Saturday, January 31, 2009

Eagles Nest Constantia Wines high ratings by Miguel Chan

Eagles Nest, one of the latest winery to join the Constantia Valley wine route is perched high up on Constantia Berg mountain on the way to Hout Bay.

They make the one and only Viognier in Constantia Valley and focuses on Shiraz as well, both are excellent and highly recommended, fit for listing in fine dining or for one’s own cellar.

The Merlot is more a case of house wife dinner wine, uncomplicated and easy quaffing, with no pretension.

2006 Eagles Nest Shiraz 88 Points
Dark cherry red, with a vibrant purple rim.

Typical moderate climate Shiraz character (South Africa is not a Cool climate viticulture area, it’s moderate at it’s “coolest” to warm and very hot, the further inland it gets to the sea, do not believe misleading comments from viticulturist, winemakers and worst of all marketing and sales people, who keep on using the term cool climate viticulture, let’s save this term for Patagonia, Oregon, Central Otago, Burgundy or Mosel……)

Darker colour than the 2005 with dark cherry red and a vibrant bright purple rim.
Ripe nose of prunes, blueberries and hints of wet soil, spicy fragrant melange of nutmeg and cloves, with complex lead pencil mineral, with delicate sour plum acidity lending freshness.

Concentrated and fat, but oozes elegance, with good fruit structure without being overripe or sunburnt (which sadly is the case in up to 80% of Cape Shiraz), notes of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate intermingle with creamy texture and ripe tannins, is very well meshed with the lingering spicy finished. Slightly rustic Rhône in character, a huge step above the already fine 2005, shows a very fine panache between New World fruitiness and Old World structure.

This is a fantastic food wine made from second crop, off 4 year old vines, grown on terraces “à la Côte Rôtie”, the one of it’s kind in Constantia Valley and very rare in the Cape, at an easterly facing elevation of between 200 and 400 metres above sea level.

19 months in three different coopers of second fill French oak barrels were use, to retain the fruit and preserve the delicate structure.

Definitely a Shiraz to watch as vines grow older and better root system seeking out the minerals of Constantia soil, imagine what this label could be in 10/15 years from now……

Sealed under screw cap, which is great move to be applauded

Now until 2016
Tasted 30 January 2008

Tomato Catering suggest
“Poached free range chicken supreme in chicken stock, served with whole baby spring potato and french beans dressed in black truffle shavings and fresh cream emulsion”

2006 Eagles Nest Viognier 90 Points

First of it’s kind moderate climate Viognier, in the Cape, as most Viognier are grown and made in the hot ward of Wellington, Paarl, Robertson and also warm district of Stellenbosch and it’s ward.

Cape Viognier are powerful, rich in glycerine and high turbo charged alcohol, it’s not unusual to find Viognier from these regions between 15 and 16.5 alcohol by volume, though they had immediate appeal when 6 month old, but they aged poorly and tends to fall apart after +/- 18 month……… and last but not least they are a disaster with food, the only thing I can think of is to soak fresh peach, apricot and plum in them and make a dessert with whipped cream………

So this maiden release from Eagles Nest, shows lovely peach and apricot, is jasmine scented, and hints of pine honey, reminiscent of a New Zealand’s Viognier ( Hawkes Bay region).

Fresh, rich, oily, mouth filling palate, excellent integration of the fruit, acid, oak and alcohol only 14.28%, still integrating, lingering white stone fruit pip, along with tell tale Viognier tannins, very much present on the back palate.

Crisp and elegant, very subtle finish, drink now until 2010+, it just get better and better in bottle, this is partly due to a very good PH of only 3.1

This is another fantastic food wine, oozing elegance and finesse, as well as structured complexity, the fruit comes from second crop off 4 year old vines, in two north easterly facing vineyard.

7 months in second and third fill, combination of wild yeast for two third of the must and the other one third inoculated with a cultured yeast strain.

Only 4400 bottles made.

Last re-tasted 29 January 2009

These 2 great Constantia and Cape wines above, is not only the results of great site, which still have not reveal it’s full potential yet, but the hard work of the then very humble resident winemaker and viticulturist Steve Roche, who has since left for Canada as vineyard manager at Hidden Bench vineyards & winery.

Tomato Catering suggest
Confit of pork cheek with veal sweetbread terrine, sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and crisp micro greens and grilled peach.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2003 Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut as reviewed by Mike Bampfield-Duggan

Article below courtesy of Mike Bampfield-Duggan of Wine Concept and

Thank you Mike, great article and to the point, it's clean and very decent wine writing, definitely consumer friendly.

My personal view about Wine Concept, it's a great wine shop, where I normally buy (Newlands shop) my international wines, for my personal palate training and of course enjoyment, and the service has always been exceptional and attentive.

Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier

Moet & Chandon

Article By: Mike Bampfield-Duggan, Wine Concepts

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 08:14

Anyone who drinks the good stuff will surely, sometime in their lives, have enjoyed a glass or two from the famous French Champagne House, Moet & Chandon!

This world brand was started by Claude Moet in 1743 and with the help of the remarkable Madame de Pompadour, who was an important figure in the court of Louis XV, the Champagne become popular amoungst the gentry. The wine she said: "Leaves women beautiful after having partaken of it, and makes men witty."

The popularity of the wine spread and was in demand in the halls of the most prominent places in France. In 1769 Claude Moet died and left the business to his grandson Jean-Remy Moet who took the Champagne to the world! In 1832 Jean-Remy retired and his son-in-law Pierre Gabriel Chandon took control of the House and the name Moet & Chandon was entrenched. The House is now part of the LVMH (Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy) group.

A vintage champagne implies that the harvest was exceptional and must be made from 100% grapes grown in that year. The Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2003 is the 68th Vintage from this House and although the harvest was difficult due to a heat wave which played havoc with the fermentation the final result was exceptional.

Recently, I attended a luncheon hosted by Moet at the Cellars Hohenort Hotel in Constantia.

Head Chef Peter Templehof along with Sommelier Miguel Chan created a menu to match several Vintages of Moet — including the 2003. The Grand Vintage 2003 was served with Oolong tea smoked tuna tartare with abalone carpaccio, daikon radish, lime, green tea jelly and caviar! The many flavours of this dish complimented the mature creamy velvety flavours of the wine and it was extraordinary how well the tastes harmonised! (A credit to Miguel and Peter.)

The 2003 is a blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. On the nose one experiences wafts of vanilla, almonds with hints of apricots and poached pears. The palate explodes on entry with a mouthfilling mousse of tiny bubbles which after settling invites the palate to an intimate sensation of silky creamy fruit with a biscotti backdrop followed by a long elegant finish.

The festive season is a time for spoiling ourselves and so I don't feel guilty about the few bottles I bought! I will enjoy some now but will keep a couple for a further taste sensation in years to come.

Expect to pay: R710.00

To order this, contact Wine Concepts.