Monday, October 10, 2011

Southern Sun Stakes its Claim in Wine Accolades

Southern Sun Stakes its Claim in Wine Accolades

Friday, Oct 07 2011

Southern Sun has staked its claim in the ranks of the finest wine lists in South Africa, proving its commitment to providing Southern African consumers with a diverse and balanced selection of choice wine sourced from the finest wine regions the country and the world.

This follows the recent announcement of the prestigious 2011 Diners Club International Winelist Awards, in which Southern Sun scooped two Diamond and 13 Platinum awards.

In a surprise announcement VIN MMX at Sandton Sun won the ultimate honor for any restaurant in South Africa – the Diner’s Club ‘Best Wine List’ award for 2011 – a phenomenal achievement for a restaurant that has been operational for just 18 months.

The Diner’s Club awards are the second significant recognition of Southern Sun in two months, with Wine Spectator America last month recognizing VIN MMX as having ‘one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world’.

Aspiring to put Southern Sun hotel restaurants and bars on the map is Group Sommelier and wine-industry stalwart, Miguel Chan.

“Our aim is to ensure that our bars and restaurants are recognized as ‘THE’ establishments at which you will find the very best wines in SA, and the Diners Club International Wine List Awards are just the start.”

Southern Sun first motivated entry into the Awards in 2010, entering 95% of the group’s key bars and restaurants for placement.

“We were surprised when we returned with a number of Silver, Gold and Diamond awards.

Not only did this highlight our strengths, it gave us an idea as to the areas in need of improvement,” says Chan. “A year later, we are proud to have seen our restaurants improve upon their 2010 placements and further entrench Southern Sun’s growing status as parent company to some of the finest fine dining establishments in South Africa.

” The 2011 Diners Club International Winelist Awards saw Bernouillis at Southern Sun OR Tambo Airport, Punchinello’s at Southern Sun Montecasino , Southern Sun Cape Sun, BICE at Southern Sun Hyde Park and SAN at Sandton Sun all receive Platinum Award status, having been escalated from Gold status last year.

Oasis at Southern Sun Pretoria and Southern Newlands both received Platinum awards, having moved up from Silver in 2010.

The Intercontinental at OR Tambo Airport and Intercontinental Sandton Towers, as well as Medeo Restaurant at Palazzo Montecasino and Mondovino at SunSquare Montecasino retained the Platinum status awarded to them in 2010.

The hotly contested SA Best Wine Steward Award, a stand-alone category recognising emerging young talent in wine service, was awarded to Brilliant Mathelumusa of SunSquare Montecasino .

Making their mark in Durban, Elements Café at the Beverly Hills Hotel also joined the ranks of the best of the best in SA – with the Sugar Club earning Diamond and Elements Café scooping a Platinum award. The jewel in Southern Sun’s wine crown is undoubtedly VIN MMX at Sandton Sun which, under the leadership of Executive Chef Garth Shnier has received recognition across culinary circles.

The receipt of Diamond status, as well as the prestigious Diner’s Club SA National Best Wine Lists of 2011 Award, plus the recognition by Wine Spectator America, the most widely read and influential international wine publication, places this exclusive fine dining establishment in the ranks of the very finest wine lists in South Africa and the world.

“This is the first time in the 30 year history of the Wine Spectator Awards that a Johannesburg-based restaurant has received recognition and for a first time recipient to win the “Award of Excellence” is certainly a phenomenal achievement,” says Graham Wood, Managing Director of Southern Sun.

Wine Spectator''s Restaurant Wine List Awards recognise restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. “These awards are a proud moment in our history as they validate our commitment providing the very best service and dining options for our patrons,” Wood. He adds, “We believe that our position within these prestigious winelist awards will continue to grow from strength to strength as we embark on other innovative and highly sustainable initiatives.

We’re proud of what our Southern Sun bars and restaurants offer as quality dining establishments, and especially of our status as the provider of some of the finest wine lists in the world.”

2011 Diners Club Winelist award winners announced

2011 Diners Club Winelist award winners announced

October 4th, 2011 by Kate Els | Categories: beverages , food , hotels , industry , restaurants

The winners of the 2011 Diners Club Winelist Awards have been announced. The panel of judges bestowed the Diamond award for the best wine list nationally on the VIN MMX Restaurant in the Sandton Sun Hotel.

A first time entrant in the awards, the restaurant also recently won an award from US magazine, Wine Spectator in its wine list category.

Diners Club’s other category winners are Villa Bianca in Isando with Best Platinum, the Three Trees at Spioenkop restaurant in Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal with Best Gold, and Sage Restaurant in Stellenbosch with Best Silver, The restaurant 1800 Degrees in the Cape Royal Hotel in the Cape Town CBD was judged Best New Entry.

The Best Wine Steward competition, run concurrently with the Diners Club Winelist Awards, was won by Brilliant Mathelumusa of the Sun Square restaurant in Montecasino at Fourways in Gauteng. The runner-up was Solomon Ross of Marc’s Restaurant in Paarl.

Dave Hughes, well-known wine personality and chairman of the panel of judges, says the standard of entries was increasing year on year.

“I believe this is for a number of reasons. On the one hand diners who are exposed to a constantly growing array of excellent wines now expect to find their favourite wines on the wine list when they go out for a meal.

“At the same time there is a widespread awareness that some wines are better suited to a particular dish than others. This is the result, in my view of the strong accent on the relevance of food and wine pairing that is being promoted so extensively by the wine industry.

Menus and wine lists are increasingly being compiled in concert to encourage more compatible matching.”

Hughes says the tendency noticed last year of more and more restaurants offering quality wines by the glass was growing.

Again a number of factors could play a role in this. “First, it allows the more adventurous diner to experiment with wines he doesn’t know without having to commit to a full bottle.

“As a panel we were also delighted to notice the price spectrum covered in so many wine lists. By offering lower- and medium-priced wines in addition to those icon wines for special occasions, restaurants are better satisfying the needs of all their wine-loving patrons. And, of course, it also reflects a healthy dose of realism in the present tough economic times,” Hughes says.

Jane Ledger, Diners Club’s regional manager for the Western Cape, says the number of entries submitted for the competition has increased by more than 30% over the past two years while the geographic reach of the competition had also grown, with all the major hospitality areas of the country now well represented. “We see this growing support for the awards as recognition of the ever-increasing status they enjoy in the industry.”

Two Oceans Western Cape Pinot Noir 2011 88 Points

Two Oceans Western Cape Pinot Noir 2011 88 Points

Clear, bright ruby cherry red with slight purple rim, medium concentration and medium viscosity, no gas or sediment.

Clean with medium plus intensity, ripe cherries, strawberries and plums, slight wet earth note, subtle note of spicy oak, probably French oak, possibly very brief sojourn, excellent purity of fruit, still primary!, tutti frutti, but good Pinot definition, ripe.

Dry with some residual sugar, possibly less than 3 RS, with medium plus acidity, medium alcohol (excellent level of 12.5 ABV), low plus tannins, medium bodied, with new flavors of juicy currant, ripe strawberries, cranberries, balance ripeness with good fruit structure, fresh and elegant, brush of oak on texture, medium finish and medium complexity.

Huge step on the already good 2010, 2009 was fine but marred with huge bottle variations! 2011 is better in clour, truer Pinot hue, less alcohol a big bonus and less oak, preserving the integrity of ripe delicate fruit, subtle extraction.

Amazing value for less than R 35 bottle/retail, excellent by the glass, as a good, light to medium bodied red, will work with a versatility if food including gamefish.

For “extra”, enjoyement, this summer served lightly chilled at 12 degrees Celsius.

Now until 2016+



For immediate release 2011-10-09


KWV has been crowned as the king of Veritas 2011. Last night (Saturday 8 October) this almost century old wine and brandy company with its headquarters in Paarl, received a remarkable five double gold and nine gold medals at the 2011 Veritas Award ceremony – the most double gold and gold medals ever won by one cellar. The event took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and was sponsored by Agri-Expo.

Although no other cellar really followed closely on their heels other top achievers in terms of double gold and gold medals include: Boplaas Family Vineyards (3 double gold, 1 gold), Nederburg Wines (2 double gold, 9 gold), Nuy Wine Cellar (2 double gold, 7 gold), Distell Brandy (2 double gold, 6 gold), Bon Courage and Spier won 2 double gold and 5 gold medals each, Flagstone (2 double gold, 2 gold) and Kanonkop Wine Estate (2 double gold, 1 gold). Delaire Graff Estate also earned two double gold medals.

Out of a total of 1 739 entries 42 (2.41%) double gold, 158 (9.08%) gold, 609 (35.0%) silver and 619 (35.6%) bronze medals were awarded.


Just ten top wine and brandy cellars laid claim to more than half of this year’s double gold medals. Double gold medals will adorn KWV’s The Mentors Sauvignon Blanc 2009, the 2009 The Mentors Petit Verdot, as well as their Cape Classic Tawny Port and an exceptional 1930 Muscadel LBV. A double gold for their 15 year old pot still brandy again confirmed their prowess on both the wine and brandy front.

Boplaas Family Vineyards, South Africa’s leading port masters, is second in the double gold row with three of these coveted awards for their Cape Tawny Port, the 2009 Cape Vintage Port, and a 1997 Tawny Port Reserve.

This year Nederburg received two double gold medals for a 2003 Private Bin Edelkeur Noble Late Harvest and a 2010 Private Bin Eminence natural sweet wine.

Nuy Wine Cellar’s double gold trio were awarded for their 2007 Nuy White Muscadel and a 1989 Red Muscadel.

Two of Distell’s premium brandy brands won the favour of the judges and consequently double gold status: Flight of the Fish Eagle and Van Ryn’s 12 year old Distillers Reserve.

Bon Courage boasts with two double gold awards for their 2006 Blanc de Blanc Jacques Bruére as well as a 2011 Red Muscadel.

Spier, last year’s top achiever, won two double gold medals for the 2010 Woolworths Classic Chenin Blanc and the Woolworths The Hutton Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2008 vintage.

Flagstone’s two double gold medals were awarded for their Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon and the Writer's Block Pinotage, both from the 2009 vintage.

Two double gold medals went to Kanonkop for their 2006 and 2008 Pinotage.

Delaire Graff Estate deserved two double gold medals for the 2009 Cape Vintage Port and the 2010 Chenin Blanc.

Cabernet Sauvignon took the lead in double gold medals with five awards, followed by Red Blends (4), Pinotage (4), Port (4), Muscadel (3), Pot still Brandy (3), Wooded Chenin Blanc (2), Sauvignon Blanc (no wood) (2), Méthode Cap Classique (2), Shiraz (2), Wooded Chardonnay (1), Wooded Gewürztraminer (1), Wooded Sauvignon Blanc (1), Natural Sweet White (1), Merlot (1), Other Red Cultivar (1). The Museum Class yielded five double gold awards for Dessert Wine (2), Noble Late Harvest (1), Port (1), and Red Wine (1).

Red Blends topped the list of gold medal winners with 16 awards, followed by Shiraz (14), Pot Still Brandy (13), Sauvignon Blanc (no wood) (12), Cabernet Sauvignon (12), Merlot (9), Wooded Chenin Blanc (8), Méthode Cap Classique (8), Chenin Blanc (no wood) (7), Pinotage (6), Muscadel (6), Colombar (no wood) (4), White blends (no wood) (3), Wooded Chardonnay (3), Port (3), Dessert wine (3), Wooded white blends (2), Chardonnay (no wood) (2), Wooded Sauvignon Blanc (2), Weisser Riesling/Rhine Riesling (no wood) (2), Wooded Viognier (1), Special Late Harvest (1), Straw wine (1), Natural Sweet White (1), Noble Late Harvest (no wood) (1), Wooded Noble Late Harvest (1), Rosé (1), Cabernet Franc (1), Pinot Noir (1), Other red cultivar (1), Sherry (1), Standard Brandy (1). In the Museum Class Dessert Wine (6), Noble Late Harvest (2), White wine (1), Port (1), and Red wine (1) won gold medals.

The full results are available online at


1 739 wines and brandies were put through their paces by a team of more than 100 local judges, augmented by the skills and experience of nine international wine and brandy experts.

The imposing international team of judges included the first South African chairperson of the Institute of Masters of Wine, Lynne Sherriff (England); well known wine writer and panel chairperson of the International Wine Challenge in London, Christine Austin (England); Johan Larsson (Sweden) chief wine buyer of South African wines for the Swedish wine retail monopoly, Systembolaget; and John and Nellie Salvi (France). John, MW, is a viticulturist, wine writer and wine maker, while his wife Nellie is a wine writer and owner of a company organising wine tours and technical symposiums.

Joining them was Thomas Lüber (Germany), chief buyer of South African wines for WIV Wein International AG; Australian born Richard Rowe, currently chief wine maker at KWV, as well as the French brandy expert Denis Lahouratate from Biscuit in Cognac, and Dave Hughes, our very own wine and spirits connoisseur and internationally respected judge.


Wine enthusiasts in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Knysna and Port Elizabeth will stand a chance to taste these top Veritas achievers – without having to purchase the lot.

Capetonians can taste the Veritas achievers at the VOC Room (Southern Sun Cape Sun, Strand Street) on 18 October from 17:00 to 20:00 with tickets at R130 pp. The Johannesburg tasting takes place on 26 October from 17:00 to 20:00 at the Bill Gallagher Room of the Sandton Convention Centre – tickets cost R140. Wine lovers in Durban will get their chance on 3 November from 17:00 to 20:00 at the Function Room, Deloitte Head Office in Umhlanga - tickets are R100 each. Tasters will be able to enjoy this year’s Qualité cheese champions during these sessions too.

Squires Legendary Grill in the Boardwalk centre in Beach Road will be the venue where wine lovers in Port Elizabeth can gather for a sit-down tasting event of 16 wines that includes light refreshments on 15 November starting at 18:00 (R100 pp). In Knysna the Veritas victors can be tasted during a dinner hosted at Kilzers Kitchen on 16 November from 19:00 – tickets cost R240. There will also be a sit – down tasting session with selected wines and snacks on 17 November from 18:00 to 20:00 at R85 per person at Kilzers.

Tickets for tastings in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are available at Computicket. Bookings for the Port Elizabeth and Knysna events must be made with the various organisers.

This year’s tastings are supported by the professional services company, Deloitte.

For the latest news about Veritas, as well as interesting interviews with the organisers, international judges and top achievers, visit the online Veritas press office at Contact Elsabé Ferreira at tel (021) 807 3104, email to or visit for more information.


Issued by Marlene Truter Communications
tel 082 7727 519 email

On behalf of Veritas Awards
Contact Elsabé Ferreira
tel 021 8073104 email

Records tumble at best ever Nedbank CWG Auction

Records tumble at best ever Nedbank CWG Auction

Taste the 2011 CWG Auction wines at Cape Wine Europe 2011: 11 & 12 October at Earls Court, London - STAND 19

Records tumbled at the 27th Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild auction held in the Stellenbosch winelands over the weekend, with a record turnover of R5 286 700, a new record price for red wine and overseas sales doubling. Despite the record turnover up by R1,4 million over the previous year and some outstanding prices, the 2011 Auction offered excellent value for money and great diversity.

The highest price per case, a new Auction record of R6 000, was paid by a Belgian buyer for the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2009.

“We got the balance right between the ratio of white and the red wines on offer this year and the great diversity of wines ensured keen bidding and interest from the floor right until the end. There was something for everyone with good value on offer as buyers snatched up wines at competitive prices on the one hand, with the more sought-after collector’s items fetching exceptionally good prices on the other,” said Louis Strydom, Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild.

The auction, conducted by Henré Hablutzel of Hofmeyr Mills Auctioneers for the 14th consecutive year, attracted 122 buyers this year including 19 from overseas with a total of 2 955 cases sold at an average price of R1 789 per case equivalent of 6 X 750ml bottles. The lineup of 56 wines included 38 red wines, 13 white wines, 2 Méthode Cap Classiques, a dessert wine, a port and a potstill brandy.

Alan Pick of The Butcher Shop and Grill triumphed for the 10th consecutive year as the biggest spender at R1,3 million. The bulk of the wines, over 70%, was bought by local buyers with a record R1,5 million spent by overseas bidders headed by the United Kingdom with R586 400 this year. Overseas bids came from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Namibia, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Canada.

In addition to the record breaking red wine, other top selling wines included Kanonkop CWG Pinotage 2009 with an average price per case of R3 843, Hartenberg Estate Auction Shiraz 2009 selling at R3 264, Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer 2008 at R3 237, Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir 2009 at R3 212, Neil Ellis Rodanos 2007 at R3 125 and the Saronsberg Die Erf Grenache 2010 averaging at R2 677.

Amongst the white wines, top selling wines were the Jordan Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2010 with an average price per case of R2 285, Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2009 at R2 100, the Cape Point Vineyards Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010 at R1 822.

In addition to the main auction, a total of R132 600 was raised on the day in aid of the Cape Winemaker’s Guild Protégé Programme, a mentorship initiative for young, upcoming winemakers. Every year a very special charity item is auctioned off to raise funds. This year’s item, a one-of-a-kind 18-litre 2009 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Reserve comprising a blend of top wines from members of the Guild, was purchased by Zdenek Lang of the Czech Republic for R25 000. This was the third consecutive year that the charity item was bought by Lang, who has donated it back to the Guild for resale at the 2012 charity auction.

Exceptional wines with a creative edge and great diversity of styles was the hallmark of the Guild’s 2011 auction, recognised as South Africa’s leading wine auction open to the wine trade and the general public. All the wines are crafted exclusively for the Auction by members of the Guild to represent the pinnacle of what can be achieved in South African winemaking.

For further information on the wines auctioned and their highest, lowest and average prices, please visit the Auction Page on our Website.

Please visit our Facebook Page for more Auction Week Photos.