Friday, December 28, 2012

Grangehurst Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2003 92+ Points

Clear, garnet with hints of mahogany towards the rim, color holding well.

Clean, medium plus intensity, showing just a hint of tertiary character, but still lots of vibrant red fruit in the background, will probably hold another + /- 3 years, very Medoc like with stewed blackcurrant and cassis in spirits, tobacco, cedar wood, earthy complexity.

Dry with loads of saturated red fruits,holding very well, savoury black olivey note, fresh and lively with moderate plus acidity, moderate tannin, somewhat creamy in profile, full bodied with high alcohol (14) in the background well integrated, long and persistent, this is testament of a top quality Cape Bordeaux style blend, maturing gracefully with no sign of tiring yet for a 10 year old wine, drinking probably at its peak now, but should hold/plateau for another +/- 3 years.

Robertson Winery Robertson Pinot Grigio 2011 85 Points

Pale straw, slight coppery reflection typical of the variety.
Clean, moderat plus intensity, delicately ripe pears, yellow lemon, green apples, white floral, the profile is more Veneto than Alsace, some mineral, well define with lots of personality

Dry, with moderate plus acidity, near perfect moderate alcohol of 12.5% abv, fresh and lively with delicate texture, well made and moreish, perfect aperitif or lunch time wine

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Radford Dale Renaissance Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2010 92+ Points

The first impression of this stellar Chenin Blanc is not of the Loire, but great Burgundy, kind of an intoxicating cross between a classic vintage Montrachet and Pouilly Fuisse.

Captivating aromatics with delicately ripe Granny Smith apples, yellow lemons, camomille flowers, with a flinty mineral core, smoky / matchstick complexity.

Dry, linear, high acidity, very fresh, so much energy, precise, textured, long and persistent. A bargain at less than R 200 trade. Now until 2019

Groot Constantia Estate Gouverneurs Reserve 2010 91+ Points

Bright, translucent cherry red with garnet rim.

Clean, expressive Medoc like profile with perfectly ripe cassis, blackcurrant and blueberries, hints of granite minerals, cedar and graphite complexity, floral, delicate tobacco note, spicy, perfect oaking.

Dry with medium plus acidity, fresh, lively, textured mid palate, ripe medium plus tannins, giving good grip, spicy cloves, very high alcohol of 14.5% abv totally integrated, now until 2020+

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2010 94 Points

Only 3000 bottles produced, a Cape blend style with 30% Pinotage, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Shiraz and 5% each of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Tannat.

Captivating purity, juicy dark red fruits with peppery spices, bold and concentrated yet imprressively fresh, elegant and vibrant with perfect extraction, plush ripe tannins, full bodied, seamless, charming red full of personality, lots going in the glass, revealing layers if complexity as the wine opened up.

Simply impressivea , any well stocked cellar should have at least a case, a must buy.
Now until 2020+

KWV Perold Paarl Shiraz 2011 92+ Points

More Syrah than Shiraz with a Northern Rhone profile of Hermitage cross Cote Rotie, delicately ripe red fruit medley, floral, excellent purity of fruit, white pepper, with dark roasted coffee beans subtly integrated, cocoa beans and dark Valrhona chocolate, chalky, graphite complexity, focus freshness with a juicy core, an impressive effort, embryonic at this stage, need time, best from 2015+ until 2022+

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Winery of Good Hope Western Cape Pinot Noir Reserve 2011 90 Points

By far the best made to date under the Winery of Good Hope label, a blend of Elgin and Stellenbosch fruit, showing vibrant cherry red, with a purple rim.

Clean, slightly reductive, subtle ripe plums, cherries, saffron spiciness, game meat, subtle oaking.

Dry with medium plus acidity, crackling freshness, crunchy tannins, cherry pip, and stemmy freshness, leesy texture, savoury, long and persistent.

Ignore at your peril, at the price it is very hard to get better quality, over delivers on price points, now until 2018.

Avondale Armilla MCC Brut 2010 89+ Points

100% Chardonnay, with 18 months on lees, showing appley, lemony note, vibrant with fine mousse, clean, bright, complex note of hazelnut and citrus fruit burst, cheese rind, rich texture resultant from 20% reserve wine, with an elegant profile, near perfect dosage of 9g/l, zesty

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Arendsig Single Vineyards Robertson Shiraz 2011 86 Points

Bright, youthful, ruby red with purple rim.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe blackberry, plums, blackberries,earthy, stony character, black olives, subtle oaking.

Dry with some residual sugar, intense fruit concentration, juicy and savory, salty plums note, creamy texture, moderate tannin, medium acidity, fresh and lively, slight overextraction, peppery, if only the very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, could have been less, this would have been a much much better and drinkable Shiraz. Now until 2018.

Dunstone Wellington Shiraz 2009 81 Points

Bright, youthful, ruby red with purple rim.

Clean, high intensity, Porty, raisin note, overipe plums/prune, black fruits, hints of smoke and leather, sucrosite evident, oaky style.

Dry with dash residual sugar, rich, extracted style, ripe and full bodied, "dead fruit" character follows through, compromising freshness, dusty dark chocolate, earthy, medium plus acidity, some savouriness, medium plus ripe tannins, high alcohol of 14% abv slightly out of balance, now until 2018.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Domaines lafrance Ice Cider 2009 94 Points

I have tried a few and impressive Canadian Ice Wine of late, but this was a revelation as not only it is the first time I tried an Ice Cider, but allowed my ignorance I was not aware of an Ice Cider, made in a similar way to an Ice Wine.

Made from a blend of McIntosh, Cortland, Spartan Empire and Golden Russet apples varieties, harvest at minus freezing temperatures.
Ice Cider can only be made in Quebec

Deep gold, clean, intense cider apple note, ripe, honey.

Sweet with possibly high residual sugar, very high laser like acidity, tamarind like, juicy, fresh, low alcohol of only 10.5% abv, super concentrated, yet have an impressive energy drive, long and lingering aftertaste.

Divine tropical lychee wine NV 89+ Points

If the wine was served blind to me I would have said by deduction it could have been an Alsatian Vendange Tardive gewurztraminer from a warm not so classical vintage,  yet smartly made with excellent purity of fruit, with minimal botrytis.

Clear bright, pale, green reflections, low viscosity
Clean with high aromatic intensity of ripe lychees, rose,  talc and Turkish delight layered well defined with basalt minerals, floral, fruity talc almost a muscaty note, spicy, greens orange peel

More off dry than sweet full texture juicy full bodied fleshy lychees rose petal medium alcohol of 12 abv  

This is a tropical wine made 100% from Mauritian lychees, which will be perfect with any liver base dishes, pan fried foie gras, or simply served with a creme brulee at the end of a meal.
A must try and buy for anyone visiting Mauritius, cost around ZAR 50 for a 500ml bottle, moulded like an Ice Wine bottle.

Served at 4 degrees Celsius.

With so much lychees in Limpopo, perhaps some farmers / aspiring winemaker can try to replicate this!

Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Viognier 2012 86 points

Second harvest, 1 barrel production, with no temperature controlled, hence juice treated like red wine, bright, good typicity without being showy, talc and jasmine, restraint purity, juicy, delicate texture resulting from 3 months on lees, oily and fresh, crunchy acidity, some residual sugar for roundness and richness, now until 2016

Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Syrah Viognier 2011 85 Points

Individual in profile, a Cote Rotie inspired blend of 92% Syrah and 8% Viognier, co-fermented, showing red fruit coulis, currants, good purity of fruit, fleshy, crisp and delicate, savory with a roasted nut profile in farewell.

Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Merlot 2006 83+ Points

Showing fine evolution , holding fruit very well with plumy floral character, structure with good but ripe tannic grip, hints of graphite, complex layers, the best kept secret of Klaasvoogds ward.

Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Mourvedre Syrah 2011 83 Points

Maiden vintage of Bandol like blend from young vineyards with 72% Mourvedre and balance Syrah, showing crunchy ripe plums, peppery and earthy, stemmy freshness, drink now

Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Merlot 2008 82 Points

Dark ripe plums, fleshy with a long mineral core, plump texture, nutty and savory with delicate extraction, moderate alcohol of 13.2% abv, to be commended for growing grape in such a hot region.

Fraai Uitzicht 1798

Klaas Voogds wine of origin, a ward within Robertson district, within the Breede River Valley region, all vineyards are south facing, beneficial in an area, considered as hot climate viticulture, the location benefits from the daily afternoon wind blowing directly into the vineyards until sunset, direct from the ocean, hence further regulating the temperature.

One key feature of all the wines are their brightness and freshness across the range, there is clarity and extraction is near perfect, resulting in a succulent profile, lending a natural affinity with food pairings.

There are 15 ha under vines, majority still young.

A recent tasting with owner/winemaker Karl Uwe Papesch, reveals the followings, see individual tastings separately.

Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Viognier 2012 86 points
Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Syrah Viognier 2011 85 Points
Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Mourvedre Syrah 2011 83 Points
Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Merlot 2008 82 Points
Fraai Uitzicht Klaasvoogds Merlot 2006 83+ Points

Trapiche Astica Cuyo Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 72 Points

Garnet, brown rim, advanced evolution.
Clean, old world aromatic, Cabernet austerity, lactic note, red berry,  raisin slight oxidation note earthy peppery, brush of old oak

Dry, medium bodied fresh lively warm feeling though alcohol moderate 12.5 abv low tannins for a cab more red wine than Cabernet medium plus acid, thin and diluted!
Bottle purchase at Jumbo Phoenix, Mauritius for MUR 347 (+/- ZAR 100)!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Journey's End The Pastor's Blend Stellenbosch Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 83+ Points

Bright cherry red with garnet rim, showing evolution.

Clean, medium plus intensity with a surprisingly Cabernet driven nose, lots of blackcurrant and cassis, red plums, new leather, spicy peppery note, almost a generic Bordeaux in character.

Dry with dash residual sugar, full bodied, grainy ripe medium tannins, fresh with medium plus acidity, juicy, savory texture, caramel and toast, alcohol is noticeable and very high at 14.5% abv, though enough fruit for now to support, rich style.
Now until 2018

The Brew Master Johann Graue 2009 88 Points

A Western Cape blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, all from Paarl and 22% Merlot from Durbanville and Philadelphia, 24 months upbringing in 300L French oak barrels of which 70% was new.

Bright ruby red in evolution with garnet towards the rim.

Clean, high intensity, showy blackcurrant, cassis and blackberries, stony minerals, fragrant oak, due to high level of new barrels, lending graphite, cedar, tobacco/cigar, complex layers.

Dry with medium plus acidity, fresh, crunchy ripe tannins, savory black olives notes, saline, juicy, full bodied, has a Bordeaux left bank profile, however alcohol (with slight burn on back palate) is very high at 14.5% abv, but integrated with ample fruit to support development until 2020.

The Motorcycle Marvel Gunter Brozel 2009 87 Points

Blend of 37% Grenache Noir  and 33% Carignan, both from Paarl and 30% Shiraz from Philadelphia, no new oak, mostly pre-used French and Romanian oak.

Bright, dark cherry red with garnet rim, showing evolution.

Tad reductive initially, clean, spicy plums, currants, complex dark red fruits,earthy tea-leaf complexity, delicate oaking, brush of cedar wood, floral akind to dried jasmin, peppery.

Dry with medium plus acidity, intense, savory black olives, textured, ripe medium tannins, very high alcohol though, 14.5% abv will make this wine challenging to be paired with food, elegant extraction though, saline mineral, delicate and fresh.
Now until 2020+

The Anchorman Philippus Wolvaart 2011 87+ Points

A Vouvray Sec  like, Chenin Blanc from dry land bush vines, fermented in large 300L and 500L, old wood with one third in stainless steel.

Sourced from 3 distinct vineyards, namely Papkuilsfontein near Darling, Durbanville (vineyard planted in 1973) and Klapmuts near Paarl.

Pale straw with yellow reflections.

Clean, high intensity, stone fruit, white peaches, quince and ripe citrus, jasmin floral character, stony minerals, honey and beeswax with the near neutral oak lending a spicy musk character.

Dry with some residual sugar, good purity of fruit, minty, fresh with medium plus acidity and moderate alcohol of 13% abv, lending itself to a broad variety of dishes to paired with (should be perfect with lemongrass scented chilli grilled prawns) , juicy and fleshy, fairly concentrated in texture, now until 2020.

The Young Airhawk Arnold Graue 2011 90 Points

Graves style, barrel fermented and matured on lees for 12 months in a combination of 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill, 228 L and 300 L barrels with Sauvignon Blanc sourced from 3 vineyards across the Western Cape, namely Elim, Darling and Durbanville.

Pale straw with green yellow reflections.

Clean, high intensity, impressive purity of fruit with notes of ripe green figs, guava, gooseberries, lychee and crushed blackcurrant leaves, passion fruit complexity, sandy mineral notes, subtle smoky peppery spices, perfect oaking for a wooded style Sauvignon.

Dry with some residual sugar lending an intense bold structure, juicy, creamy and textured mid palate, well offset by the precise high acidity, concentrated profile, nutty, sweet vanillin, moderate plus alcohol (13.5%), hints of phenolic richness, peppery farewell, smart wine! Now until 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier Non Vintage 91+ Points

Pale straw with pale green reflections, fine bead with persistent mousse.

Clean, expressive, impressive purity, seamless, note of subtly ripe citrus, pears, freshly baked pastries, honey, mineral core with delicate oaking and sense of maturity underlying the bright fruit expression.

Dry, properly Brut in style with a direct and linear, natural acid attack, lending a perfect precision and focus, rich, broad texture with citrussy freshness, pin point creaminess, juicy, long and persistent, elegant, layered complexity.

Great value at present, overdelivers on price point, the perfect tipple for any occasion.

Blend of 40% Pinot noir - 40% Chardonnay - 20% Pinot Meunier - 5% of wines are matured in oak casks with weekly batonnage - 10% of reserve wines are matured in casks.

Available locally through Reciprocal

Wildekrans Estate Bot River Chenin Blanc 2011 85 Points

Clear, bright, pale straw with slight green reflections.

Clean, moderate intensity, subtle red apples, lime and green pineapples, mineral core, hints of clay/granite, subtle, excellent purity of fruit.

Dry, delicate mineral note, hints of salty tang, medium plus acidity, crunchy delicate red fruits follows through, near perfect alcohol of 12.5% abv, juicy and airy, flavorful, fresh and lively, yet shows perfect restraint, unshowy tipple to be enjoy over grilled white fish, sesame chicken salad, now until 2016.

Journey's End Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2011 89 Points

Day bright, pale straw with green reflections.

Clean, showy style, expressive, ripe nectarines, mandarine and blood orange, stony mineral, toasty oak in balance, lending smoky note, good purity of fruit.

Dry with dash of residual sugar, rich style, medium plus acidity,broad,  creamy texture, concentrated profile, juicy orange segment, salty preserved lemon,fresh, however alcohol is high at 14% abv and noticeable, otherwise a near perfect example of an oaked Chardonnay, long and persistent. Now until 2020.

Journey's End Stellenbosch Merlot 2008 80 Points

Medium clear, color showing advanced evolution, garnet with brown rim.

Clean, tad soapy, probably very high pH, ripe to overipe plums, blueberries, minty/eucalyptus note, earthy, showy oak lending cedary character.

Dry with some residual suagr, alcohol noticeable and very high at 14.5% abv, medium plus acidity, fresh, ripe medium tannins, tad over extracted in style, masking the purity of fruit, muscular style, intense, lots of fruit to support further development in bottle. Now until 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Claime d'Or Robertson Cabernet Franc 2009 85+ Points

Clear, garnet red with slight ruby reflections, showing slight evolution for a 2009 red

Clean, expressive, very ripe cassis and blackcurrant with peppery note, hints of chalk, generous and powerful oaking shadowing delicate Cabernet Franc red fruits at this stage, but may integrate with bottle ageing, cedar wood, pencil shavings, well defined.

Dry with dash of residual sugar, juicy, powerful and full bodied with savory notes, sour cherries, dark red plums, spicy oak, fresh with bright medium plus acidity, ripe, medium tannins, alcohol is high though at 14% abv and noticeable in the back throat, but there is enough freshness and fruit concentration to make the wine appealing.

This is by far Robertson district best single bottling Cabernet Franc to date, a wine to be followed. Now preferably served aerated/decanted and chill to 12 degrees Celsius, until 2017+

Claime d'Or Robertson Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2012 81+ Points

Better color than 2011, much lighter and truer to Rose hue.

Clean, ripe papaya with delicate red berries note, sweet watermelon, candyfloss character, good purity of fruit.

Dry with round and crisp red berries, lemony freshness, medium bodied, near perfect alcohol of 12.5% abv, makes this a serious candidate for friendly lunch time sipping, flavorful with lots of charm and character, a must try, now until 2016

Claime d'Or Robertson Shiraz 2010 84+ Points

Bright, youthful, ruby cherry red with slight purple rim.

Clean, high intensity, tad over ripe red fruits medley, blackberry, spicy plum, peppery profile, earthy with hints of black olives in brine, delicate oaking, some graphite note, cedar wood.

Dry with dash of residual sugar, fruit follows through, medium plus acidity, fresh, crunchy medium plus ripe tannins, savory black olives paste, earthy complexity with tobacco dust on texture, lots of complexity, slightly detracted from high alcohol of 14% abv, noticeable on back palate. Only 3400 bottles produce, will reward cellaring over the next 3 years

Claime d'Or Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 2011 80+ Points

Pale straw with slight yellow reflections.

Clean, ripe, high intensity with notes of canned pineapples, asparagus, green lemon, and grapefruit zest, showing development, stony minerals, good purity of fruit, peppery profile as the wine warms up.

Dry with dash residual sugar, bright and high acidity, lending clear precision, moderate alcohol of only 13% abv, medium bodied with a fairly rich mid palate texture, pithy lemony note, fresher on texture, than nose originally suggest, vibrant, now until 2015

Claime d'Or Robertson Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2009 82+ Points

A 50% blend of each varieties, showing ruby red with slight garnet hue.

Clean, moderate plus intensity with slight jammy note, blueberry pastille, blackcurrant, cassis, mocha dust, slight earthy character intermingle with old oak influence, though only 13.5% abv on label, the alcohol is noticeable on the nose, pure fruited.

Dry with dash residual sugar, plush tannins, savoury texture with sour cherries freshness, spicy, rich and full bodied, charry, nutty note, juicy, concentrated dark red fruits, tobacco note, tobacco farewell, long and persistent. Now until 2017

A Year on a Cape Wine Estate – Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards

 A Year on a Cape Wine Estate – Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards

Olive Hamilton Russell

Olive Hamilton Russell long awaited cookbook is now available for sale in South Africa at Exclusive Books and through as well as several other fine bookshops. The publishers are Random House Struik.

The book is titled A Year on a Cape Wine Estate – Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards. The recipes are organized around the 4 seasons, starting with Spring and there is a seasonally tailored 3 course menu for each month (designed for 8 people). 36 dishes and 50 recipes in total.

10 years of regular home entertaining, combined with numerous inspirational meals around the world, have gone into Olive’s book. Her personal ‘food philosophy’ of reflecting a particular month in a season appropriately for a particular place, comes across strongly – and she has tailored classically inspired dishes to include produce and ingredients from Hemel-en-Aarde valley and immediate area.

She has also included several fascinating, historical – often foraged – ingredients from our Estate. Substitutes are listed for those hard-to-find ingredients and the book is a wonderful inspiration to all who want to develop their own area specific seasonal dishes.

The book is more than a cookbook though. Along with the 40 food photographs, there are over 100 photographs of life on Hamilton Russell Vineyards through the seasons. The “sense of place” so important to Hamilton Russell wines, is as important to Olive in her food and the book projects this beautifully. In addition to the photographs, there is a write-up for each month, covering what happens on a Wine Estate like Hamilton Russell Vineyards – in the vineyards and cellar and with the wild fauna and flora.

Although Olive often pairs our Pinot noir and Chardonnay with her dishes, she did not want her book to focus on our wines. Top South African sommelier – Miguel Chan – did an exceptional job of providing non-producer specific wine style recommendations (both local and international) for each dish.  

A Year on a Cape Wine Estate – Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards makes a wonderful present for anyone interested in food, wine and nature.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Andrea Mullineux joins Cape Winemakers Guild

CWG Chairman Jeff Grier and Andrea Mullineux

Andrea Mullineux, award winning winemaker of Mullineux Family Wines in the Swartland, has become the 5th woman to be inducted into the Cape Winemakers Guild since its inception in 1982.
The only new member to join the Guild this year, Andrea is a formidable winemaker.

“Andrea is a forward thinking winemaker with a proven track record of producing exceptional wines of the highest quality,” says Vice Chairman Andries Burger, who believes her international experience as a University of California BSC graduate and numerous harvests in France and California, coupled with her vast technical knowledge and expertise, make her a great addition to the Guild.

Currently one of two women in the 46 member strong Guild, Andrea joins Rianie Strydom, who has been a Guild member since 2010. The other women who have been members of the Guild during its illustrious 30 year history, are Janey Muller of Lemberg, Louise Hofmeyr of Welgemeend and Norma Ratcliffe of Warwick Wine Estate, who is still actively involved in the Guild as honorary member.

Andrea has excelled both locally and internationally boasting no less than seven Platter’s 5-Star wines since starting Mullineux Family Wines with her husband, Chris, in 2007. Her wines are rated consistently over 90 points across all vintages by authoritative international publications such as Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. Andrea is also an active flag bearer of the Swartland wine region as founding member of Swartland Independent and committee member of the Swartland Revolution, the appellation’s major annual wine event.
The Management Committee of the Cape Winemakers Guild also enters 2013 with a few changes. Jeff Grier of Villiera succeeds Louis Strydom as Chairman, supported by new Vice Chairman, Andries Burger of Paul Cluver. David Finlayson of Edgebaston serves another year as Treasurer and Frans Smit of Spier remains as CWG Cellarmaster. Louis Nel joins the committee as Workshop Cellarmaster charged with managing the Guild’s technical workshops.

Membership of the Cape Winemakers Guild is by invitation only and is extended to winemakers who have been responsible for the production of outstanding wines for a minimum of five years, and who continue to do so.

The Guild is committed, through its members, to innovation and consistent production of high quality, limited edition wines and prides itself on setting new benchmarks for the South African wine industry.
In conjunction with Nedbank, the Guild runs various upliftment programmes in the winelands such as bursaries for secondary and tertiary education and the Protégé Programme, a mentorship programme for young, aspirant winemakers.

For more information on the Guild, visit:, email or call Tel: +27 +21-852 0408

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Journey's End Coastal Region Chardonnay 2011 90 Points

Pale yellow with green reflections

Clean, moderate plus intensity, quite Burgundian in profile, light toast character, ripe tangerine, lemon, frangipani flowers, stony minerals, subtle oaking lending  delicate vanilla pod, matchstick complexity

Dry with high acidity lending a precise freshness, citrus juice, crunchy and mineral, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, textured mid palate with a fine tension and electrifying purity, delicate, elegant, very well made, drinking well but still shows lots of underlying stamina in it's embryonic structure, best from 2015 until 2018

Summer cocktails by GREY GOOSE Vodka


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
50ml Grey Goose Vodka
1 ½ spoons Castor Sugar
12,5ml Lemon Juice
1 x 8cm length lemongrass stick
3 x chunks fresh green melon
25ml fresh apple juice
2 dashes lemon bitters Martini Lemon Grass stick and Edible Flower Add Castor sugar, fresh melon into the base of themixing glass; muddle until pressed;  add Grey Goose and other ingredients. Fill shaker with cubed ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with Lemon Grass and edible Flower

Description:  A delicate cocktail with a slightly zesty edge, Grey Goose vodka combines the essence of fresh melon and apple with an edge of Lemongrass and lemon bitters, creating a silky mouth feel with a slightly sharper refreshing finish. A perfect sipping cocktail for a hot summer’s day… or night…


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
50ml Grey Goose Vodka
1 ½ spoons castor sugar
1 handful of black berries
3 Star Anise
50ml Cranberry juice
2 dashes Plum Bitters
Tumbler filled with cubed ice Star Anise Add Castor sugar, blackberries and star Anise into base of mixing glass, muddle until pressed; add Grey Goose and other ingredients. Fill shaker with cubed ice and shake until chilled, Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with Star Anise

Description:  A short soulful cocktail whereby black berries and Star Anise are brought together with Grey Goose and fresh cranberry, ending with a hint of plum and bitters. A complex and intriguing cocktail that pushes the boundaries of the five senses.


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
50ml Grey Goose Vodka
1 ½ spoons castor sugar
1 rosemary stalk Flash burnt
6-8 fresh green grapes
15 ml Fresh Lemon juice
1 dash Lemon Bitters
Martini Rosemary Add Castor sugar, grapes and Rosemary into base of mixing glass, muddle until pressed; add Grey Goose and other ingredients. Fill shaker with cubed ice and shake until chilled, Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with Flash burnt Rosemary

Description:  A vibrant and sassy cocktail, encompassing fresh sweet green grapes with Grey Goose, fresh spicy smoky rosemary and citrus flavours, to create a refreshing cocktail with a definitively edgy  finish.


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
50ml Grey Goose Vodka
1 1/2  spoons vanilla Castor Sugar
1 sliver red chilli
1 Fresh Fig
Top with half fresh orange and half fresh grapefruit juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Tall glass filled with Crushed ice Fig and Grapefruit Zest Add Castor sugar, fresh figs and chilli into base of mixing glass, muddle until pressed; add Grey Goose and bitters. Fill shaker with cubed ice and shake lightly until chilled, strain into a tall glass and top with crushed ice. Top with half and half fresh grapefruit and orange juice, stir lightly and top again with crushed ice. Garnish with Grapefruit zest and Fig.

Description:  A big bold cocktail, Grey Goose is intertwined with Fresh Fig, red Chilli, hints of vanilla and finished with citrus flavours. A mixture with a full mouth feel and an instant sweet and spicy finish.


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
50ml  Black pepper  infused Grey Goose Vodka
1 1/2 spoons castor Sugar
12.5ml Fresh lemon juice
10-12 whole pepper corns
25ml Fresh Litchi juice
25ml Cloudy Apple juice
2 dashes plum bitters Tall Glass filled with Crushed ice Apple Fan and Black Pepper Pour all ingredients into a tall glass with crushed ice. Stir and top further with crushed ice. Garnish with apple fan

Description:  This cocktail was created to inspire budding “Alchemists” to create their own blends of Grey Goose infusions. For this cocktail we infused Grey Goose with black pepper corns for 1.5 hours, then strained out all the excess and used the clear infused liquid as the base for the cocktail. We then combined flavours of fresh litchi and cloudy apple and hints of plum bitters to the mix to create a spicy yet fresh cocktail with a summery finish.


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
50ml Grey Goose
4 Slices fresh cucumber
4 Chunks fresh green Melon
1 bar spoon Castor sugar
1 cinnamon stick
20ml Fresh Lime
50ml Cloudy Apple Juice
Float 15ml Black pepper infused grey goose  Tall Glass Cinnamon stick and Cucumber slice & Black Pepper Muddle Cinnamon, Castor sugar, fresh melon and cucumber in base of mixing glass, muddle for a few seconds. Add all other ingredients and then shake with cubed ice and strain into a tall glass with cubed ice, float Grey Goose pepper infusion on top. Garnish with cinnamon stick and Cucumber sliced dipped in black pepper

Description:  A Tall, refreshing cocktail with a Spicy undertone. Fresh melon and Cucumber chunks are smashed together with Cinnamon and simple sugar, then shaken hard with Grey Goose and Fresh cloudy Apple juice until ice cold. This perfect summer refresher is finished with a black pepper infused Grey Goose vodka float that leaves the mouth guessing


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
50ml Grey Goose
1 sliver red birds eye chilli
¼ vanilla pod
3 chunks fresh pineapple
2 spoons castor sugar
20ml fresh lime juice
50ml fresh pineapple juice Tumbler glass Chilli Add Vanilla, fresh chilli, Castor Sugar and fresh pineapple chunks in base of mixing glass, muddle for a few seconds. Add all other ingredients and cubed ice then shake and strain into a tumbler over cubed ice.

Description: This special little concoction combines Grey Goose vodka with soft Vanilla essence smoothed with fresh pineapple until it reaches the chilli note made possible with a little hint of birds eye chilli.


Ingredients Glass Garnish Method
5 parts GREY GOOSE vodka
4 parts Raspberry purée
3 parts Crème de Cassis
2 parts Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 part Sugar/Simple syrup Punch Bowl Garnish with fruits from punch. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add fresh raspberries and half-slices of fresh lemons and leave to macerate in fridge for two hours. Add a large lump of ice and stir well for one minute. Serve in glasses filled with ice and garnish with fruits from punch.

Description:  Inspired by my close collegues and Global Ambassadors Dimi Lezinska and Ludo Miazga. This is our reinvention of the punch, not to be confused with your regular student digs cooler box mix. This sophisticated and delicate drink is perfectly balanced with sweet, sour, strong and weak notes that will allow you to offer your guests a sophisticated cocktail in a large volume format. This will save you time having to make cocktails throughout the day as your guests can simply help themselves

About GREY GOOSE Vodka

Every step in the making of GREY GOOSE is focused on creating an exceptional vodka. GREY GOOSE is made in France from the finest soft winter wheat – the same wheat used to make delicious French breads and pastries – and pure spring water sourced from deep beneath the limestone hills of the Grande Champagne region of Cognac. It’s here that the most respected spirit makers hold the centuries-old title of Maître de Chai or Cellar Master. GREY GOOSE Maître de Chai François Thibault oversees the making of GREY GOOSE vodka to ensure that wherever it is served GREY GOOSE lives up to its reputation for exceptional taste. GREY GOOSE is smooth and round with a gentle sweetness that fills the mouth; a hint of almond is followed by a long, satisfying finish.

Champagne Only Comes From Champagne, Reaffirms New Ad Campaign

Campaign Highlights Importance of Knowing Products’ True Geographic Origins

WASHINGTON – The Champagne Bureau, USA, representing the growers and houses of Champagne, today launched a new national advertising campaign as part of a large-scale effort to reclaim its name in the U.S. marketplace. Champagne, the sparkling wine of legends, can only come from the unique region of Champagne, France, where centuries of experience with specific soils and climate have enabled the people to develop a tradition and expertise that makes all the difference.  The ad campaign is designed to remind consumers of the unique role location plays in creating their wines and to tap into growing American consumer interest in geographic origin. Posing questions like “Maine Lobster from Kansas?” the ad reminds consumers of the importance of authenticity and of knowing products’ true origins.

The ad, which will appear in print, outdoor and digital formats and can be seen at, highlights the gap between American consumers’ growing desire to know the true origins of their purchases and persistent legal loopholes that create confusion about where certain products actually originate. The campaign reminds consumers that Champagne only comes from Champagne, France, just as Napa Valley wines come from Napa Valley and Maine Lobster from Maine.

“More than ever before, U.S. consumers are seeking information about how and where their wine and other goods are produced,” said Sam Heitner, director of the Champagne Bureau, USA. “This campaign uses humor and well understood U.S. location based products to encourage consumers to take a moment and consider the authenticity of what they are buying.  U.S. consumers are savvy and this reminds them to say ’of course not‘ when faced with products that lack authenticity and to seek out products that come from unique places like Champagne from Champagne, France, Maine lobsters from Maine and Napa Valley wines from Napa Valley, California.”

The ad highlights a legal loophole in federal law that allows a few U.S. sparkling wine producers to mislead consumers by labeling their products “Champagne” even though they do not originate from Champagne, France. In December 2006, Congress passed legislation banning the future misuse of 16 wine place names, including Champagne. While that seemed a step in the right direction, the legislation did not address the grandfathering of labels currently misusing Champagne’s name and those of 15 other wine regions. Unfortunately, almost half of the bottles in stores and restaurants still misuse the Champagne name, which makes the grandfathering particularly problematic for consumers who want authentic Champagne.

The United States is one of the last industrialized countries in the world to fail to adequately protect the Champagne name.  In fact, the majority of the world’s countries, including the European Union, China, and a growing number of other wine-producing countries from Australia to Chile reserve the Champagne name for sparkling wines from Champagne, France. A bottle with the term “California Champagne” or “American Champagne” cannot be sold in Mexico and, come Jan 1, 2014, will not be able to be sold in Canada. In this area, the United States is out of step with the majority of truth-in-labeling laws.

The campaign uses light-hearted examples such as “Maine lobster from Kansas,” but the practice of misappropriating the names of other places is a trend that faces many regions, and it has the potential of misleading the consumer.

“Truth-in-labeling is a very important issue for U.S. consumers and for the Maine Lobster community,” said Marianne LaCroix, acting executive director at the Maine Lobster Council. “We continue to see restaurants and retailers advertising Maine lobster, yet serving lobsters that are from other places.  We are proud to stand with Champagne to remind U.S. consumers to know where their products come from and not stand for those who mislead.”

“Napa Valley wines come from Napa Valley and Champagne comes from Champagne, France.   These are important facts that consumers need to be able to believe in when they see these names on wine labels,” said Linda Reiff, executive director of the Napa Valley Vintners.  “Unfortunately we all have to fight to protect our names as some seek to profit off them by deceiving consumers.  We are honored to be a part of Champagne's advertising campaign and hope it encourages consumers to demand more truthful and accurate wine labeling.”

The ads will appear in a wide range of print and digital formats including placements in The New Yorker, Food & Wine, and Travel + Leisure as well as on billboards in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, DC and online on a wide variety of sites including New York, Vanity Fair, GQ and the Wall Street Journal.

To learn more, see

About The Champagne Bureau, USA
The Champagne Bureau, USA is the official U.S. representative of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, a trade association that represents the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France. The Bureau works to educate U.S. consumers about the uniqueness of the wines of Champagne and expand their understanding of the need to protect the Champagne name. For more information, visit us online at Follow us on Twitter at @ChampagneBureau.

Claime d'OR Robertson Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2011 80+ Points

Dark hue for a rose with slight brown/coppery rim.

Clean, expressive, high intensity of Cabernet fruit, strawberry daiquiri note, cherry pips, with peppery, herbaceous note, captivating aromatic defintion for a rose, the alcohol is noticeable, though on label it shows only 13% abv.

Dry with dash residual sugar, mentholly freshness with delicately juicy red berries, spicy profile with peppery complexity, moderate plus acidity, unmistakably Cabernet, charming rose  to be enjoyed around a braai or a roasted salmon and Piperade sauce.

Drink now until 2014

Cellarmasters in the Kitchen wins World Cookbook Award

Cellarmasters in the Kitchen, the fabulous collection of wine chronicles and recipes in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Cape Winemakers Guild, has won a 2012 Gourmand World Cookbook Award. Written by Wendy Toerien with contributions from all 45 members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, Cellarmasters in the Kitchen won the category Best Matching Food & Drinks Book in the South African leg of this prestigious international competition.

The book joins category winners from other countries to qualify for the title of ‘Gourmand Best in the World’ to be announced in Paris on 23 February 2013. Cellarmasters in the Kitchen is one of four books published by Struik Lifestyle, an imprint of Random House Struik, to win a Gourmand World Cookbook Award this year.

Cellarmasters in the Kitchen is both light-hearted and entertaining as well as evocative and informative. Each of the 45 Guild members is featured in a profile piece that includes anecdotes, insights and experiences of a life with food and wine. Also included are two of each winemaker’s favourite recipes, matched with one (or more) of his (or her) top wines.

Sections dealing with the history of the CWG (interwoven with its role in leading Cape wine industry developments and initiatives); the workings of the CWG and its members (the philosophy of the traditional role of a guild as a touchstone for artisanal excellence); and the activities of the CWG (including the annual, internationally prestigious auction of selected members’ wines and social responsibility programmes such as the Development Trust to mentor new young winemakers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and school funding) are another feature of this celebration of the Guild and its members.

Wendy Toerien has been writing about wine since 1989. She was a founder editorial staff member of Wine magazine in 1993 and became closely familiar with the wine industry, its winemakers and the CWG during her tenure there until 1998 when she started her freelance career. She has written several coffee table books on wine and related subjects, including South African Wine – A Celebration and South African Wines and Vineyards, published by Struik in 1999 and 2000 (reprinted 2003) respectively.                                                                                                      

She writes articles on wine people, wine tourism and winelands lifestyle for local and overseas publications.

ISBN: 978-1-43170-033-2 | RRP: R395.00 | CLASSIFICATION: General Cookery, Wine


As its worldwide popularity continues to grow, Amarula has been declared the Liqueur of the Year in the 2012 New York International Spirits Competition.

The Spirit of Africa, as the brand is also known, was also one of only three double-gold medallists across the entire contest that drew entries from 34 countries. The event, now in its third year, features only judges active in the trade. Panellists include spirit buyers, retail storeowners, restaurant/bar proprietors, distributors and importers.

"Earning such affirmation amongst the people who are effectively the conduit to New York's consumers is very exciting for the brand."

As the top performer in its category, Amarula was showcased at a Winners' Circle Preview for over 100 VIP industry players and journalists at a glittering event in December in midtown Manhattan.

Earlier this year, Amarula earned gold at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), based in London. It is also a former winner of the IWSC Worldwide Best Liqueur trophy.

The latest award comes in the wake of Amarula's continued year-on-year growth, with sales volumes up even in those regions such as Europe, where economies are under severe pressure, said global spokesperson, Siobhan Thompson. Meanwhile, it continues to woo new consumers in its home country, with domestic sales very buoyant.

Amarula has been singled out by Euromonitor as one of the world’s fastest-growing global spirits brands and has been ranked a Brand Champion by the Spirits Business, also for its exceptional growth.

Go to or for more on Amarula.

Muratie Ronnie Melck Stellenbosch Shiraz 2009 85 Points

Dark ruby with slight purple rim.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, oaky at this stage, will probablyintegrate, shadowing very ripe dark plums, cassis and blueberries, dry earth, spicy cloves and cinnamon with black pepper, alcohol noticeable on the nose.

Dry, rich profile with concentrated dark red fruits, slight overextraction, moderate acidity lending a fresh and savory note to the spicy, leathery texture, angular medium plus tannins, tobacco, full style with very high alcohol of 14.5%.

Best revisited in 2015


Cheese platter

Nederburg has opened its first restaurant in the more than 200-year history of the farm. While the tasting centre of the popular Paarl winery has long offered a range of themed food and wine pairings, the stylish new bistro-style restaurant, called The Red Table, is the first à la carte offering. It opens on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

Dishes will change regularly to reflect the availability of fresh ingredients and to showcase Nederburg wines in the news, such as the Private Bin 2007 Eminence, which earned Nederburg's cellar master Razvan Macici, the coveted Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award, earlier this month (November). The Red Table will also be running flash sales on selected wines.

Located in the lovely old Cape Dutch manor house, it will run from midday until late afternoon for the 2012/3 summer season right up to the end of April 2013.  It has taken over most of the house, spilling over onto the verandah and also the surrounding gardens, when the weather permits.

For many, this will be their first experience of the historic manor house, built in 1800 by Nederburg’s founder, Philippus Wolvaart. Until now, entry into this national monument has been exclusively by appointment.

The restaurant has been created with well-known Cape Town foodie, Andrea Foulkes, who has worked closely with the winery and knows its extensive wine range extremely well. “Nederburg has the great advantage of an exciting and very varied range of food-friendly wines. To create dishes to showcase these is a wonderful opportunity.

"Our emphasis is on great ingredients; we are establishing relationships with growers and producers in the vicinity to make the link between diner and the food source as close as possible. Expect fresh-flavoured and light dishes in a happy, relaxed and gesellige atmosphere as people break bread together.”

The Red Table is open daily from Wednesdays to Sundays. While Sundays are devoted to a bounteous table buffet, every other day there is an à la carte menu with daily specials. Pre-bookings and payments for the Sunday table buffet will secure a special price of R195 per person.

Vegetarians and those with special dietary needs will also be accommodated.

Says Nederburg cellar master Razvan Macici: “We are the home of MasterChef SA for the second season. We have such a close association with delicious dining that it makes sense for us to have a restaurant where winelovers can enjoy their favourites paired with great tasting food.

“The approach is one of simplicity where food and wine flavours meet on equal terms.  We are offering appetising and generous portions of superbly made items such as gazpacho, salads made with flavourful baby leaves and hot-smoked fish or duck confit, brie and caramelised onion tart, cheese soufflé, top-grade steaks, venison burgers, artisanal cheeses, lemon tart, panacotta, various brûlées and more.”

A kids’ menu offers pies, steak rolls, chicken skewers and pizzas.

Prices start at R45 with most mains priced at around R65.  The Sunday table that includes a fantasy sundae bar is priced at R195. For children, a picnic pack is offered at R75.

Visitors will still be able to enjoy the wine and food pairings offered in the tasting centre.

For bookings or queries, please call 021 862 3104, send an e-mail to, go to or follow Nederburg on (hashtag #Redtable) or


3 L Chenin Blanc

Du Toitskloof’s Chenin Blanc has been named the best boxed white wine at the third annual Spit or Swallow Box Wine Awards held at Mercury Live in Cape Town on November 29. The cellar’s Pinotage Merlot Ruby Cabernet took the Best Red Box Wine award in 2010.

The panel of Freddy Mercury look-a-like judges included everyday wine drinkers to wine connoisseurs who set out to choose the best red and white wines from the 33 box wines tasted. The selection process included a blind tasting where participants tweeted their scores out of ten.

The three liter Du Toitskloof Chenin Blanc has become a firm favourite amongst wine enthusiasts due to the wine being exactly the same as that in the 750ml bottle. The wine is well balanced and medium bodied with delicious aromas of apple, pear, pineapple and tropical fruit, ending with a pleasing, crisp finish.

Du Toitskloof Wines, situated at the entrance to the Du Toitskloof Pass with its spectacular mountain scenery, is known for its quality wines offered at affordable prices. The cellar has won the Best Value Cellar award in Ramsay Media’s annual Best Value Wine Guide competition five times, most recently in 2012. No other winery has won the award more than once. Established by six wine farmers as a co-operative winery in 1962, the cellar recently celebrated its 50th year .

The three liter box Du Toitskloof Chenin Blanc is available from leading liquor outlets for around R79 whilst the750 ml bottle is sold for about R32.
3l Chenin Blanc

Taste Le Good Life at The House of J.C. Le Roux at Summer in Stellenbosch Valley

JC Mixed pairings

Saturday, 8 December to Monday, 17 December, 10h00 to 15h00 daily, R50 per person

Toast the holiday season and visit the newly renovated House of J.C. Le Roux for a taste of Le Good Life during Summer in Stellenbosch Valley, taking place from Saturday, 8 December to Monday, 17 December.

With special tasting experiences on offer from 10h00 to 15h00 daily, South Africa’s leading home of sparkling wine will definitely be the highlight of your summer in the winelands.

A Sugared Indulgence of three different whoopie pies, America’s take on macaroons, served with a glass of Pinor Noir Rosé 2008, Best MCC Rosé at the 2012 Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge, will be offered from 8 to 9 December. Fashionistas will definitely want to try The Sushi Duet from 10 to 11 December with the refreshing J.C. Le Roux Brut as the perfect companion for a salmon rose and maki.

Delicious savoury treats of droë wors, camembert and green fig sosatie, biltong quiche and Carpaccio with a glass of J.C. Le Roux Sauvignon Blanc 2012 will be offered as South African Chic from 12 to 13 December. Bubbly lovers with a sweet tooth must not miss out on Delicately Delectable from 14 to 15 December, with sweet decadent treats paired perfectly with sparkling wines.

A special treat is in store from 16 to 17 December, with a blind tasting of J.C. Le Roux wines that will indulge and challenge your sense of taste.

With a glamorous make-over and new additions to the restaurant, your favourite home of sparkling wine is the ultimate hotspot to celebrate Le Good Life.

The special tasting experiences at The House of J.C. Le Roux during Summer in Stellenbosch Valley cost R50 per person. Booking is essential, call 021-865 8200. For more information, visit or

Enjoy sunkissed summer pleasures at Constantia Glen wine estate

Add the perfect setting for a glorious sunshine day to your summer holiday and visit Constantia Glen boutique wine estate for a taste of exceptional Constantia wines, just 20 minutes from the Cape Town city centre.

Known above all for their cool climate Sauvignon Blancs and Bordeaux-style reds, Constantia Glen offers a wide range of tastings for visitors to their tasting room amidst the vineyards with stunning outstretched views. The sunkissed selection includes easy drinking summer pleasures such as the Constantia Saddle Rosé 2012 and Constantia Saddle Sauvignon Blanc 2012, the newly launched Constantia Glen Three 2009 and the elegant flagship, Constantia Glen Five 2008.

Complete your grand summer wine tasting with delicious cheese and charcuterie platters and enjoy a luxurious day with family and friends at one of the jewels of the Constantia Valley.

Constantia Glen is open daily from 10h00 till 17h00 on weekdays, from 10h00 till 16h00 on Saturdays and Sundays, and will be open from 10:00 to 13:00 on 24 December. The tasting room will be closed on Christmas, 26 December and New Years Day. Look out for the Constantia Glen signs towards the top of Constantia Main road. Call 021 7956100,
e-mail  or visit for further information.

The GPS co-ordinates are S 34º 0’39.6” E 18º 24’30.6”.


Rolene Carstens, president of SASEV, handing over the award to Hannes van Rensburg of Distell

Group manager of Nederburg Wine Farms, Hannes van Rensburg, has been honoured by the South African Society for Enology and Viticulture (SASEV). An industry veteran of almost 40 years, he has been awarded SASEV's highly prestigious Medal of Merit for 2012 for his exceptional contribution to the country's wine industry, as well as the organisation itself.

SASEV is an internationally respected industry body that provides a forum for the exchange of leading scientific research and information amongst all South African wine and grape producers.

Van Rensburg has been active in advancing local viticultural best practice, environmentally sustainable vineyard management policies and conservation of indigenous habitat in and among the vineyards. He was closely involved in the establishment of South Africa's internationally praised Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), the set of sustainability principles launched in 1998 and adopted by virtually all growers today. Nederburg formed part of the pilot programme developed ahead of the IPW industry-wide roll-out.

Under his management, Nederburg also earned its Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) membership, with the winery's own farms, as well as a farm of a major supplier audited to earn the certification. He has overseen the introduction of many lesser-known grape varietals to Nederburg's vineyards, as well as viticultural techniques to accommodate climate change, such as controlling the ambient temperatures around grape bunches.

A former SASEV president, he was instrumental in arranging SASEV's first international congress in 1995. He is also a past recipient of the Bordeaux Vigneron's honorary Order of the Knight for his role in building awareness of Cape viticulture amongst French vignerons.

He remains an active member of various industry organisations and serves as an examiner to Cape Winemaster (CWM) students and sometimes runs refresher courses in viticulture for them.

Van Rensburg, a founder member and past chairman of the Western Cape Viticultural Discussion Group, is currently the chairman of both the Winetech Plant Protection Committee and the Vine Improvement Board, as well as a director of Plant SA.

He is also a registered member of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.

Previously a researcher at Nietvoorbij, he joined Nederburg as a viticulturist in 1978. During his tenure, he has seen the winery accelerate its prize-winning reputation, with current cellar master Razvan Macici amassing a trove of awards since taking up his position in 2001.  This year, Macici took the title of Diners Club Winemaker of the Year, while the winery was ranked the most successful South African Wine Producer at the International Wine & Sprit Competition in London.

Arendsig Blanc de Noir Single Vineyard Robertson 2011 77 Points

Pale salmon hue with coppery reflections towards the rim.

Clean, moderate intensity, delicately ripe red berries, papaya, floral note, good purity of fruit.
Dry with dash residual sugar, fresh and elegant with moderate plus acidity, crunchy profile, perfect lunchtime tipple with  a classic Quiche. Drink now

Simonsig Chenin Blanc - the easy going summer quaffer

Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2012

Simonsig Estate, the family owned landmark wine estate on the outskirts Stellenbosch, has released a new vintage of the fragrant Simonsig Chenin Blanc, the refreshing summer quaffer.

With a delightful new screw cap that’s embodies the wine’s playful, fruity nature, the eminently quaffable Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2012 is an essential summer fridge staple for many a wine lover. It is the ideal palate friendly wine when entertaining friends or to enjoy at an al fresco lunch. With a Chenin Blanc track record dating back to 1968, when Simonsig Estate’s patriarch Frans Malan released his first wine, you can be sure that this latest vintage is another winner.

“Chenin blanc was the first wine released by my father more than 40 years ago. Our idyllic terroir, northwest of Stellenbosch in the greater Simonsberg area imparts an intense aromatic fruitiness coupled with delicious intensity and complexity to this richly textured wine,” says Simonsig cellarmaster Johan Malan.

Revealing youthful, fresh tropical notes leading into an explosion of pears, guavas and sweet melon, the unwooded Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2012 is a must on hot summer days. Its cutting edge acidity captures the palate and leaves a lingering mouthfeel filled with tropical fruit pockets making it the ideal partner to fresh seafood as well as traditional breyani or even spicy Mexican tacos.

The Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2012 is created in an easy, early drinking style and will reach its peak within two years of the vintage date. The wine retails from R38 per bottle and is available directly from the cellar or at leading wine outlets nationwide.

For more information or direct cellar orders contact Simonsig Estate at Tel: (021) 888 4915 or visit

Tsingtao Beer 85 Points

Beer from China with a long heritage, first made in 1903.

Made from rice, water and hops, no barley use here, unlike most Western beers.

Pale straw in color in comparison to other beers available locally, delicate leesy and nutty, subtle co2, very refreshing, light bodied makes it perfect for lunch time quenching, low alcohol of only 4 % abv

Available from most Chinese groceries stores across Johannesburg at +/- R 12 for a 330 ml can.

Ciconia Vinho Verde DOC 86 Points

This is the second Vinho Verde available at Checkers, less than R 40 per bottle, slightly fuller in style with a perfume and delicately ripe pears note, lychees, fleshy melon and slight hints of talc powder/white roses! The alcohol is marginally more than the Lagosta at 10.5% abv, yet low still by any South African standards.

Flavourful and dry with possibly a dash of residual sugar, round and fresh, lively with some co2, juicy and delicate, great aperitif.

Available at Checkers Hyper Fourways

Blaauwklippen Stellenbosch White Zinfandel 2009 83+ Points

One of it's kind and only bottling to date of a "White Zinfandel" in South Africa, showing pale bright, coppery hue with yellow reflections.

Clean, oxidative in style with slight fino sherry note like, moderate intensity with delicately ripe red fruits, citrus zest, hay, slight terpene note akind to a partially aged Riesling! nutty with old oak influence.

Dry, fresh and lively with medium plus acidity, textured nutty and honeyed mid palate, due to bottle age, leesy richness, good extract, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5%, savory, persistent, can still developed, interesting food wine, like the acidity structure! now until 2017

Morgenster shines in TASTED Journal November 2012 blind tastings

We are delighted to advise that both of Morgenster’s 2006 Bordeaux blends excelled in blind tastings conducted under controlled conditions in Germany by Andreas Larsson and Markus Del Monego, highly experienced sommeliers. Each has achieved the prestigious Best Sommelier in the World title.  

The results were published in Tasted Journal #8 of November 2012.

1.       Results of the South African blind tasting. Copy of TASTED Journal article attached.

Morgenster 2006 has the highest rating in Stellenbosch with 94.5 points, and was the highest rated Bordeaux blend of the different regions tasted:
94,5 Morgenster
Full bodied, elegant, classic, dry 2006

Andréas LARSSON - Developed, ruby red colour; beautiful nose, intense with notes of smoke, truffle, wild berries and fine oak; the palate has sweet fruit, a soft but mouth filling structure, very lingering and complex aftertaste - a splendid example. 94

Markus del MONEGO - Dark, purple red with garnet red hue and black centre. Opulent and elegant, a wine with freshness in a classic style. Aromas reminiscent of blackcurrant, plums, vanilla, mild spices and balmy note. On the palate well structured with good length, well integrated tannins, great balance and a touch of minerality adding to the complexity of the wine. 95

Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2006 is third in Stellenbosch and one of the four top Bordeaux blends tasted with 92.5 points: 92,5  Morgenster Lourens River Valley, Full bodied, elegant, classic, dry 2006

Andréas LARSSON - Slightly developed, ruby red. Very appealing, classic nose - Bordeaux like with leather, tobacco, blackcurrant and spices. The palate is full and has serious structure, attractive level of complexity, finely grained tannin, complex spiciness, plenty of flavour intensity and very good length; a complex and refined wine that reminds you of fine Bordeaux. 92

Markus del MONEGO - Dark, purple red with garnet red hue. Very elegant nose with ripe and balmy aromas, almost Claret like in style. On the palate clean and well balanced with finely grained tannins and freshness. Good depth and length. A classic style. 93

2.       Results of the Top 200 wines and spirits.  Copy of TASTED Journal article attached.

This Top 200 wines and spirits list is a useful and easily accessible tool of the 200 best performing products as discerned by the combined tasting skills and experience of Andreas Larsson and Markus Del Monego since they started tasting together for TASTED Journal.

Morgenster 2006 is listed 36th and Morgenster  Lourens River Valley 2006 is at 103rd in the Top 200 list.  There are only three South African wines featuring in the top 200 list, two of them coming from Morgenster.

Morgenster in the Helderberg ward of Stellenbosch is the culmination of the dreams of Giulio Bertrand, the inimitable Italian gentleman who made this Cape farm his home and transformed it into a leading wine and olive estate. Its internationally acclaimed red wines and premium extra virgin olive oils and olive products reflect his philosophy of ‘Quality without compromise’.

Morgenster’s Bordeaux-styled red wines have shone in local and international competitions. Since the mid nineties, Giulio Bertrand has had the assistance of Pierre Lurton, president of Château Cheval Blanc and Château d'Yquem and also a director on the board of Morgenster, to consistently produce elegant wines that have the capacity to age well.

4.     TASTED Journal

Tasted Journal was first established in 2002 in New York in partnership with the American Sommeliers Association, and moved three years later to Bordeaux, the capital of world wine.
It covers upmarket lifestyle articles around wines, spirits, gastronomy, fashion, jewellery, travel, art and cars.

For the first time, two international Best Sommeliers of the World, Markus del Monego (Germany) and Andreas Larsson (Sweden) decided to constitute a blind tasting team.

The objective of these two tasters, who have complementary views and experiences, is to inform the public in a professional and impartial way. Their blind tasting sessions take place several times a year in the highly professional tasting rooms of caveCo in Essen, Germany.

The blind tasting procedure follows very strict specifications, which allow for constant control and reliable reproducibility of the tasting conditions. This way, the tasting results are perfectly comparable. Every month they publish the results of each blind tasting session exclusively in TASTED Journal, a 550.000 copy newsletter that is also available as an e-newsletter.

5.     Markus Del Monego and Andreas Larsson.

In 2003 Markus Del Monego was the first, and is still the only, German to hold the title of Sommelier World Champion.
Andreas Larsson received the award for the best Sommelier in the World in 2007.

Andreas Larsson and Markus Del Monego are both highly professional sommeliers with profound and wide experience, as was confirmed by each of them achieving the prestigious Best Sommelier in the World Competition and thus the recognition by their peers in the trade.

Darling Cellars Quercus Gold Darling Chardonnay Reserve 2011 82 Points

Bright, pale with green reflections.
Clean, moderate intensity, lemony, green orange, pears, delicate white flowers, hints of granite minerals, subtle oaking.
Interesting to note that the wine contain 15% Viognier, hardly noticeable and very well integrated.
Dry, crisp, with medium plus acidity, zesty grapefruit note, delicately juicy, moderate alcohol of 13.5% abv, yet feels slightly higher, crunchy profile, good linearity, pure.
Drink now

Kaapse Vonkel & Oysters on Cuvée terrace at Simonsig every Saturday

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut with oysters

Round up your friends and head down to Cuvée, Simonsig Estate’s signature restaurant for a relaxed afternoon of bubbly, oysters and local music talent, served on the terrace and lush lawns every Saturday between 15h00 - 18h00.

Spice up a slow afternoon with aphrodisiacs from the West Coast seas, whilst sipping on South Africa’s first Cap Classique, Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel, Kaapse Vonkel Rosé or the prestige cuvée, Simonsig Cuvée Royale. With an array of fine cheese platters as an alternative and local musicians adding to the tranquil setting of this family owned Stellenbosch landmark, everyone will have something to look forward to.

The Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel & Oyster Saturdays take place from 15h00 to 18h00 on the terrace in front of Simonsig Estate’s tasting room. For dinner reservations and to ensure a delectable end to your day, contact Cuvée on Tel: (021) 888 4932 or send an email to

Simonsig Wine Estate is located outside Stellenbosch, on the Kromme Rhee road between the R44 and R304.

Claime d'Or Robertson Chardonnay 2011 79 Points

Pale straw with yellow reflections, bright, color showing development for a 2011 Robertson Chardonnay!

Clean, bursting with ripe tropical fruit, bananas, pineapples, lemon, flinty elements, subtle oaking, spicy profile.

Dry with dash of residual sugar, creamy, moderate plus acidity, fresh and zesty, moderate alcohol of 13% abv, though feels much riper on the nose! rich style with a textured mid palate, long

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Holden Manz in Franschhoek

Holden Manz country house

New Year’s Eve Dinner, Monday, 31 December 2012, 19h00 for 19h30

Toast the New Year at the trendy Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz, and book your seat for an evening of great wine, delicious food and good company on Monday, 31 December.

Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen’s delightful selection of summer dishes and fine Holden Manz wines, such as the lively, crisp Holden Manz Rosé 2012, will provide the ultimate occasion for a year-end treat.

Start your evening with a thirst quenching summer melon vodka soup, followed by scrumptious main meal choices of fillet mignon, potato dauphinoise, Cape line fish with lemon beurre blanc or Swiss chard sformato, with a hearty vegetarian option of roasted aubergine and tomato tian available on request. Tuck into micro greens, artisanal cheese and peach tart, but be sure to leave room for the mouth-watering dessert of espresso brûlée, chocolate cigar and fresh glazed cherry.

With the year coming to a rapid end, your evening at the Franschhoek Kitchen will definitely be a culinary celebration to embrace new beginnings in 2013.

The New Year’s Eve dinner at the Franschhoek Kitchen costs R300 per person. Booking is essential, phone 021-8762729 or e-mail The Franschhoek Kitchen will be closed on New Year’s Day.

The Holden Manz tasting room is open daily from 10h00 to 17h00.

Holden Manz Wine Estate offers a spectacular setting for weddings. For more information or bookings, phone 021-876 2738.

The Holden Manz Wine Estate is located at the core of the Franschhoek Valley – just turn right at the Huguenot Monument and follow the signs. Our 5-star luxury country house and spa provide the ultimate in relaxation and service. Holden Manz produces a broad range of quality award winning wines with a focus on red varietals. The estate's Big G is iconic and always a popular attraction at Cellar Door tastings. The Franschhoek Kitchen focuses its menu on seasonal produce from the estate's gardens and orchards and the availability of fresh local produce. The Holden Manz Collection is located in the centre of Franschhoek and offers collectors an excellent selection of contemporary South African art. For more details, visit

Celebrate Le Good Life everyday with new Mobi site from House of J.C. Le Roux

JC - Mixed Pairing

Get the ultimate hot list for stylish food, contemporary music and spectacular venues, and celebrate Le Good Life every day with the brand new Le Good Life Guide Mobi site from The House of J.C. Le Roux.

This hip and happening guide will keep bubbly lovers updated on the latest trends and where the in-crowd are getting their taste of Le Good Life – all directly from your cell phone.

Available to all mobile users with WAP enabled phones, the Le Good Life Guide Mobi site will offer trendy articles and news of your city by simply logging onto and registering. Get the latest on hot topics, fashion, food, lifestyle, music, events and the social scene all at your fingertips.

Get your Le Good Life moments with the all new Le Good Life Guide – best celebrated with a glass of J.C. Le Roux, South Africa’s leading sparkling wine.

The Le Good Life Guide will also be available as a link on The House of J.C. Le Roux Facebook page,

Krone Vintage Rose Cuvee Brut Western Cape 2009 86 Points

One of South Africa's favourite bottle fermented rose sparkling wine, 2009 boast a Western Cape wine of origin, versus previous vintage being Tulbagh wine of origin!

Pale bright, salmon hue, consistent with medium size perlage!
Clean, showing some mature note with delicate cherries, raspberries and hints of wild strawberries, stony, nutty, brush of neutral oak, good purity

Properly brut with fairly high dosage, full texture with medium plus acidity, savory profile, crisp, elegant and fresh, will gain complexity with further bottle ageing if one can wait, now until 2017

House of J.C. Le Roux boasts glamorous makeover in December

Nichole Solomons, Gerhard Claasens, Liandra Kotze, Jean-Mari Marais , Elunda Basson (cellarmaster) and Simon Dicks. Photo credit Andrew Swarts

Get an exquisite taste of Le Good Life at The House of J.C. Le Roux, South Africa’s leading home of sparkling wine, that reopened its doors with a glamorous new look, just in time for the festive season.

Following a stylish four month makeover that literally raised the roof, visitors can enjoy their favourite tastings as well as chic new additions.

The inviting new outside deck will surely become a hot spot for bubbly lovers during the festive season, where fashionistas can sip on fine Cap Classiques and sparkling wines and continue their tasting experience in the flirty pink La Fleurette Room. The ever so popular bubbly and marshmallow, meringue and nougat pairings will be the ultimate treat, with the golden La Vallée Room and elegant Scintilla lounge perfect settings to savour award winning Cap Classiques, such as the 2012 Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge winner, J.C. Le Roux Scintilla 2003.

Completing the home of the perfect bubble, the restaurant at The House of J.C. Le Roux has a brand new look with a stunning new under cover terrace seating area and a summer gourmet braai area. Open for breakfast and lunch, sumptuous, enjoyable dishes with great taste are on offer, and oysters and sparkling wine pairings will take centre stage on the new lunch menu.

Head to The House of J.C. Le Roux this summer and celebrate Le Good Life at your favourite home of sparkling wine.

The House of J.C. Le Roux is open seven days a week. The restaurant is open from 09h00 till 16h00 with breakfast served between 09h00 and 11h00 and lunch from 12h00 till 15h00. To reserve your table or for information on cellar tours and tastings, call 021-865 8200 or visit or

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Western Cape 2011 84 Points

Current release vintage Methode Cap Classique, maintaining its consistency as one of South Africa's best bottle fermented sparkling wine.

2011 is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 48% Chardonnay and 2% Pinot Meunier, flavourful and slightly richer than 2010, expressive appley note, citrus burst, excellent purity of fruit, mineral.

Properly Brut in style with near perfect dosage, lending a broad textured mouth feels, fresh and elegant with lively integrated co2, long lasting in the glass, it's one of the best Kaapse Vonkel of the last 5 vintages brimming with personality, might attained higher rating with time.

A bargain at less than R 85 per bottle retail this festive season.

Fleur du Cap salt pairing dinner returns to Die Bergkelder

Friday, 14 December 2012

Craig Cormack

Discover the unusual combination of Fleur du Cap wines and artisanal salts from around the world when salt aficionado, Chef Craig Cormack returns to Die Bergkelder with a three course stunner and daily salt pairings as part of the Summer in Stellenbosch Valley festival.

Craig’s Fleur du Cap salt pairing dinner on Friday, 14 December is sure to be the highlight of Die Bergkelder’s festival line up. Die Bergkelder also offers daily Fleur du Cap salt tasting experiences at noon from Saturday, 8 December to Monday, 17 December.

Inspired by Fleur du Cap’s close affinity to nature and especially the Fleur du Cap Unfiltered range, Craig will be serving three courses for his elegant dinner in Die Bergkelder, the cellar cut deep into the slopes of the Papegaaiberg. To start off, Craig will serve delicate Franschhoek salmon trout on Himalayan Salt Blocks paired with Fleur du Cap’s elegant white blend, the Unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay Semillon Viognier. For mains guests will delight in traditional Irish Corned Beef seasoned with Khoisan salt and paired with Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon. To end the evening Fleur du Cap’s 5-star Noble Late Harvest will accompany Savarin cake, Spicy Syrup and Praline Ice Cream.

For those unable to make the dinner, the daily Fleur du Cap and Salt offerings are the perfect alternative. These pairings include five lighter savoury treats with wine, such as  Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Viognier paired with golden cheese straws encrusted with flaked Khoisan sea salt from the West Coast and the Platter 5-Star Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest paired with decadent chocolate tart finished off with delicately pink Murray River Sea salt.

“As far as I know, I am the first in South Africa and the world to pair different salts with food and wine by designing dishes not only to achieve a particular flavour, but more importantly as the perfect taste partner for an individual wine,” says Craig who has been pairing wine and salt for the last 5½ years and has an impressive collection of rare salts from around the globe.

Kicking off noon everyday at Die Bergkelder during Summer in Stellenbosch Valley, the Fleur du Cap and Salt tasting experiences cost R100 per person, whilst the Fleur du Cap and Salt Dinner taking place on Friday, 14 December at 18h30, costs R290 per person. Booking is essential, call Karine Retief on Tel: 021 809 8025 for the daily Fleur du Cap and Salt tasting experiences or Nadia Ferreira for the Fleur du Cap Salt dinner on (021) 809 - 7728.

For more information visit or join the Fleur du Cap Facebook community.

L'Avenir Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 2011 73+ Points

Pale straw with yellow reflections.
Clean, reductive possibly due to the screwcap closure, not much varietal character, some green peas note, greengage and grass.
Dry, with moderate acidity, juicy, fresh and delicate, more dry white wine than Sauvignon Blanc! hints of peppery spices, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5%, drink now.


Oude Meester range

Oude Meester has been awarded the title of Brandy Brand of the Year at the 2012 New York International Spirits Competition. It also earned one of just nine gold medals awarded at the competition across all spirits categories, for Oude Meester 12 Year Old Reserve.  Earlier this year, the same luxury potstill brandy won the 2012 Brandy Trophy at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards.

The New York International Spirits Competition is an annual US event, now in its third year, and claims to be the only contest of its kind judged exclusively by members of the trade.  Members of the judging panel include spirit buyers, retail storeowners, restaurant/bar proprietors, distributors and importers.

“We are very honoured to have been recognised by those who are effectively the conduit to New York consumers,” said brand manager Genius Mnywabe.  “It shows not only that our brandies are world-class, but that the brand is staying true to its inspiration – famous US statesman and one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who also excelled as a scientist, inventor and musician. This is a person that exemplifies the quality of a true master, something each of the team strive for in every step of the way from vine to vat to market.”

The profile of multi-talented Franklin features prominently on the brand’s packaging and the Oude Meester team follows the same principles of excellence that this iconic figure established in American politics, intellectual circles and in commerce.  These values are also embraced and highlighted by famous US actor, song writer and comedian, Jamie Foxx, in Oude Meester’s advertising campaign.

As the top performer in its category, Oude Meester 12 Year Old Reserve was showcased at a Winners' Circle Preview for over 100 VIP industry players and journalists at a glittering event in December in midtown Manhattan, the jewel of the iconic city of New York.

For more on Oude Meester, please go to or  Or follow the brand on Twitter (@oudemeestersa).