Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cape Point Vineyards CWG Auction Reserve Cape Point White 2011 95 Points

Bright, pure, Graves like, delicately ripe passion fruit, lime, orange blossom, flinty minerals. Full texture, rich, yet precise and energetic, impressive purity, citric freshness, lots of stamina here, mind blowing depth, world class drop.
70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon
Now until 2023+
13.5 months in oak of which 20% was new and 80% was second fill
Winemaker: Duncan Savage
42 cases on offer

Saronsberg CWG Tulbagh Semillon 2008 90 Points

Pale green, bright, peppery, spicy, sandy mineral, fresh and elegant with precise energy, juicy and textured, light toast, nutty creaminess, full bodied (high alcohol of 14%abv) and complex, perfect oaking. Now until 2021+
20 months in new French oak barrel
Winemaker: Dewaldt Heyns
26 cases on offer

Cederberg CWG Ghost Corner Elim Semillon 92+ Points

Lemon infuse with chilli spice, screaming of minerality, pure, laser like purity, complex and textured, juicy, nutty, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, impressive length, embryonic, best from 2016.
Only 50% were fermented in wood for a brief period of 4 months.
Winemaker: David Nieuwoudt
34 cases on offer

De Grendel CWG Amandelboord Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc 2012 91 Points

Sweaty, gooseberry, kiwi, lime, pure Sauvignon, floral blackcurrant leaft, mineral Sancerre cross Marlborough intensity, juicy, possibly with a brush of oak? Perfect alcohol of 12.5% abv, spicy and elegant, salty crust and green chives, impressive length and purity, laser precision, now until 2018.
Winemaker: Charles Hopkins

44 cases on offer

Ataraxia CWG Under the Gavel Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge Chardonnay 2011 92+ Points

Pure, citrus, lime, delicately ripe peaches, camomille note, Beaune cross Montrachet matchstick complexity, mineral, textured, full and precise, great depth, over delivers in complexity on palate, concentrated, near perfect moderate alcohol of 13.2 % abv, very well made indeed. Now until 2021
Single vineyard – 9 months in barrels
Winemaker: Kevin Grant
50 cases on offer

Chamonix CWG Franschhoek Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2011 91+ Points

Perfume, orange blossoms, citrus, pure, mineral, flinty, excellent  oaking, delicately juicy, nutty, will develop more complexity with time. Now until 2021
Winemaker: Gottfried Mocke
50 cases on offer

Jordan CWG Auction Reserve Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2011 91+ Points

Chablis/Macon like, Burgundian restraint, flint minerals, citrus, juicy, savory full texture, yet energetic, citric freshness and elegant, impressively pure, persistent, need time, best from 2015 until 2021.
12 months in 228 litre Burgundian oak for 12 months
Winemaker: Gary Jordan
90 cases on offer

Paul Cluver Estate CWG The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2010 91 Points

Meursault like, ripe style, bright citrus, lime, mineral core with grilled hazelnut and honey.
Juicy, full textured, fresh and elegant, complex and layered, well poised, long persistent length.
9.5 months in a combination of French oak barrels
Winemaker: Andries Burger
50 cases on offer

Rijk’s CWG Tulbagh Chenin Blanc 2011 90 Points

Unshowy, mineral, green lime, orange, pure, white flowers note, precise texture with palate restraint, crunchy mineral, some residual sugar lending roundness, very high alcohol of 14.65%abv lending a broad fat texture, Loire like, lots of energy on finish.
Now until 2020
100% barrel fermented and matured for 15 months in second fill French oak barrel.
Winemaker: Pierre Wahl
50 cases on offer.

Teddy Hall CWG Hendrik Biebouw Auction Reserve Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2011 91+

Vouvray like, impressive purity, citrus segment, tangerine burst, white peaches, apricot, camomille flowers, honey, light toast.
Nutty, marzipan and fresh, elegant, precise, lemony, citric freshness, textured mid palate, persistent.
The alcohol is high 14% abv, creating a sense of fullness, nevertheless a brilliantly made wine.
50% new and 50% second fill for 12 months.
50 cases on offer
Winemaker: Teddy Hall

John Loubser CWG Garibaldi Nebbiolo 2009 92 Points

Good color, typical Nebbiolo /Barbaresco/Barolo hue, primary, Pinot Noir like red fruits, cherries, raspberries and strawberry jam.
Barbaresco in profile, fresh and elegant, juicy, yet have Nebbiolo ripe tannic grip, savory, pure and precise, excellent oaking, high alcohol of 14% abv fully integrated, a food wine par excellence, hard to resist now, but will keep up to 2024+
13 months in second fill French oak
Winemaker: John Loubser
42 cases on offer

Spier CWG Stellenbosch Merlot 2009 90 Points

Showy, ripe dark plums, spicy fruit core, leathery and rich with Christmas fruitcake character, powerful and rich, with very high alcohol of 14.98% abv, everything push to the limit here, structured yet have and impressive freshness, lending an energetic finish, gorgeous!
22 months in barrel
Now until 2022+
Winemaker: Frans Smit
20 cases on offer

Hartenberg Loam Hill CWG Simonsberg-Stellenbosch Merlot 2009 91 Points

Ripe blackberry, mulberry and dark plums, graphite / pencil shavings note, cedar wood, oaky and showy profile, cigar and tobacco complexity, earthy mineral. Moderate plus alcohol of 13.92% abv is well integrated.
Firm tannins, layered, fresh and savory, juicy and elegant, fine depth, persistent finish.
20 months in 100% new French oak.
Best revisited in 2014, will benefit from aeration/double decanting
Will keep up to 2021+
Winemaker: Carl Schultz

56 cases on offer

De Grendel Op Die Berg CWG Western Cape Pinot Noir 2010 91 Points

Quite Volnay in profile, dark spicy plums, blueberries, cranberries, earthy mineral restraint, leather, energetic mouth feels, fine extractions, savory and mineral, need time, best from 2016 until 2020+
13 months in oak barrels combination of first and second fill
Winemaker: Charles Hopkins

26 cases on offer

Bouchard Finlayson CWG Walker Bay Pinot Noir 2009 90+ Points

Ripe, showy, oaky style, dark plums, earthy note, quite “Italianated” in profile, atypical for a Pinot Noir, shows more the masculine side, nevertheless it is packed with saturated dark fruits, mid palate stuffing, salty leather note, complex and broad texture, savory black olives, the high alcohol of 14.41% abv, creates a fullness, embryonic, a sleeper.
Lay it down and forget about, revisit in 2020+
16 months barrel matured
Winemaker: Peter Finlayson

60 cases on offer

AA Badenhorst Family Wines CWG Ramnas Gras Swartland Cinsaut 91 Points

Bright red fruits, almost a Beaujolais Cru in character, delicately ripe cherries, raspberries and red plums, subtle spicy oak, fresh and elegant, mineral core, perfect extractions, excellent low plus alcohol of only 12.5% abv, juicy and moreish.
11 months in third fill 500 litre cask
Winemaker: Adi Badenhorst
A must buy!
Now until 2018
26 cases on offer

Simonsig CWG Cuvee Chene Blanc de Blancs MCC 2007 91 Points

Impressive purity, taut minerality, light toast, chiseled, lots of energy, textured mid palate, plump and persistent.
Best from 2015 until 2020
Winemaker: Johan Malan
66 cases on offer

Graham Beck CWG Non Plus Ultra Cap Classique Western Cape 2008 91+ Points

Clean, precise, lemony, citrus burst, white peach, yeasty and warm brioche complexity, mineral, hints of floral seductiveness, Low plus alcohol, 12.1% abv, long and persistent. Now until 2020.
Winemaker: Pieter Ferreira
81% Chardonnay and 19% Pinot Noir – 50 months on lees – 40 cases on offer

Nedbank Cape Wine Makers Guild 2012 Review

This year auction showcases 52 wines and earlier this month I attended the media tasting at Nitida winery in Durbanville.
The format is different in that of the public presentations which are sighted, on this day, 51 wines were poured and tasted blind.
It was a revelation to discover what is on offer at the finest wine auction in South Africa’s.
The standards of entries were as usual very high and make them serious collectible items, either to treasured or to be shared with friends and business associates or even from a wine listing perspectives, CWG wines have a unique selling point in comparison to other local wine auctions, as the wines do sell and move on top end wine lists versus other wine auction offerings!
The high price fetch from a South African perspective over the last couple of years are testament of their quality and rarity as well as the near icon status this auction have achieved in their 30 years of existence, however it’s worth mentioning that by world term the prices are still very competitive and in fact averages roughly around half if not less to what one will normally pay for similar quality at cost from wines produced elsewhere.
As an organization the CWG with the assistance of Nedbank is showing and moving forward Brand South Africa in terms of vinous perfections and young wine maker’s development as well as education, hence investing positively for the future, an effort which should be applauded and supported by all means, perhaps other local wine auctions can learn, follow and eventually implement.
The tasting reveals the two Methode Cap Classique sparkling wine were both very well made, the Graham Beck was substantially fresher and linear, marginally less rich than the Simonsig, though both will reward at least another 5 years on the cork, to reveal more complexity, they are hot candidates for buying.
The white wines was quite impressive to say the least, there were stellar examples of world class single varietal or white blends that can rival any benchmark wine made from same grape or style, they were thrilling drops, perfect in many sense with natural brightness and freshness, minerality, subtle oaking, linear and long and many are far from their peak.
The two Semillon are possibly the finest example of their kind ever made in South Africa, the Cederberg Ghost Corner screaming of minerality with a laser like purity and brightness was akin to liquid mineral with a dash of lime juice.
The one and only Sauvignon Blanc on auction made by Charles Hopkins of De Grendel was simply fantastic, it might not have the stamina of the other whites on offer, but it will reward plenty of drinking pleasure from now until the next 6 years.
The four Chardonnay’s from some of South Africa’s finest producers, did not disappoint either, they were right there as it would be expected, Burgundian profile with bright acidity and expert use of oak, they are embryonic at this stage and will deserves at least 3 years in the cellar to reveals complexities and texture at a fraction of the price of top Burgundies, yes South Africa has been making numerous example of world class Chardonnay’s in recent years.
If I had to choose one out of the four it will be the Ataraxia Chardonnay, it was  a mile ahead and simply have the slight advantage of the X Factor with an underlying je ne sais quoi to make it super sexy, I reckoned it will be a hotly contested wine for bidding!
The two Chenin blanc was equally very good and shows South Africa’s greatness at this variety, both were very much Vouvray like.
Last but not least, the best white wine of the line up and my first ever 95 points to a South African white wine, goes to no less than Cape Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend, simply world class drop, if you like Graves whites, I reckoned this wine will not be shy and will stand proudly if paired side by side to Haut Brion Blanc, do not think twice, this will be the BUY of the auction.
The reds tasting were quite a hit and miss affair.
Let me explain, there was many exciting examples from the 3 beautiful Pinot Noir, ok I tasted only two as the Paul Cluver Pinot Noir (wine number 52) was not available for tasting due to limited offerings of only 24 cases.
The De Grendel Op die Berg was the most subtle and elegant, yes it was unshowy and tight, but will blossom with a few years in bottle, since I suspect every bidders will go for Bouchard Finlayson and Paul Cluver, the De Grendel might turn out as probably the bargain Pinot of the auction, and represent the best quality vs value proposition, ignore at your peril.
There was the the two best kept secret in the red line up a cracker Beaujolais cru like Cinsault from Swartland made by Adi Badenhorst, clocking in 12.5% abv, it is super sexy and moreish, a must buy by all means, to drink now and the next year, then the second discovery is a true to type Nebbiolo from John Loubser, made from Constantia grapes.
The color was typical and perfect, the texture with it’s tannic grip as one would expect from this variety, will not be disappointed, those of you out there who like your Barbaresco in a more modern style will like this, this is to buy and surprise, will highlight any formal dinner parties.
The usual suspect of Pinotage, Bordeaux varieties and their blends as well as Syrah/Shiraz and Rhone style blends were more arduous to taste, of the 51 wines tasted in total, 24 wines were close or over 14.5% abv and 13 wines amongst the 24 was close and over 15% abv, pretty insane having alcohol of this level in wine at the table!
In fact the more I taste and select wines for eventual buying and future listings, I am more and more convinced that very high alcohol of 14.5% and above are in fact a winemaking faults, rather than the overuse cliché  and excuse of seeking proper physiological tannins ripeness, it’s possibly one of the key reasons why there is so few top South African wines listed on the best dining tables and wine lists around the world, when compared to other Southern Hemisphere wine producing countries!
I understand and respect CWG wines are the expression of any one of it’s current members best offerings, and they possibly represents the very best wines made and the winemakers intention is to reflect what he or she has on hand and probably the first and foremost intention was never to make wine to be paired with food, but rather the most “perfect” wine.
A serious concerned as over 46 percent of the auction offerings will simply crash and burned if they have to be served with delicate and classic cuisine, it will not work, ladies and gents! it will be very difficult to finish a bottle! Or in some cases a glass!
Too many red wines were showy, oaky, powerful and crammed with saturated dark red fruits, borderline raisin, i.e ripeness push to the limit, however the biggest let down were extractions that was too obvious combined with the high alcohol and some of my lowest scoring examples are from winemakers I have always enjoyed their wines, in fact their standard offerings are much better and these are guys with a wealth of experience, wonder why such a change in style for their auction offerings.
Other than that my top scoring red wines were fresh, vibrant, savory, delicate with plush tannin structure, alcohol completely integrated and they will reward medium to long term cellaring, yet have an immediate appeal, making them super sexy and irresistible now.
My top Merlot was the Hartenberg Loam Hill 2009, it shows how consistent this estate is with this variety, in most vintages.
My favorite Bordeaux style red blends was the Haskell Paradigm 2008, from a non Bordeaux style blend the Ernie Els, was the most exciting.
The one and only Rhone style blend, Graham Beck The Catalyst Shiraz Viognier 2010, was simply seductive.
Of the 7 Cabernet Sauvignon in the line up, the Tokara Auction Reserve 2010, was miles ahead in typicity, freshness and overall charm of the nearest on offer.
The Shiraz class was more promising with at least 3 worth seeking, Luddite The Reserve 2008 is the one to seek out.
Out of the 4 Pinotage the Kanonkop Estate 2010 was the sexiest and will reward many years of enjoyment ahead.
Last but not least the sweet wines, with a cracker Muscat Noble Late Harvest from Teddy Hall was revving with energy as well as an embryonic Cape Vintage fortified from Boplaas, that will stay for at least 2 decades, could be some of the best buy.

Individual tasting notes of each wines and the top 11 lists to follow.

Hereunder the ratings:

Methode Cap Classique
Graham Beck Non Plus Ultra Cap Classique Western Cape 2008 91+ Points
Simonsig Cuvee Chene Blanc de Blancs MCC 2007 91 Points
Teddy Hall Eva (Krotoa) Constantia Muscat de Frontignan 2009 Noble Late Harvest 94 Points
Carel Nel Cape Vintage Auction Reserve Western Cape 2010 91 Points

Ataraxia Under the Gavel Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge Chardonnay 2011 92+ Points
Cape Point Vineyards Auction Reserve Cape Point White 2011 95 Points
Cederberg Ghost Corner Elim Semillon 92+ Points
Chamonix Franschhoek Chardonnay Auction Reserve 2011 91+ Points
De Grendel Amandelboord Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc 2012 91 Points
Jordan Auction Reserve Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2011 91+ Points
Paul Cluver The Wagon Trail Chardonnay 2010 91 Points
Rijk’s CWG Tulbagh Chenin Blanc 2011 90 Points
Saronsberg CWG Tulbagh Semillon 2008 90 Points
Teddy Hall Hendrik Biebouw Auction Reserve Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2011 91+

AA Badenhorst Family Wines Ramnas Gras Swartland Cinsaut 91 Points
Beyerskloof Traildust Stellenbosch Pinotage 2010 90
Boschkloof Bakhand Stellenbosch Shiraz 2010 88+ Points
Bouchard Finlayson Walker Bay Pinot Noir 2009 90+ Points
Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Cederberg Shiraz 2010 89+ Points
De Grendel Op Die Berg Western Cape Pinot Noir 2010 91 Points
De Trafford Stellenbosch Syrah 2009 86 Points
De Trafford Perspective Stellenbosch 2009 90 Points
Edgesbaston Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2010 86 Points
Etienne Le Riche Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2009 83 Points
Ernie Els CWG Stellenbosch 2010 92 Points
Graham Beck The Catalyst Robertson Shiraz & Viognier 2010 90 Points
Grangehurst Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2006 86 Points
Groot Constantia Estate CWG Constantia Shiraz 2009 90 Points
Hartenberg Estate Auction Stellenbosch Shiraz 2009 88 Points
Hartenberg Loam Hill Simonsberg-Stellenbosch Merlot 2009 91 Points
Haskell The Expatriate Stellenbosch 2010 89+ Points
Haskell Paradigm Stellenbosch 2008 91 Points
John Loubser Garibaldi Nebbiolo 2009 92 Point
Jordan Sophia Stellenbosch 2009 90+ Points
Kaapzicht Cape Blend Stellenbosch 2009 59 - 84+ Points
Kanonkop Estate CWG Paul Sauer Simonsberg-Stellenbosch 2007 90 Points
Kanonkop CWG Paul Sauer Simonsberg-Stellenbosch 2009 88 Points
Kanonkop Estate CWG Simonsberg-Stellenbosch Pinotage 2010 91 Points
Kleine Zalze Granite Selection Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 79+ Points
Louis Laika Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 87 Points
Luddite The Reserve Western Cape Shiraz 2008 90+ Points
Luddite Oscar Cape South Coast Shiraz Mourvedre 2009 86 Points
Neil Ellis Auction Reserve Jonkershoek Valley 2007 89 Points
Overgaauw DC Classic Stellenbosch 2009 83 Points
Rijk’s CWG Tulbagh Pinotage 2010 83 Points
Rust en Vrede Estate Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 87 Points
Simonsig Estate Heirloom Stellenbosch Shiraz 2010 90+ Points
Spier Stellenbosch Merlot 2009 90 Points
Spier Stellenbosch Pinotage 2009 89 Points
Tokara Auction Reserve Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 91 Points
Waterford Estate Auction Reserve Stellenbosch BB 2009 87+ Points


Friday, September 28, 2012

Sensory Fleur du Cap wine and salt pairings at Die Bergkelder

Discover the unusual combination of Fleur du Cap wines and artisanal salts from around the world at weekly wine tastings at Die Bergkelder where handmade salted morsels meld with superb hands-off, naturally crafted wines every Wednesday from 1 October 2012.
Fleur du Cap’s close affinity to nature, especially the exceptional Unfiltered range with its unbridled expression of fruit and flavour, inspired salt aficionado Chef Craig Cormack to create savoury treats to pair with these wines.
The unique flavours of naturally occurring, ancient salts are a natural fit for Fleur du Cap wines crafted in a style determined by the grapes themselves. “One of the challenges when pairing salt and wine is to create food that will enhance the wine without dominating it. The natural process of making Fleur du Cap Unfiltered wines works particularly well with unrefined, artisanal salts, reverting back to nature in both the food and the wine,” says Craig.
The unique weekly savoury parings on offer at Die Bergkelder include five Fleur du Cap wines: Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Viognier is paired with golden cheese straws encrusted with flaked Khoisan sea salt from the West Coast.
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chardonnay is paired with olives preserved with Black Lava Salt from the lava pools of Hawaii.
For an explosive taste sensation, Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc is partnered with popcorn drizzled in Pakistani volcanic salt. Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Merlot combined with classic sweet melon and Parma ham with a pinch of Persian Blue salt is a sublime pairing.
To round off this unique tasting experience, the Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest paired with decadent chocolate tart finished off with delicately pink Murray River Sea salt, will have your taste buds wanting for more.
Cut deep into the slopes of the Papegaaiberg, Die Bergkelder, the home of Fleur du Cap wines, offers one of the finest wine experiences in Stellenbosch. The tranquillity of the vaulted spaces of this bottle maturation cellar founded in 1968, offers the perfect atmosphere for these unique tastings.
The tastings start at 12h00 every Wednesday from 3 October 2012 and cost R80 per person.
Places are limited so booking is essential. Call Karine Retief on Tel: 021 809 8225
For more information visit Fleur du Cap, or join the Fleur du Cap Facebook community.


Van Ryn's Luxury Chocolate

Looking for the ultimate in chocolate luxury to spoil someone special? Van Ryn’s Distillery, the home of what is arguably South Africa’s most awarded name in brandy, has engaged bespoke chocolatier, Jane Stuart,  to create a gift box of customised deluxe chocolates.  
Sold exclusively from the five-star distillery near Stellenbosch, the box features five flavours, each matched to an award-winning brandy in the range, from the Van Ryn’s Collection Reserve specialty line-up to the Viceroy 5 Year Old. Van Ryn’s 10 Year Old is matched with the Brandy Oval, a chocolate filled with the vintage brandy. 
The Cappuccino pairs with the 12 Year Old, a potstill that has three times been judged Worldwide Best Brandy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in the UK.  The Cinnamon Orange goes with the Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old, while the Dark Chocolate complements the Van Ryn’s 20 Year Old.
The Angels’ Share Drop has been made to partner the Viceroy 5 Year Old, also made at the Van Ryn’s Distillery.
The luxury chocolates sell for R160 a box. Van Ryn’s Distillery is about 35 to 40 minutes’ drive from Cape Town on the R310, and close to Stellenbosch


WOSA CEO Su Birch and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille at the Green Tie event to launch Cape Wine 2012
Cape Wine 2012 delegates at a tasting of SA wines

The South African wine industry, a major contributor to the country’s agri-exports, has just hosted its “best ever” international trade exhibition, according to the chairman of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), Johann Krige. 

WOSA is a not-for-profit organisation mandated by government to promote South African wine exports that last year generated R350,4m in sales. 
Since 2000, WOSA has been staging a showcase of the country’s wines on home ground for the international wine fraternity every second year, with the exception of 2010, the year of the FIFA World Cup. 

Krige was referring to the three-day Cape Wine 2012, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from September 25 to 27.  Despite the turbulence of global markets, it had attracted a record number of producer exhibitors, he said, up by 15% on the last event in 2008, and also the highest number of delegates. 

Reaching almost 1 500, they had come from every continent.  In addition to strong support from traditional exporting countries in mainland Europe, Scandinavia and Canada, this year had seen the highest turnout in the history of Cape Wine from countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. 

Krige said Cape Wine was now ranked globally as the most successful international wine business show in the Southern Hemisphere.
His view was echoed by the CEO of Amorim Cork, Antonio Amorim, of Portugal, who called this year’s Cape Wine “one of the finest wine industry events in the world.”

Krige added: “Our industry has wowed the international wine community with an exciting and diverse range of quality wines and a fresh and inspiring approach that has demonstrated our world leadership in eco-sustainability and energy-efficiency among wine-producing nations. We showed very effectively that we are making better wines at all price points, and also that we are making wines, better. ”
US delegate, Mike Vesseth, a leading wine economist from Seattle, said Cape Wine had succeeded in encapsulating the rich diversity of the local wine industry. “It’s an exciting introduction to what South Africa has to offer.”

Jamie Goode, a Master of Wine and high-profile wine journalist from the UK, was enthused by what he called the “great energy and positivity” of the event, while Troy Christensen, CEO of global company Accolade Wines, said that with “Africa the next China”, there was much to look forward from the local wine industry in its contribution to the economic growth of the continent. Krige confirmed that the country’s wine export volumes for the 12 months to August 2012, were 7% up on the year previously.
He said a major highlight of the show had been the support from the major global retailers. “The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the world’s largest wine retailer; its Quebec equivalent, the SAQ; and all the state-run monopolies of the Scandinavian bloc were in attendance; along with the UK’s biggest grocers’ chains, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose; the Dutch giant, Albert Heijn; as well as US chain Whole Foods Market.”
Also present were buyers from Florida’s Disney World, leading hotels, restaurant chains and specialty shops, in addition to agents looking for brands to market in their own countries. He said the 304 producers, displaying their offerings across 6 500 m sq of floor space, had included a broad spectrum of wineries from the major corporate and co-operative producers each with multiple brands on show, to small-scale, independent and boutique producers. 

“The range of wineries was an excellent reflection of the industry and accurately represented the extent of what our country is able to produce from hand-crafted, artisanal specialty wines to popularly priced offerings for mainstream markets. 

We could really show the breadth and depth of our stylistic repertoire and ability to cater to markets across the globe. We also exhibited the first group of wines eligible to carry the Ethical Seal as confirmation of their adoption of fair labour practices.” The exhibition was also an opportunity for many of the producer exhibitors to line up international representatives to carry their brands. Krige said this year’s turnout of delegates had included a large contingent of business, drinks, lifestyle and travel journalists and many high-profile bloggers. 

“We also hosted the biggest number of sommeliers in the history of Cape Wine. As the composers of wine menus for many popular and distinguished restaurants and hotels, they are becoming increasingly influential trendsetters in terms of wines and wine styles, particularly across Europe, North America and, more recently the East. 

“We had a high number of wine educators this year. These are also the people who play an important role in advising members of the wine and hospitality, as well as retail trade and influence many of the gate keepers in the world of wine trading.” As far as is known, Cape Wine 2012 was the first ever green-themed international wine exhibition. Conceived to reinforce the country’s leadership in production integrity from soil to glass, the accent was on reducing, re-using and recycling as many exhibition materials as possible.  Krige explained that Cape Wine had opened with a gala “green tie” event, attended by Premier for the Western Cape, Helen Zille. Delegates had shown their support for the exhibition theme by walking from their hotels to the venue and wearing bow ties made from discarded packaging.

They were also given lanyards made from baked papier-mâché beads and bags made from recycled material, giving much-needed employment to poor people. All the empty wine bottles from the gala dinner and the show itself were being given to a job-creation project to create new artefacts from the recycled glass, said Krige.

“Our eco-procurement of goods and services has served to generate work for many marginalised, otherwise unemployed people.” In keeping with the green theme, most producers had erected stands from recycled materials and had used LED lighting to illuminate their exhibition areas. Meanwhile, spekbome, known for their highly effective absorption of carbon dioxide, provided the green decor for the show.

Wine contributes some R26bn annually to the country’s GDP and employs nearly 276 000 people

Champagne Bureau, USA Announces Champagne Day Labeling Contest

Celebrate the Champagne Name and Enter to Win a new iPad WASHINGTON –
On October 26, wine lovers worldwide will raise a flute to that quintessential wine of celebration, good cheer, and toasts everywhere: Champagne. Champagne Day encourages the celebration of this truly unique that can only come from the Champagne region in France.  
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 Champagne name. 
Participating is easy. Consumers can join Champagne Day online by blogging, tweeting, posting and sharing their thoughts about this exceptional wine by using the #ChampagneDay 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 Champagne Day or to register an event, visit As part of the celebration, the Champagne Bureau, USA is once again hosting a contest to recognize authentic Champagne and will give away a new iPad to one lucky winner. There are two ways to enter for a chance to win the latest iPad:  1) Send an ORIGINAL photograph that you have taken of an authentic Champagne label to with the email subject line as “Champagne Day 2012 Label Contest Entry”  OR 2) Post the picture including the authentic Champagne label to your Facebook profile and tag yourself and the Champagne Bureau in the picture. 
One Grand Prize-winner will be selected randomly on October 23 and receive a new iPad.
The winner will be announced on October 26, Champagne Day.  Complete contest rules are available at
Contest entrants may submit multiple entries to increase their chances of winning. All entries must be unique, as duplicate entries will not be considered. While one can find a great number of sparkling wines produced worldwide, true Champagne only comes from Champagne, France. Its name can only be used on a label if the grapes and the wine are produced, under strict quality controls, in the region.
Unfortunately, approximately 50 percent of sparkling wines sold in the United States are mislabeled as “Champagne.”
To demonstrate your commitment to understanding and protecting true Champagne, the Champagne Bureau, USA is asking you to send and post pictures you’ve taken of authentic Champagne labels starting today.  For more information about this contest, please visit
For more information about Champagne Day or the worldwide effort to protect the Champagne name and origin, please visit or Champagne.   About
The Champagne Bureau, USAThe Champagne Bureau, USA is the official U.S. representative of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, a trade association which 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 Champagne. Follow us on Twitter at @ChampagneBureau


Chateau Libertas 80th birthday
To celebrate this year’s 80th birthday of Chateau Libertas, believed to be South Africa’s oldest red blend, a limited-edition bottling of the 2010 vintage has just been released.
The “oupa” of red blends has been made every year since 1932. Just 4 000 bottles of the birthday blend have been made, featuring a unique label depicting some of the highlights of the wine’s history.
To make the wine, Bonny van Niekerk had first pick of the best grapes and once vinified, the best components for wood maturation were selected. “It’s our best-of-best blend,” she says. “It is more complex and layered in taste with a bold structure but shows all the lovely trademark ripe berry and plum notes, enhanced by oak spice that you would expect from Chateau Libertas.
It is drinking terrifically now but should really come into its own over the next five years or so.” As always, this Chateau Libertas features Cabernet Sauvignon that was blended with Merlot, Shiraz and Petit Verdot.
The grapes were picked from premier, low-yielding vines in Stellenbosch and Darling.   Available from the Bergkelder Vinotèque Wine Bank in Stellenbosch, its online wine shop, Vinoteque, as well as selected outlets of the major supermarket and liquor chains, the 750 ml wine is expected to retail for around R65 a bottle. 

Last chance to taste 2012 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines

Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

Last chance to taste 2012 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines Spier Conference Centre, Stellenbosch:

Friday, 5 October 2012, 18h00 Be sure not to miss the last opportunity to taste this year’s line-up of rare and exceptional wines to go under the hammer at the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction by booking your seat for the Final Pre-Auction Tasting at the Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands on Friday evening, 5 October.

Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction is open to the public and takes place at Spier on Saturday, 6 October from 09h00.

Tickets to the Final Pre-Auction tasting at 18h00 on Friday, 5 October, cost R 350 and can be booked via Webtickets.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Oude Meester Reserve 12 Year Old has won the 2012 Brandy Trophy at this year’s Michelangelo International Wine Awards, when it was judged the best brandy of the event by a panel of South African, European and US judges. The connoisseur potstill is one of South Africa’s fastest-growing specialty brandies and has developed a following locally and across Africa, notably in Kenya and Nigeria. All three Oude Meester potstills earned Michelangelo medals, making it the most awarded contender in the brandy component of the competition. Both the 12 Year Old Reserve and 18 Year Old Souverein earned Grand d’Or medals, the highest medal honour bestowed, while the Demant received silver. “This is a full house of awards for the potstill brandies in the Oude Meester range,” said brand manager Genius Mnywabe. “Benjamin Franklin would have been proud of the accomplishment,” he added, referring to the famous US statesman, whose profile features prominently on the brand packaging. A self-made man, the multi-talented Franklin was one of America’s founding fathers, who excelled as a scientist, inventor and a diplomat and was responsible for the establishment of America’s first public lending library. “He worked hard to build principles of excellence in American intellectual circles and in commerce, and the standards he set have inspired the Oude Meester team.” Earlier this year, Oude Meester won two Gold Outstanding medals at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London, for the 12 and 18 year old potstills, when Demant came home with a gold. Master distiller Brink Liebenberg, under whose direction Oude Meester brandies are produced, said the consistency of results across two very different panels was affirmation of the high regard in which these hand-crafted potstills were held. “Oude Meester is a regular international medallist and its reputation has played a key role in the exciting sales growth of the potstills both in South Africa and on the African continent.”


Tukulu Fair Trade Chenin Blanc

Tukulu Fair Trade Pinotage

Fives wines from the Tukulu range will feature South Africa’s recently introduced ethical seal. These are its 2009 unwooded Syrah, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 and 2010 Pinotage, 2011 organic Chardonnay and 2012 Chenin Blanc. 

Granted by the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) for complying with its code of good conduct, Tukulu is amongst the first to display the seal.   The ethical seal, believed to be a world-first among wine-producing countries, is based on rigorous auditing of WIETA’s code of good conduct.  It confirms that fair labour practices are followed by the producer.  

Tukulu is one of eight wine brands currently authorised to display the fully traceable seal. The seal is granted to individual wines, rather than to wine brands, as many producers source their grapes from multiple growers.

To be eligible for accreditation, brand owners have to identify all their suppliers, the majority of whom must be WIETA-accredited. With the exception of its 2009 and 2010 Pinotage and its 2011 organic Chardonnay, all the Tukulu wines featuring the seal are also Fairtrade-accredited.  When consumers buy a wine that features the Fairtrade label, they are actively contributing to the social development of farm workers as a percentage of the sale of these wines go to the community. 
The grapes for Tukulu wines are sourced from the Papkuilsfontein farm near Darling which is an empowerment venture between Distell and a group of black entrepreneurs from Gauteng and a local community trust. 
Established in 1998, it was one of the first empowerment projects of the South African wine industry.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roodeberg Western Cape 2010 87+ Points

Bright cherry red with slight brown rim, indicating slight evolution.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, cassis, blackcurrant, blueberries, delicate earthy note with supportive oak, lending a blush of spicy cedar wood.

Dry with medium acidity, fresh, the high alcohol (14%) abv is well integrated, crunchy ripe tannins, lively and elegant, good extractions, some notes of lead pencil, graphite, well structured red, persistent.

Now until 2017

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lazanou Organic Vineyard Wellington Chenin Blanc,Chardonnay and Viognier 2011 88+ Points

Pale straw with yellow reflections.

Clean, medium plus intensity, delicately ripe citrus, lemon, ripe pears, white peaches, pure and well defined, brush of oak.

Fresh, zesty, elegant, lots of energy, vibrant mineral core, spicy mid palate, delicately juicy, elegant, moderate acidity, perfect 12.5% abv, serious lunchtime candidate.

Clever blend of 8% Viognier, 34% Chardonnay and 58% Chenin Blanc, will pair with a broad variety of white meats or flavourful crisp Salad. 100% Wellington district grown.
Now until winter 2013

862 cases produced, SGS Organic certified.

Monday, September 24, 2012

KWV Reserve Collection Western Cape Shiraz 2010 91+ Points

Medium clear, bright, ruby red with purple rim.

The nose is akin to an Hermitage with New World fruit, clean, high intensity, ripe raspberries, cherries, delicately ripe plums, no sign of over ripeness, complex earthy black olives note, excellent purity of fruit, hints of graphite, spicy core with toasty and slight charry character.

Dry with medium plus acidity, vibrant, moderate alcohol of only 13.5% abv, savoury texture, violets, rosemary, herbal freshness, precise, very good ripeness for a Shiraz, elegant, long and persistent.

Now until 2019

Joy Division @ Cape Grace

Joy Division @ Cape Grace

Times LIVE

The closest we come is Miguel Chan, sommelier at Tsogo Sun who is studying

to become an MS. Last night the 12 finalists for the sixth International

Young ...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Simonsig triumph at 2012 Méthode Cap Classique Challenge

Simonsig Cuvee Royale

Flagship Cuvée Royale 2007 best Blanc de BlancsCuvée Royale, the Prestige Cuvée of Simonsig Estate, South Africa’s first Méthode Cap Classique producer, has triumphed as the best Blanc de Blancs at the 2012 Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge for the second consecutive year, this time with the 2007 vintage.

Last year the Simonsig Cuvée Royale 2005 was the overall winner and best Blanc de Blancs in the 2011 Challenge. “We have set the benchmark right from the start when my father, Frans Malan, created South Africa’s very first Cap Classique, Kaapse Vonkel, 41 years ago and we will continue to contribute towards the growing interest in Cap Classiques amongst producers as well as the public,” says Simonsig cellarmaster Johan Malan, who selects only the finest, most delicate Chardonnay cuvées, capable of long evolution to achieve the pinnacle of Cap Classique quality in the Cuvée Royale.
The winning Simonsig Cuvée Royale 2007 spent more than five years (66 months) on the lees allowing the Chardonnay time to develop its complexity, finesse and fine mousse. Simonsig Cuvée Royale is only made in exceptional vintages, a clear indication of the selective manner in which this prestigious Cap Classique is crafted.

“The essence of a true Cap Classique lies with the gentle whole bunch pressing of the grapes which yield only the purest and most delicate juice known as the cuvée. If the quality of a particular vintage does not meet our expectations, we simply do not produce a Prestige Cuvée that year,” says winemaker Hannes Meyer, tasked with making Simonsig’s Cap Classiques under the guidance of Johan Malan.

Simonsig Cuvée Royale 2007 captivates with an intriguing golden hue and a remarkably delicate pearly mousse rising to the surface emitting wonderful aromas of Granny Smith apples coated with roasted almonds. Secondary flavours of freshly baked bread intertwine with the crisp scents of lime blossom and citrus typical of Chardonnay. Fermentation of 90% of the base wine in French oak barrels lends rich complexity to this Cap Classique.
The result is a sophisticated Prestige Cuvée which revives the palate with exquisite balance between the primary fruit and the complexity of slow evolution.
This glorious Cap Classique on its own or with fresh, succulent oysters. It works well with most light, delicate foods especially linefish, shellfish and crayfish and stands up well to caviar and artichoke hearts.
This Cuvée Royale is also a winner with fresh desserts such as fruit salad or sorbets. Simonsig Cuvée Royale 2007 is available on special request from the cellar at R190 a bottle and will be released later this year.
For more information or wine orders contact Simonsig Estate at Tel: (+27)21 888 4915 or visit Simonsig Simonsig Wine Estate is located outside Stellenbosch, on the Kromme Rhee road between the R44 and R304.

Mutual &Federal Wellington Wine Route puts WOW into new independent wine district

The Mutual & Federal Wellington Wine Route has finally put the WOW (Wine of Origin Wellington) in their wines, after being declared a separate wine district on 16 March 2012.
Wellington celebrated their independence at a gala event on 21 September, held at Kleinevalleij, where they announced their new title sponsor, Mutual & Federal Insurance Company Ltd.
This celebration boasted a wide range of local wines and cuisine, as well as top-class entertainment. “Mutual & Federal Agri is honoured to be the title sponsor of the Wellington Wine Route”, says Philip du Preez, Head of Agriculture at Mutual & Federal. “As one of the leading insurers of wine estates in South Africa, we are excited about this relationship and look forward to exploring mutually beneficial opportunities with the Wellington Wine Route community.”

Well-known wine expert and master of ceremonies, Neil Pendock, accompanied by reputed international guest speaker, Tersina Siehn from Hong Kong alongside delegates from Cape Wine and Vindaba, joined in the evening's festivities.
Pendock stated that Wellington's declaration as an independent wine district continues the European process of mapping terroir.
"Consumers will now be able to home-in on Wines of Origin Wellington (WOW!) and seek out mountain wines of singular intensity, authenticity and palate power."
Historically Wellington, along with Franschhoek and Tulbagh, sorted only as wards of the Paarl wine region.
Following a meeting with the Wine and Spirit Board in November 2010 during which producers strongly lobbied for Wellington's independence, the district was finally announced as a separate wine region in March this year.

This move is fully endorsed by the Wine and Spirit Board of South Africa and the formal proclamation was published in the Government Gazette. From now on this new status not only allows Wellington producers to label their wines as "Wine of Origin Wellington" - or WOW, but also to introduce their respective terroir-based wards to the consumer. Wellington Wine Route chairperson, Schalk Burger Sr, is elated with Wellington’s new independent status.

"This is truly a joyous day for Wellington and the start for the wine estates and producers in Wellington to showcase the unique terroir and skills of our viti and vini culturists which already have the pundits and consumers in awe. The future of the icon wines of the world lie with site specific offerings. Watch this space for Wines of Origin Wellington.

The Mutual & Federal Wellington Wine Route encompasses 21 producers, their wines increasingly receiving acclaim at local, as well as international wine competitions.
In addition to three ABSA Top Pinotages, these also include several Decanter, Veritas and Michaelangelo.
The conception of the local Wellington Quest for the Best - for Wellington, by Wellington, has contributed greatly to the overall quality of their wines, with Wellington proudly receiving the SA Terroir Top Wine Region award in 2010. This achievement lead to Terroir signs being positioned at all major Wellington access routes, serving as notice to tourists and wine lovers alike that they are now entering a leading wine produce region.
At present Terroir signs welcome guests on the R301 near Diemersfontein, along the R44 next to the Florida farm stall and on route to Hermon, as well as both turnoffs toward Lady Loch on the R45.
Another sign is planned for Eerste Tol on Bain's Kloof Pass. Since the proclamation in March, the borders of the Wellington wine region have changed to include more fynbos areas, cultural diversity, as well as farms previously supplying to the Paarl and Swartland wine districts.
For more information, contact Trudy Oosthuizen on tel 021 864 2479, email or visit Wellington Wine Route.
Become a friend of our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter at @wellwineroute for all the latest news and events.