Tuesday, January 31, 2012

KWV The Mentors Paarl Grenache Blanc 2010 92 Points

KWV The Mentors Paarl Grenache Blanc 2010 92 Points

Clear, bright, pale straw with green reflections

Clean, pure, high intensity of green lime, citrus, just ripe pears, white flowers and hints of honey, complex minerality, waxy, subtle oaking ( around 4 months in 225L Fr) lending light toast, brush of vanilla and hints of spicy greengage.

Dry, high acidity, almost like freshly squeeze green lime juice, high alcohol though (14%) but integrated, complex broad mouth feels, creamy, yet so pure and crunchy, structured mid palate, minerality follows through.
Highly seductive, food wine by excellence, will developed over the next 5+ years, will drink well until 2020, as it is well documented for Grenache Blanc, the wine might go through some shut down phase, be patient it will come back more nuttier with time.

Considering the rarity of Grenache Blanc as a bottling on it’s own from a New World perspective, this impressive debut is firmly rooted as amongst the finest, one can experience.

Perfect for pairing with beurre blanc base dishes or sweet crustaceans such as scallops, crayfish or crab.

What is even more remarkable, considering the freshness and vibrancy of the wine, the Grenache is grown in Paarl, one of the warmest wine region in the world, hence showing it’s suitability to the climate.

Perfect for pairing with beurre blanc base dishes or sweet crustaceans such as scallops, crayfish or crab.

The future can only argurs well.

Laborie Blanc de Blancs Brut MCC Western Cape 2008 91 Points

Laborie Blanc de Blancs Western Cape 2008 91 Points

Clear, bright, consistent fine bubble with delicate mousse.

Clean, high intensity, lemony, flinty, mineral, matchstick, with subtle autolysis character, quite south Burgundian in profile, excellent purity of fruit and well integrated oak, complex and layered.

Dry, near precise dosage, high acidity, moderate alcohol, linear, matchstick follows through, fresh and lively, crunchy minerality, very good length, persistent finish.

Laborie Blanc de Blancs is one of the most consistent MCC in that style, 100 % Chardonnay, the 2008 is racier than in previous vintage with a laser like precision.

Now until 2020, if cellared properly

Tasting at KWV

Tasting at KWV

Yesterday morning I went for a tasting of the lifestyle range at KWV headquarters in Paarl.

Richard Rowe the Australian Chief Winemaker on board since October 2008, was present to explain the direction he is taking this huge ship, not only stylistically, explaining how greater focus in vineyard are assisting in taking this eponymous winery to the next level.

No score are given, to the wines below, however one trait emerged during the tasting, KWV wines under Richard Rowe are now more fruit driven, delicately ripe, subtle extraction with vibrant freshness and minimal use of oak, the range definitely seem to have more energy, possibly due to better Ph management, with excellent purity, supported by a lightness of structure, without being facile or lean.

They are good to very good, clean commercial wines, true to the grapes used, less rusticity which was prevalent as far as I can recall to the late 90’s and for most part of the 2000’s.

I might reviewed the range and allocate scores, in the future, hereunder a brief overview:

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – True to varietal, expressive, powerful pyrazine and peppery note, plush / plump texture, probably aided by some residual sugar, +/- 3 g / rs? Racy, fresh, good depth.

Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011 – Slightly more restrained, dusty / sandy mineral, green lime, fig, well structured with textured mid palate.

Chenin Blanc – Bright, lemony, Granny Smith apples, brush of honey, vibrant, zesty, pure Chenin fruit, very well made, persistent, very smart wine.

Chardonnay Reserve – Bright, upfront New World style, ripe, quite showy, fairly oaky on aromatics, but drier on the palate, broad and full, rich style.

Merlot 2010 – Ripe, plumy, good definition, has fruit structure, juicy profile, smart effort with a notoriously difficult grape to grow in South Africa

Merlot Reserve – Tad riper, fuller style more black fruits and edge of spicy oak, peppery.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Fruit driven, plush, delicately ripe blackcurrant, medium extraction, subtle spicy oak.

Shiraz 2009 – Modern twist, elegant, fresh and lively, more Syrah than Shiraz in style, crunchy black pepper, earthy, supportive oaking, high drinkability

Roodeberg 2010 – Shiraz driven blend with Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot, fruit driven, clean, excellent purity, forward style, subtle oaking, fresh and elegant, a rejuvenated old daddy, freed of it’s rustic and rusty shackles of the past, good depth and moreish,exciting “redefinition of style”, respect of fruit to be commended.

Tawny NV – Properly aged as a true tawny should be, treacle, raisin, prunes, nutty profile, complex tertiary character, spicy cloves and cinnamon, subtle, rich and warming, persistent length, as great as any Tawny from a well respected Port house, could deliver, at a fraction the price though, one of KWV best kept secret, for how long?

Laborie Brut NV MCC - Near equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, properly Brut in style, dense perlage, broad, plump yellow fruits and light citrus character, structured, fresh, uncomplicated, fine character.

Micu Narunsky La Complicite 2008 83 Points

Micu Narunsky La Complicite 2008 83 Points

Clear, bright, pale straw with slight yellow reflections

Clean, slightly austere initially, then boom! lychees, white rose petal, grapey, Muscat evident, crunchy mineral, possibly older oak influence.

Dry, high acidity, medium alcohol, fresh, crisp, fleshy, just ripe lychees, medium length and complexity.

Should be excellent with poached asparagus spears.

Good consistency of rating since I reviewed the wine in 2008 (80+ - 82+)

Reyneke Stellenbosch Cornerstone 2008 88 Points

Reyneke Stellenbosch Cornerstone 2008 88 Points

Medium clear, bright, garnet with brown rim.

Clean, high intensity, cassis, blackcurrant, ripe plums, earthy, minty, hints of raisin, pure, delicate, almost oxidative oak influence, possibly older barrels, subtle cloves, cinnamon spice.

Dry, medium acidity, high alcohol (14%), medium plus tannins, fresh, crunchy, minty character follows through, pure, elegant, good grip, medium plus length and medium plus concentration.

Now until 2022

Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, grown biodynamically.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Creation Walker Bay Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 94+ Points

Creation Walker Bay Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 94+ Points

Clear, garnet, advanced color for such as young wine.

Clean, expressive, ripe cherries, raspberries, cranberries, earthy loamy note, high alcohol noticeable, lending a kirsch character, delicate oaking, light toast, leathery multi layered and very complex, impressive purity of fruit, so pure, even with such high alcohol, not a sign of sucrosity or raisin, wow.

Dry, ample, broad, full style, medium plus acidity, medium plus tannin, firm with ripe tannin bite, sappy, high alcohol follows through, chest warming (14.5%), integrated though, it has energy, high complexity, long length, persistent.

Would have rated higher if the alcohol was not as high, nevertheless, it is a perfect Pinot Noir by all means, hedonist, full throttle it is, this is expert handling of very ripe fruit, alike to surfing in massive waves without being rolled over, striking laser purity, irresistible now, have so much fruit and so well structured this should be in any respected cellar, will develop up to 2022, and will drink well up to 2033+

Pommard profile on steroids, in a very good way.This is the first Reserve Pinot Noir released.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay 2010 94+ Points

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay 2010 94+ Points

Clear, day bright, pale straw with green reflections.

Clean, high intensity, citrus, yellow lemon, tangerine, green pineapples, ripe honey dew melon, intense minerality, expert oaking, subtle, lending light toast, fresh bakery, slight vanilla and unsalted butter, complex and multi layered.

Dry, high acidity, medium alcohol (13%) brush of tannin, oak derived, linear, juicy citrus fruit, grilled nuts follows through, precise and chiseled, crunchy minerals, high complexity and long length.

Embryonic, need +/- 4 years to integrate, best revisited in 2016, if you can resist, will developed until 2024 and shall drink well if cellared properly until 2035+

On a par with the great 2008 (93 Points), yet have the x factor akin to a super Corton Charlemagne, at a quarter the price!

This is precision winemaking at the highest level, respect of fruit, purity, capturing terroir expression at it’s fullest.

Without a doubt one of the world’s top 25 Chardonnay’s, including top Burgundies.

Cape Point Vineyard Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc 2010 92 Points

Cape Point Vineyard Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc 2010 92 Points

Clear,day bright, pale straw with green reflections.

Clean, medium plus intensity, gooseberries, green lime, kiwi, white flowers, flinty/ chalky minerals, sea shells, possibly a brush of oak? Less than 2%? Complex and layered.

Dry, high acidity, medium plus alcohol (13.5%), crunchy, fresh and elegant, spicy white pepper, full and broad, with excellent purity of fruit, mid palate structure, textured, racy, 2010 is more Pouilly than Sancerre, high complexity and impressive long length.

Seductive now but will develop until 2021 and shall drink well until 2030, if cellared properly.

Cape Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and the Reserve Sauvignon (if you like a little more oak influence in your wine) is certainly one of South Africa’s finest Sauvignon and without a doubt amongst the top echelon worldwide, a wine of very high integrity, sense of place and respect of terroir, compare to the Loire imports, it is still a great bargain.

Looking back at all the vintages tasted up since 2003, humbly I would go as far as saying that Duncan Savage the winemaker, since 2002, is the Didier Dagueneau of the Southern Hemisphere, his Sauvignon rocks.

Fattoria Monticino Rosso IGT Malvasia del Rubicone Passito 2005 85 Points

Fattoria Monticino Rosso IGT Malvasia del Rubicone Passito 2005 85 Points

Clear, bright, straw with coppery reflections, evolved.

Clean, high intensity, orange peel, lemon confit, straw, mint, sundried peaches, honeyed complexity, aged.

Sweet, orangey, nutty, grilled pistachio, low acidity, bit of a low down, high alcohol, syrupy, concentrated, and fresh, good persistence, and complexity.

Now until 2020

Topaz Elgin Viognier 2008 85 Points

Topaz Elgin Viognier 2008 85 Points

Clear, pale gold.

Clean, high aromatic intensity, roasted peach and apricot, canned pears in syrup, honey, grilled pinenuts, lemon confit, grilled orange peel and marmalade, some white stones minerals, oaky, showy style but well integrated, lending sweet vanillin and coconut, nougat, nutty, possibly higher proportion of American oak, opulent style.

Dry with noticeable residual sugar, medium plus acidity, very high alcohol (14.5%), full bodied, juicy, stone fruit glace, pineapple in syrup, tangy, citrus peel, broad, full style, rich, creamy, lactic, medium plus complexity and length.

Now until 2016

Uva Mira Vineyards Stellenbosch Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 88+ Points

Uva Mira Vineyards Stellenbosch Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 88+ Points

Clear, garnet with slight brown rim, showing evolution.

Clean, very expressive nose, starting to develop secondary aromas, ripe blueberries, cassis and blackcurrant, fragrant, earthy, oaky but well integrated, possibly small French oak, over 25% new? the oak lending graphite, cedar, spicy paprika note.

Dry with medium plus acidity, possibly acidified, medium tannin, very high alcohol though (14.5%), tannins drying out, good grip, but still ample fruit to support the well structured palate, crunchy, elegant, Medoc like, developing very well, sweet pure red fruits lingers, medium plus complexity and length, will develop until 2018, and should drink well up to 2023, if cellared properly.

False Bay Western Cape Chenin Blanc 2010 90 Points

False Bay Western Cape Chenin Blanc 2010 90 Points

Clear, day bright, evidence of co2, pale straw.

Clean, medium plus intensity, ripe apples,peach, lemon, hints of honey and jasmine flower, white pebbles minerals, no wood.

Dry, medium plus acidity, medium plus alcohol (13%), crisp, juicy, creamy texture, impressive purity of fruit, fresh, resonating vibrancy, elegant, medium bodied, medium plus complexity and medium plus length.

Now until 2017

Hamilton Russell Vineyards released their 30th vintage of Pinot Noir

Hamilton Russell Vineyards released their 30th vintage of Pinot Noir

Both the 30th vintage of Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pinot noir (2010) and 30th vintage of Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Chardonnay (2011) are now released, from one of the “Great Growth” of South Africa

Winemaker Hannes Storm, believes 2010 Pinot Noir to be one of the Estate very best.

“The fruit profile is more pure, voluptuous and lifted than usual at this stage, partly a function of the increased percentage of the darkly perfumed Dijon clone 115 in the mix, and partly a function of the vintage and precision winemaking”

"The wine has a beautiful, vibrant, energetic, mineral core, with the usual fine tannins resulting from the high clay-content, iron-rich shale derived soils. A voluptuous coating and athletic structure."
"A characteristic for Hamilton Russell Vineyards"

Yields were low (as always) at only 31.8 hl/ha and the alcohol at 13.7% is right on the “sweet spot” for phenolic ripeness in a vintage with temperatures almost exactly equal to the long term average.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wellington Wine Harvest Festival 2012


Make sure to mark 17-18 March 2012 on your calendar for a weekend of fine wines, good food, and superb entertainment for young and old at the 6th Wellington Wine Harvest Festival in the SA Terroir Top Wine Area 2010. Be there when the heart of the Cape Winelands is transformed into a one-stop venue for non-stop fun, including outdoor activities, potjiekos competitions, grape stomping, cellar visits and much more.

As little as R80 (under 18’s enter free) puts a wine glass in your hand, an entry armband on your arm and the promise of endless enjoyment within easy reach for every member of the family.

For more information, the full programme and a list of participating farms contact Peter at tel 021 864 2479, email or visit Befriend us on our Facebook page and be the first to receive a sneak preview of the action. Also be on the lookout for great giveaways and prizes.


Issued by Charlene Nieuwoudt Communications

Enquiries Yolandi at 082 772 7519
On behalf of Wellington Wine Route

Contact Peter

Tel 021 873 4604
Peter Woodward
Tourism Officer

Wellington Tourism

General Info: (021) 873 4604
Membership Queries: (021) 864 2479 /

SA Terroir Top Wine Area 2010--

Year of the Rooster Western Cape Rose 2010 85 Points

Year of the Rooster Western Cape Rose 2010 85 Points

Clear, pale salmon hue.

Clean, medium intensity, strawberries burst, cherries, plums, slight earthy note, spicy, captivating aromatics, no wood!

Dry with medium plus acidity, medium alcohol, flirt of tannin, new flavours of crisp sour cherries, strawberries and plums carries through, honeyed mid palate, fresh and zesty with pink grape fruit and lime note, medium length and medium complexity.

Elegant and very well made, perfect at dinner time this summer.
This “Unusual” Rose with quite a catchy theme/label is made at The Drift, owned by David Jack and vinified by consulting winemaker Trizanne Barnard.
Now until 2016.

A warm welcome to WSET in South Africa

A warm welcome to WSET in South Africa

Last week it was announced that WSET will start their lectures and wine courses in South Africa.

This is a great milestone in internationally recognized wine education coming at the right time, when it’s most needed in South Africa.

Yes wine education anywhere in the world in not cheap, not only the self investment one has to sacrifice in terms of time, travelling to wine regions, as well as key wine books one need to collect / buy, as well as the wine samples from all over the world, to taste, but many of the cost can also be alleviated by the local wine as well as the hospitality industry, provided they come to the party and see the long term interest and benefit that each and every trained young South Africans will not only bring value to their organization, but also increase levels of service.

I urge each and every winery, each and every hospitality organization as well as the South African wine journalism fraternity to see the positive side of having an institution such as WSET dispensing course in South Africa, embrace and support it, avoid the unnecessary negative queries, of why, who, when, where, how, etc etc, in this modern and competitive world there is no time for this as our competitors are not our next door neighbours, but any other wine producing countries and to be efficient we need internationally recognized wine education so as to equip each and every young individual with the best possible knowledge to perform their task professionally and deliver exceptional service.

It can only argurs well to the future of wine appreciation and dissemination of knowledge, which the whole of South Africa will benefit, not only brand South Africa, but basic to advanced understanding of wine knowledge for Food & Beverage service staff, because the reality out there is seriously challenging and each and every one of us with some kind of wine and beverage knowledge should share it, at no cost, give a lending hand to those willing to learn more about wine and motivated to accomplish great careers in wine and beverage

Press release below, courtesy of WINE.CO.ZA

A warm welcome to WSET in SA
12 January 2012 by Cathy Marston

A few years ago, a sure-fire ratings-grabber of an article either concerned cork vs screwcap or the thorny question of whether corkage should be allowed in restaurants - great for the three C's of clicks, comments and controversy.

But increasingly, it seems to me, the latest debates in wine circles (particularly online and 'socially') are on wine education - how much do people have, how much do they need, who should give it and what form should it take? Here’s what’s currently on offer in SA.

The stalwart educators in SA have long been the Cape Wine Academy - over 100 000 students have now passed through their hands over the last 30+ years and they offer a variety of courses including sommelier training, wine marketing and their highest qualification, Cape Wine Master. They have used their clout to great effectiveness, particularly when it comes to bringing wine to the drinking public in areas such as Gugulethu and Soweto, and I guess there are few people working in the SA wine industry who haven’t benefitted from a course or two in some capacity or other over the years. For those not based in the big cities,GetSmarter is an online educator which offers a ten-week wine evaluation course, linked to the University of Stellenbosch. And there are various other informal courses around the country, but in terms of recognised qualifications, so far, this has been it.

For many years, the international standard of wine education has been set by the UK Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) which first opened its doors in 1969. It offers courses up to an Honours Diploma, and their qualifications have been a part of the learning curve for the vast majority of Masters of Wine. Winemakers, wine marketers, wine journalists, wine enthusiasts and others from all over the world have studied with WSET, making them the most internationally-recognised wine qualifications anywhere, and the ones most useful for either anyone looking to travel and work overseas in the wine industry, or who deals with overseas buyers in their everyday job. Over 36 500 candidates sat a WSET exam last year alone, in more than 55 countries around the world, and now, these qualifications are available here in South Africa as well.

I will happily confess that this article is a relatively shameless plug for WSET, since I am now accredited to teach their courses in Africa. The coming months will see Levels 1 to 3 Certificate in Wine and Spirits being offered and, eventually, the WSET Diploma will also become available - the qualification which leads directly to MW. There are courses suitable for waitrons or tasting room assistants wanting to find a Chablis-equivalent to recommend to their visitors, and others for international sales and marketing managers who need to understand the styles of wines he or she is competing against around the world.

But, you may say, the CWA already offers similar courses – why do we need anyone else? Well, whilst I would never claim that WSET is the be-all and end-all of wine education, in the same way that ‘insularity’ and ‘lack of internationally-recognised standards and benchmarking’ are charges frequently-flung at other areas of the SA wine industry by overseas journalists, I think that having access to an alternative, external offering is no bad thing.

Exports are of massive importance to the majority of the wine industry and, as anyone in sales knows, talking the same language as your customer is a big advantage. There are now more people who study and pass WSET outside the UK than domestically, with the biggest growth region being Asia - a key export target for many a SA winery, and one seeing an almost 200% increase in WSET qualifications last year. Studying WSET gives common ground with wine industry personnel, buyers and commentators around the world - not just in terms of the breadth of knowledge, but also in the ability to benchmark oneself amongst peers. And as a final, financial incentive to consider taking a WSET course, Jancis Robinson MW graciously allows WSET students a generous discount on access to her ‘Purple Pages’ website as well! I think it’s time for SA to join the WSET party, don’t you?

Cathy is putting the final touches to her 2012 programme of WSET courses including venues, dates and prices. For more information or details of running an in-house course for your employees, please email her on



For immediate release 2012-01-17

Bosman Family Vineyards promises a Celebration in Fairtrade at their Long Lunch during the annual Wellington Harvest Festival on 17 & 18 March 2012. Kick off your working shoes and enjoy a leisurely, festive summer lunch set against the backdrop of elegant Cape Dutch buildings, spreading oaks and soaring mountains.
This 8th generation family winery is partnering with Fairtrade Label South Africa ( and significant South African Fairtrade producers during this year's Wellington Harvest Festival in order to give South Africans a glimpse into the world of Fairtrade.

Fairtrade is a trading partnership, based on a progressive set of social and environmental criteria and seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by allocating part of the price for this cause.
The Bosman family invites you to a feast of country food paired with their boutique-style wines in the captivating Bovlei Valley of Wellington. Savour the slow beat of ambient live music from various local entertainers including the Bosman Farming Choir, play the ancient game of boules, take a guided cellar tour, look at an antique tractor display, or watch the kids playing in the supervised kiddies area.
Sip away on ice cold rosé made from 33 grape varieties, the Mont Bay Sauvignon Blanc from our De Bos vineyards near Hermanus, the Sur Lie Chenin Blanc ‒ a gem made from our Lelienfontein Chenin Blanc grapes ‒ and enjoy delicious food prepared by Marc’s Restaurant and other local delicatessens.

Bosman Family Vineyards will be joining hands with Pebbles, an NGO actively involved in the communities of the wine growing regions within the South African Wine industry. A percentage of the Long Lunch proceeds will go towards supporting this Cape winelands charity.

Starts: 17 March 2012 from 10h00 - 17h00

Ends: 18 March 2012 from 10h00 - 17h00

Cost: R80

Space: 400 people per day

Location: Lelienfontein, Wellington

Reservations: Not necessary.

Buy your ticket at the gate or any Computicket outlet. Tickets include a Wellington Harvest Festival pass and a tasting glass.


Contact: Antonia Bosman

Phone: +27 21 873-3170



Issued by: Yolandi de Wet PR

Contact: Yolandi de Wet

Tel +27 82 772 7519

On behalf of: Bosman Family Vineyard
Contact: Neil Büchner

Tel +27 21 873 3170

AmaWaterways "In Celebration of Wine" Cruise 29 March 2012

AmaWaterways "In Celebration of Wine" Cruise 29 March 2012

It’s with great pleasure that we share with you the details of our upcoming wine cruise, departing from Arles and ending in Lyon with a 3 Nigh Post Cruise stay in Paris. Cruise through France’s legendary wine growing regions, home to famous wines such as Beaujolais and Côte du Rhône. Enjoy wine tastings at local vintners, marvel at Roman ruins, stroll through medieval villages and shop for Provencal crafts. Your itinerary includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon as well as Arles, the city where Vincent Van Gogh spent much of his life.

We have pre-booked space on the below charter as the cruise entails a significant culinary and wine focus, we would like to extend the offer to you as space is limited.
PROVENCE, FRANCE-Sail with Carissa Chappellet of Chappellet Winery & Archie McLaren, Founder & Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic, along the Rhone River. Cruise on board the MS AMADAGIO on its first sailing in the Provence region & be the first to experience AMAWATERWAYS unparalled level of service in France!
Also hosted by Rudi Schreiner, AMAWATERWAYS President & Kristin Karst, AMAWATERWAYS Executive VP
March 29-April5, 2012 on board the MS AMADAGIO
Arles – Avignon – Viviers – Tournon – Vienne – Trevoux – Lyon.

Cruises International is the largest international cruise line representative in Southern Africa. From our headquarters in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, Cruises International connects would-be travelers to some of the top cruise lines in the world and each year we send thousands of passengers on the voyage of their dreams.
Founded in 1992 by George Argyropoulos, Cruises International was the first agency of its kind specialising in representing and marketing selected international cruise lines. With highly skilled and motivated staff Cruises International has grown to be the biggest in Southern Africa, now representing nine cruise lines. These lines are Royal Caribbean International, Crystal Cruises, Seabourn, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Oceania Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club and Variety Cruises and our most recent addition AmaWaterways River Cruises. Cruises International also arranges private yacht charters, conferences and incentives at sea.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Zorgvliet Banhoek Stellenbosch Petit Verdot 2007 87+ Points

Zorgvliet Banhoek Stellenbosch Petit Verdot 2007 87+ Points

Ruby red with purple rim,with an opaque center core, impenetrable!

Clean, high intensity, very ripe plums, black currant, black berries, cassis, intense medley of very ripe red fruit, loamy, earthy almost wet earth note, generously oaked, perhaps a combination of American and splash of French oak, bold, smoky, spicy with complex layers.

Dry with some residual sugar, medium plus acidity, possibly acidified, very high alcohol (15% ABV), medium plus tannin, black currant, plums follows through, rich style well offset by savoury black olives note, sour cherries with a slight salty tang, medium plus complexity and medium plus concentration.

Not for the faint hearted, this is concentrated stuff! What to paired this with?? Phew perhaps a rich, well hung pheasants braised in red wines and roots vegetables!

Now until 2020

Morgenster Italian Collection Carusso Stellenbosch Sangiovese Dry Rose 2011 85+ Points

Morgenster Italian Collection Carusso Stellenbosch Sangiovese Dry Rose 2011 85+ Points

Bright, pale salmon hue with coppery reflections.

Clean, medium plus intensity, candy floss, cherries, just ripe strawberries and plums, slight earthy character, charming aromatics, no wood.

Dry with medium acidity, medium alcohol, flirt of tannin, new flavors of raspberry, slight spicy note, fresh and vibrant with delicate mouth feels, perfect moderate alcohol of 12.5 ABV, should be in anyone fridge this summer, not only as a refreshing glass of wine after work, but equally perfect with a broad variety of Mediterranean inspired dishes.

Now until 2015

Mad Hatters Coastal Region Sangiovese 2010 86+ Points

Mad Hatters Coastal Region Sangiovese 2010 86+ Points

Bright, garnet red with slight brown rim.
Clean, sugary red plums, raisin, blackcurrant, cherries, honey, molasses, tomato jam, earthy, high alcohol noticeable (14%), spicy oak, well integrated.

Dry, medium plus acidity, full bodied, medium tannin, ripe plums, earthy note follows through, fresh, elegant, more Emilia Romagna than Tuscan Sangiovese, medium length and complexity.

Well made, good respect of fruit and tannin ripeness, fresh, as said only the alcohol is slightly overpowering, it should be mentioned that it is very well priced indeed at R 40 cellar door, so perfect as an uncomplicated house red wine by the jug or glass, will also work at any local pizzeria, instead of the usual offerings of Merlot, Cabernet or Shiraz, which usually comprise the wine selections! Actually I have never seen any local Sangiovese on offer in any of the major cities pizzeria or Italian style venue!
Now until 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bel Star Prosecco DOC Brut NV 79+ Points

Bel Star Prosecco DOC Brut NV 79+ Points

Pale straw with slight green reflections, fine bubbles, fairly consistent.

Clean, medium intensity, apples and lime, hints if white roses, Turkish delights, some mineral note as pebbly white stones.

Dry with some residual sugar, medium plus acidity, low alcohol (11%ABV) flavours of bruised apples and freshly squeeze lime juice, fresh and elegant, but fairly simple, like the majority of Prosecco available in South Africa, short on finish.
To be enjoy now, not for keeping.

Perfect alfresco or with flavorful pizza!

Morgenster Estate Lourens River Valley Stellenbosch 2008 89+ Points

Morgenster Estate Lourens River Valley Stellenbosch 2008 89+ Points

Ruby red with slight garnet hue towards the rim.

Expressive, initially was quite herbaceous, peppery Cabernet Franc character, which did burn off with aeration, revealing subtle but ripe note of cassis, blackcurrant, blueberries, powerful earthy note, fragrant oak lending vanilla, cigar box, tobacco ash, leafy cabernet character, not green as in pyrazine! Layered and complex.

Dry, fresh, vibrant, medium plus acidity, full bodied, medium plus tannin, crunchy, high alcohol though (14.5%), rich style with Christmas fruitcake character, juicy, medium plus length and medium plus complexity.

Now until 2018+

Blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

The Palazzo Hotel Wine dinners featured by Chris Meklis

The Palazzo Hotel Wine dinners featured by Chris Meklis

Check out the new featured Southern Sun piece by Chris Chris Xhristos Meklis on the stunning Palazzo Hotel in Fourways and wine genius Miguel Chan's special Sauvignon Blanc wine tasting dinner at the hotel, and be sure to contact the hotel re the next wine tasting details- something not to be missed! Click link below:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



Three influential and high-profile wine personalities from the Old World have been lined up to make a feature of flavour in a collaborative series of masterclasses involving five normally competing New World wine producers: Argentina, California, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa.

The three European-based wine educators, two of whom are renowned award-winning sommeliers, will present Flavours - A Whole New World@ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany, in early March. ProWein is one of the most important international wine trade exhibitions and annually draws exhibitors from some 50 countries and close to 40 000 delegates. The New World initiative and masterclass sessions will form a show-within-a-show over the three-day event that runs from March 4 to 6.

The Flavours@ProWein presenters include Andreas Larsson, a multiple winner of sommelier titles, including Best Sommelier in the World awarded by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, Best Sommelier in Europe, Best Nordic Sommelier and Best Sommelier of Sweden. He is currently the wine director of leading Swedish restaurant PM & Vänner in Växjö and is also a wine writer and educator. Caro Maurer MW, who was the first German woman to earn her Masters of Wine, is a wine writer based in Bonn and contributes to a range of leading publications in Germany. She too is a wine educator and also judges in international wine shows. Ronan Sayburn MS, one of just 180 Master Sommeliers worldwide, is a former winner of the UK Sommelier of the Year title and is the director of wines and spirits at Hotel du Vin, a prominent group of boutique hotels in the UK.

The New World masterclass sessions will showcase the wines of the five countries, matching them with foods in a bid to focus on the versatility of New World offerings as viable and also affordable alternatives on wine menus. The pairings will be presented by the trio in a series of seminars.

The intention of Flavours@ProWein, says Wines of South Africa CEO Su Birch, is to “highlight what we produce in a fresh and appetising way. This is the third consecutive year the five countries are working in concert. Each year we accent a particular feature common to us all that offers a new way to introduce our best-of-best wines. This year we are raising their food-friendly profile.

“Wine is essentially about conviviality and enjoyment, and there is no better way to express that than at the table. Each of the five will focus on their signature wine flavours and use the opportunity to demonstrate their appeal when paired with both innovative and more traditional foods.

“We have deliberately involved three personalities whose training is European, so they can apply their own sensibilities and traditions in pairing our wines and in this way make them exciting but also accessible to a broad-based audience.

“We are extremely proud to have significant opinion-leaders of the calibre of Andreas, Caro and Ronan to demonstrate to both the off and on-trade, just what our wines can deliver.”

She/He said that the spirit of co-operation amongst the five wine regions, despite the growing competition for a share of global consumer spend, was a reflection of their ability to rise above national interests to enhance the standing of New World wines. “The specificity of each region will in no way be compromised, however. We are working in unison to express what makes each of us unique and distinctive. We are presenting a carefully collated spectrum of tastes.”

Flavours@ProWein will be housed in Hall 6, G90. Seminar places are limited to 60 delegates at each session. Larsson and Sayburn will present in English, while Maurer will present in German. Seminar bookings will be handled from the Hall 6, G90 on each of the three days. Delegates are urged to visit the Flavours@ProWein stand early each morning to guarantee their reservations, given that most of last year’s Down2Earth@ProWein seminars were oversubscribed.
For further information go to, follow #NWProWein or contact:
Wines of Argentina:
Andrew Maidment
Work +44 780 7077 824
Gisela Giordano
Work +34 610 392 404

California Wine Institute:
Paul Molleman
Work +31 70 314 2425

Wines of Chile:
Jose Luis Valenzuela (Chile)
Work +56 2 2180600
Michael Cox (UK)
Work +44 (0) 7785 291503

New Zealand Winegrowers:
David Cox
Work +44 (0)20 7973 8079
Mobile +44 (0)7974 228986

Wines of South Africa:
Michaela Stander
Work +27 21 883 3860
Mobile +27 83 500 8723
Pippa Carter
Work +27 21 883 3860
Mobile +27 82 390 5487

For more information: Project Manager “Flavours”
Berthold Partners
Christine Berthold
Work +49 4792 9519195
Mobile +49 178 2170200


Kind regards,

Sonja Bezuidenhout
1st floor, Rozenhof Office Court
20 Kloof Street, Gardens
Tel: (021) 422 2690 - Fax: (021) 422 2558 - Cell: 083 700 3078

Monday, January 16, 2012



Somm is the story of four Sommeliers attempting to pass the Prestigious Master Sommelier Exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world. The exam covers literally anything having to do with the entire world of wine and that is just the beginning....

Ridgeback Chenin Blanc 2010

Ridgeback Chenin Blanc 2010 shared the following link and had this to say about it:

Toit Wessels, winemaker at Ridgeback, chats to us about their Ridgeback Chenin Blanc 2010

Toit Wessels, winemaker at Ridgeback Wines in Paarl, South Africa, talks to about their Ridgeback Chenin Blanc 2010 for's

Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2011

Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2011 shared the following link and had this to say about it:

Johan Malan, winemaker at Simonsig, talks to about the Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2011 for the Spotlight campaign, which focuses on Chenin Blanc for Jan 2012

Jordan Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2011

Jordan Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2011 shared the following link and had this to say about it:

Gary Jordan from Jordan Winery talks to about their Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2011

Villiera's Traditional Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2010

Villiera's Traditional Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2010 shared the following link and had this to say about it:

Jeff Grier from Villiera, chats to us about Villiera's Traditional Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2010

Jeff Grier from Villiera Winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa, talks to about Villiera's Traditional Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2010

Graham Beck Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010

Graham Beck Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010 shared the following link and had this to say about it:

Pieter Ferreira chats to us about the Graham Beck Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010

Pieter Ferreira from Graham Beck Winery in South Africa talks to about the Graham Beck Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010

Lemanja Coastal Region 2008 92 Points

Lemanja Coastal Region 2008 92 Points

Ruby red with purple rim. Clean, expressive, ripe blackberries, red plums, currants, cassis liqueur, blueberries, floral, dark earth note, stony mineral, spicy with hints of cloves and cinnamon, subtle oaking, hugely complex aromatics, pure, very pure.

Dry, medium bodied, medium tannin, crunchy almost, medium plus alcohol (13.5%), medium plus acidity, juicy, savory, salty plums, plush, the purity follows through, delicate extractions, mineral, sappy so fresh and linear, elegant, medium plus length and medium plus complexity. A wine of high integrity and soul.

Vinified by Micu Narunsky coastal region blend (Stellenbosch & Swartland) of 67% Touriga Nacional, 19% Souzao, 10% Tinta Barroca and 4% Pinot Noir, 18 months in a combination of French oak.

Enjoy now, until 2020+, the wine does benefit from decanting and was tasted over a period of 48 hours

Sarafin Merlot 2009 89+ Points

Sarafin Merlot 2009 89+ Points

Clear, brilliant, garnet red with slight brown rim, color in evolution.
Clean, slight reductive initially, with aeration opens to a medium intensity note of ripe plums, black cherries, tomato leaf, red peppers, herbaceaous, black olives, earthy, graphite and hints of rubber and tar. Delicate oaking, possibly French oak.

Dry, medium bodied, high acidity, crunchy, medium plus tannins, high alcohol though (14.4%), juicy red plums, cherries, delicate cedar note, pine resin, medium length and medium complexity, fresh, fuller on palate than nose may suggest, fine extractions .
The wine benefit from decanting at least 1 hour before serving, drinking well now until 2018.

A Turkish grown Merlot on the coastal region of Saroz, bordering the Mediterranean sea, south west of Istanbul, on approximately parallel 40 North, aged for 12 months in 225 l French oak.

Sarafin brand was launched in 1998, produced by Doluca winery, run by 3rd generations Kutman family. A winery with an annual production of 14 million bottles. More on Doluca wines

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mad Hatters Coastal Region Roussanne & Grenache Blanc 2011 91 Points

Mad Hatters Coastal Region Roussanne & Grenache Blanc 2011 91 Points

Pale straw with coppery reflections. Clean, delicately ripe, high intensity with stone fruit such as white peaches, apricot, burned lime and honey, slight floral character of jasmine and camomille with clay / sandstone mineral, complex with subtle oaking, possibly older French oak barrique, blanched almonds and spicy cumin.

Dry with medium plus acidity, medium alcohol (13.5%), light tannin structure, fleshy apricot with honeyed mid palate, lemon zest, the clay/sandstone minerality carries through, medium bodied with spicy structure, subtle and integrated oaking, elegant profile, high complexity, long finish.

Fine expression of an unusual blend for the Cape, hot climate wine, Roussane from Wellington and Grenache Blanc from Paarl (GB vine grafted over established table grapes), fresh and vibrant, near perfect ripeness, very good Ph of 3.18, seldom seen in South African wines of such fullness, will develop over the next 6 years, with more pronounced nutty, light toast and lime character, now until 2019.

Exceptional value at R 40 trade price, made by Bovlei winery in Wellington.

A great addition to any adventurous wine list.

Spier Creative Block 3 Coastal Region 2007 84+ Points

Spier Creative Block 3 Coastal Region 2007 84+ Points

Shiraz driven blend with Mourvedre and Viognier.
Garnet red with slight brown rim.

Clean, intense, mature, tertiary character, stewed black cherries, prunes, earthy, tobacco note, cigar, smoke, new leather with black pepper , hints of vanilla pod, still oaky but integrated!

Dry with slight residual sugar, medium plus acidity, medium plus tannins, very high alcohol (14.5%), jammy, cooked fruit texture, prune character, follows through, fresh though, full bodied, medium length and medium complexity, rich style.Should plateau at around 2015, drink now until 2018.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Douglas Green Vineyards Creations Western Cape Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 85 Points

Douglas Green Vineyards Creations Western Cape Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 85 Points

Ruby cherry red with slight garnet rim. Quite expressive, blackcurrant, cassis, blueberries, earthy loamy note, oak vanillin, cigar, tobacco ash, light toast.

Dry with some residual sugar, medium bodied, medium alcohol (13.5%), massage tannin, medium acidity, clean, pure Cabernet fruit, just right extractions, medium length, good complexity. Honest. Now until 2017.

Very good value at less than R 40 trade price, perfect for wine list, at a time when on con consumer have really traded down on their wine expenses!



January 9, 2012

Jade Floyd,
Kate Connors,
Center For Wine Origins


Celebrate Port and Win an iPad 2

WASHINGTON - The Center for Wine Origins is proud to announce that January 27 will be "Port Day." The inaugural celebration of Port Day encourages the celebration of this truly unique wine that only comes from Portugal. Consumers from around the world are encouraged to participate in the celebration of this authentic wine and raise awareness about the need to protect the Port name.

Participating is easy. Consumers can join Port Day online by blogging, tweeting, posting a nd sharing their thoughts about this exceptional wine by using the #PortDay hashtag. Or, they can host or join one of the numerous retail and restaurant tastings that are being planned in locations across the United States. To stay up-to-date on the most current news regarding Port Day or to register an event, visit

As part of this celebration, the Center is hosting a contest to encourage U.S. consumers to photograph their favorite authentic Port wines. To enter the contest to win an iPad 2, contest entrants should send a picture of an authentic Port label to with the subject line as "Port Day 2012 Photo Contest Entry" or post the picture to your Facebook profile and tag yourself and the Center for Wine Origins in the picture. One Grand Prize winner will be selected randomly on January 25 and receive an iPad 2. Complete contest rules are available at

There are many quality fortified and dessert wines, but true Port only comes from the Port appellation in Portugal, one of the world's oldest regulated and demarcated wine regions. Port grapes are grown in the Douro Valley, located approximately 60 miles from the city of Porto, where Port gets its name. The Douro Valley is surrounded by rugged mountain ranges that produce a hot, dry climate. While the flaky, arid soil presents unique challenges for the winemakers who build row upon row of terraces, it's the combination of the climate and soil that makes Port unlike any other wine. That's why its name can only be used on a label if the grapes and the wine are produced, under strict controls, in the Port appellation.

Unfortunately, today the Port name is misused on wine bottles across the world and particularly in the United States. Wines produced not from the grapes grown in the Douro Valley are misleading consumers to believe it is Port by improperly putting the name on its label. When shopping for Port and entering the contest, make sure to look for the seal of the approval and confirm that the wine comes from Portugal (see photo).

Remember to join in #PortDay either online or offline at your local wine bar or restaurant with friends. For more information about #PortDay visit: For more information on the photo contest and the Center visit


The Center for Wine Origins was founded in 2005 by the wine growing regions of Champagne, France, and Porto, Portugal. These are both regulated by the European system of appellations, designed to ensure authenticity and quality for consumers. The Center represents the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the trade association that represents all the grape growers and houses of Champagne; and the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (IVDP), the trade association that represents all the grape growers and houses in Porto and the Douro Valley. The campaign is financed with support from the European Union, as well as France and Portugal. Visit us online at


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rainbow’s End Estate Single Vineyard Banhoek Stellenbosch Shiraz 2010 89+ Points

Rainbow’s End Estate Single Vineyard Banhoek Stellenbosch Shiraz 2010 89+ Points

Ruby red with a purple rim. Intense and layered aromatics, very ripe plums, cassis, blueberries, blackberries, not raisiny or “dead fruit” unlike so many South African Shiraz, dark earthy loamy note, judicious oaking, possibly a combination of new and older oak, lending complex spicy note of black pepper, cloves, nutmeg and slight hints of minty character.

Dry, medium plus acidity, medium plus tannin, grainy texture, high alcohol though (14 % abv), concentrated texture and mouth feels, flavor of plum pudding, fresh, elegant, New World style with some subtle Rhone complexity, very fine balance between oak and fruit, fine extraction, savory, spicy black olives complexity.

Will benefit from decanting, served at 15 degrees Celsius, now until 2020+

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nabygelegen Lady Anna 2010 89 Points

Nabygelegen Lady Anna 2010 89 Points

Pale straw with green reflections. Brush oxidative in style, with fairly intense stone fruit notes such as white peach, Golden Delicious apples, green orange, lemony and ripe Cape gooseberries with honey, flinty mineral and white lily floral note, no wood? Unless it is very cleverly done and less than 2%!

Dry, medium plus acidity, medium plus alcohol, fruit flavors follow through, with new flavors of green peas and spicy white pepper, honeyed mid palate, lifted, fresh, zesty, lots of minerality, concentrated, full style without losing its elegance, medium plus length and medium plus complexity

Blend of 100% grown Wellington Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, undisclosed blend percentage, tasted over 24 hours at various temperature.

Wellington ward (soon to be district!) is one of the 3 hottest places in the world to grow wine grape, so this is proper hot climate viticulture, yet this is a very smart blend where freshness have not been compromise, it is well balanced with lots of character and excellent purity of fruit, the alcohol a little high at 13.5 abv, nevertheless it’s a complete wine with lots of character.

Served at 12 degrees celsius
Now until 2018



Popular South African wine brand Two Oceans is now sold exclusively in light-weight 350 gram bottles that are fully recyclable.

The label, its inks and adhesive are also biodegradable.
The new screwcap-topped bottle is 110 grams lighter than before, to represent a saving of 120 kg of carbon equivalent emissions for every 1 000 bottles produced.

All Two Oceans wines are made from grapes sourced from vineyards accredited by South Africa’s highly progressive and eco-friendly Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) programme. If you want to know more about the brand’s commitment to production integrity, visit the website listed on the *Sustainability Seal South Africa sticker that is affixed to the bottle and enter the individual number. The seal is backed by a sophisticated tracking system in which bottle contents are totally traceable from the growing of the grapes to how the wine is made and packaged.

In South Africa, as a further mark of its environmental focus, Two Oceans supports WWF SASSI, the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative that helps to improve the conservation status of overexploited seafood in local oceans.

Widely enjoyed for great quality at excellent value prices, the Two Oceans brand takes its name from the Indian and Atlantic oceans that meet along the southern coast of Africa.

*The Sustainability Seal South Africa applies to wines from the 2010 vintage onwards.