage, touch lighter than 2006, more gooseberries and green kiwi, leaner, crisper structure, with hints of minerality. Fresh and delicate. 2008 – 2011.
Price: 2

2006 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc 88 Points

From a vineyard high up near Constantia Nek, comes this phenomenal almost like white grapefruit and freshly tucked asparagus tip, lime and lemon grass aromas. Thick, concentrated and oily, this mouth filling Sauvignon is highly recommended, only 8ooo bottles produced. June 2007 until 2013. IWC Gold and 90 points Wine spectator.
Price: 2

2005 vintage 4 star WINE magazine
Not tasted.