Saturday, November 17, 2012

Seven Springs Vineyards Overberg Chardonnay 2011 89+ Points

Pale straw with slight yellow/green reflections

Clean, moderate plus intensity, citrussy lemony note, pineapples, spanspek, leesy complexity, clay mineral, brush of oak, subtle and fragrant, very well defined leaning towards Beaune in profile.

Dry, with dash residual sugar, creamy texture, very fresh with high acidity lending fine precision and linearity, crunchy, spicy, alcohol is high at 14% abv and slightly noticeable, but ample fruit to support, concentrated, nutty, long and persistent, drinking beautifully now, yet will gain further complexity with time in bottle.
now until 2018+

Friday, November 16, 2012

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut with oysters

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

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

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

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

Wim Truter, Nederburg white winemaker



At a special meeting of  the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association’s  (WIETA)  board convened against the backdrop of the protest action, its members issued a statement supporting the right to freedom of association and reaffirmed the WIETA Code principle of a living wage.

Speaking on behalf of the WIETA board, chairperson Mzukisi Mooi said: "The current protests by workers within the agricultural sector  highlight the urgent need to establish a culture of fair and ethical farming that is both socially and economically sustainable.  It was against this background that WIETA, a non profit organisation, was established in 2002, primarily as a way to assist workers and producers to understand their rights and abide by their responsibilities.”

He said WIETA and its stakeholders strongly condemned all forms of violence and intimidation associated with the protests taking place within the agricultural sector and that were being attributed to workers, farmers, the SAPS, private security companies and farm worker communities.

WIETA, whose board representatives include producers, such as SALBA, Wine Cellars SA and Vinpro, trade unions such as FAWU, BAWUSA and Sekhula Sonke and NGOs such as Women on Farms Project and The Centre for Rural Legal Studies, said it was intensifying its roll-out plan to increase the number of farms eligible for ethical certification.

"Through training of workers and management, technical assessments and audits, WIETA assesses compliance with a code of good conduct created to promote ethical and fair labour practices,” added Mooi.

He confirmed that earlier this year WIETA had introduced an Ethical Seal, believed to be the first such initiative of its kind amongst wine-producing countries worldwide. Fully traceable across every step of the wine production process, the seal testifies to fair working conditions, based on rigorous and closely monitored certification criteria.

WIETA CEO, Linda Lipparoni said many of the major producers, as well as smaller, privately-owned producers were supporting the WIETA initiative.  The first set of wines entitled to carry the seal were already in the market and more would be following on an on-going basis. "We urge other producers to follow to comply with the WIETA Code and to earn the right to carry the Ethical Seal."

Mooi said WIETA was fully committed to exploring constructive ways and means of resolving the current and other contentious issues amongst the wine industry stakeholders. "We are making an urgent call to the wider agricultural sector to come together and to enter into meaningful dialogue to find fair and equitable solutions to address the current situation".


Wim Truter, who makes Nederburg’s white wines under cellar master Razvan Macici, relishes the versatility of his job, making such a varied range across so many styles, but then he is used to being stretched in new directions.

After a four-year stint, first as Nederburg’s assistant red winemaker and then as its fully-fledged red winemaker, he left his position in 2009.  The move to Angers in France was to complete a prestigious Erasmus Mundus international Masters programme in vintage, vine, wine and terroir management. The course took him to Italy and Spain too.

Earlier in his career, this University of Stellenbosch graduate also worked vintages in Australia (McLaren Vale in South Australia and the Margaret River in Western Australia), the US (California’s Sonoma County) and France (Rhône valley).

How does it feel being back and switching from reds to whites? “It’s been a very interesting process for me and it has certainly helped in making some of our wood-aged whites like The Anchorman Chenin Blanc and Young Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc,” he says, referring to Nederburg’s recently released Heritage Heroes ensemble of limited-edition gourmet wines.

“For the most part, when it comes to the whites, the intensity of the focus happens at the beginning of the process as you try to capture their youthful, fresh and fruity characters.  You also get to experience the results relatively quickly, whereas in the case of reds, it can obviously take several years.”

He is particularly proud of the gold Veritas medal earned for the 2012 Winemaster’s Reserve Riesling, a variety that gives him great pleasure. “Perhaps it is because Rieslings are known for their longevity. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of striking the right balance between elegance, sugar and alcohol.

“Right now, I’m very excited by the potential of vineyards planted in a range of new areas, where we have seen some excellent early results. I’m also excited by the opportunity of working with Rhône whites.”

His involvement with a multi-tiered range made to cater to a wide spectrum of wine drinkers, extends him creatively and practically. The wines include popularly priced everyday drinking options with upfront fruit, those more classically styled, and still others intended for more specialty markets, including micro-cuvées.  Wines are planned in the vineyards, with many of the vineyard management protocols and later, the cellar techniques, dictated by the end price to ensure that all wines offer fair value, regardless of the place they occupy in the multi-tiered range.

“Part of my Masters’ research focussed on trellising systems and their impact on grape profile. I’ve also done a stint in marketing. I find it fascinating to approach the making of a wine from so many different perspectives. From Foundation and the new 56HUNDRED tier to our Winemaster’s Reserve, Heritage Heroes, Ingenuity and Private Bin wines, it’s an invigorating and intensely motivating journey.

“Actually, in whatever I do, I find the more you immersed in it you are, the more interesting it becomes.”

At some stage, he would like to work a harvest in Germany, but he is also very keen to experience the vineyards of Georgia and Moldova. “There are so many autochthonous (indigenous) varietals growing in these regions that we’ve never heard of! I’d love to find out more.”

Those are dreams for another day in the far distant future, he says. “I’m having so much fun, working with such a great and talented team.”

Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky 90+ Points

Deep clear gold with bright yellow rim.

When tasted neat, reveals high intensity, smoky, honey, dried fruits such as yellow peaches, raw almonds, vanilla, tobacco scents, spicy cinnamon dust, cedar wood, multi layered.

Dry with almost an element of sucrosity lending a round and creamy spicy texture, full style.

With water reveals subtle floral note, old oak influence, cigar dust, simple to understand why Johnnie Walker Red Label is one of the most demanded Blended Scotch whisky across South Africa's on consumption scene!

Laborie Jean Taillefert Western Cape Shiraz 2006 88 Points

Having in the last couple of months tasted both the outstanding 2009 and 2010 (years away from peak), I was intrigue to see how the 2006 have evolved in bottle, considering majority of South African top Shiraz peak and plateau around 6 to 8 years, thereafter drink well for +/- 6 years.

Still some ruby cherry red reflections with garnet hue and brown rim.

Clean, shows maturity with spicy preserves plums, blackberry, roasted figs, wet earth note, peppery, oak totally integrated lending light tobacco note, black tea leaf and hints of tapenade.

Dry with medium tannin, plush, juicy, delicate extraction, savory with a textured spicy  mid palate, quite rich without being heavy, moderate acidity lending a fresh feel, near perfect moderate alcohol of only 13% abv, lots of flavor going on, layered complexity, from now until 2018+

House of J.C. Le Roux reopens with glamorous makeover in December

La Fleurette Room

La Vallee Room

Meringue and Marshmallow

JC - Nougat Pairing

Get an exquisite taste of Le Good Life when The House of J.C. Le Roux, South Africa’s leading home of sparkling wine, reopens its doors with a glamorous new look, just in time for the festive season on 3 December.

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

The inviting new outside deck will surely become a hot spot for bubbly lovers during the festive season, where fashionistas can sip on fine Cap Classiques and sparkling wines and continue their tasting experience in the flirty pink La Fleurette Room.

The ever so popular bubbly and marshmallow, meringue and nougat pairings will be the ultimate treat, with the golden La Vallée Room and elegant Scintilla lounge perfect settings to savour award winning Cap Classiques, such as the 2012 Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge winner, J.C. Le Roux Scintilla 2003.

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

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

The House of J.C. Le Roux is open seven days a week from 3 December 2012. The restaurant is open from 09h00 till 16h00 with breakfast served between 09h00 and 11h00 and lunch from 12h00 till 15h00.
To reserve your table or for information on cellar tours and tastings, call 021-865 8200 or visit or

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vondeling Erica Voor-Paardeberg Shiraz 2009 85+ Points

Ruby red with slight garnet rim.

Clean, medium plus intensity, Northern Rhone cross Chateauneuf du  Pape profiling, ripe dark plums, complex black olives note, spicy, peppery, hints of nutmeg, subtle oaking with toasty character.

Dry, with medium plus acidity, fresh, more Syrah like on texture, delicate with medium tannins, savory, with integrated high alcohol of 14% abv, good lenght, from now until 2018.

Middelvlei Estate Stellenbosch Merlot 2011 82 Points

Ruby red with slight garnet rim.

Clean, ripe plums, mulberry and wild red berries, slight herbaceous note, but not green/unripe, stony earthy note, spicy oak lending tobacco note.

Dry with dash residual sugar, full bodied profile with medium acidity, fresh, juicy red fruits follows through, supporting the very high alcohol of 14.5%, slight burning farewell in back throat, best served lightly chilled to mitigate the alcohol effect, medium tannins with slight bitterness around the edges, nevertheless a well made Merlot



Uitkyk cellar

Harvesting at Neethlingshof

Three Stellenbosch wine farms that form part of the Lusan Premium Wines portfolio have been accredited by the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA).  Following a rigorous assessment, Uitkyk, Neethlingshof and Stellenzicht have been declared compliant with the WIETA fair labour code.

The WIETA code is premised on the base code of the International Labour Conventions Ethical Trading Initiative and also incorporates South African labour legislation.  It precludes the use of child labour, asserts that employment should be freely chosen and that all employees should have the right to a healthy and safe working environment. Amongst the conditions it sets are that workers should have the right to freedom of association, a living wage and to be protected from unfair discrimination. Worker housing and tenure security rights should also be respected.

“We are very proud of the accreditation which proves the commitment of our farms to best practice in the work environment,” says Ilana de Vries, managing director of Lusan Premium Wines. “We strive for healthy relationships between management and the workforce across all the farms in our stable.”

Lusan wines are marketed and distributed by Cape Legends.

Sip on flutes of Pongrácz at KLûK CGDT this summer

Acclaimed South African fashion forward KLûK CGDT welcomes fashionistas this summer with flutes of Pongrácz and a gift of your very own bottle of the ultra-sophisticated prestige cuvée, Desiderius Pongrácz if you acquire some of their coveted higher ticket items.

This special Pongrácz indulgence is on offer until the end of December in KLûK CGDT Cape Town and Johannesburg boutiques.

Surrounded by gorgeous fashion from acclaimed design duo Malcolm Klûk and Christiaan Gabriel du Toit and enveloped in signature perfume, trend seekers will be spoilt with flutes of Pongrácz and Pongrácz Rosé.

VIP clients spending R10 000 or more will be spoilt with a bottle of Desiderius 2003, a sophisticated Méthode Cap Classique crowned best bottle fermented sparkling wine at the 2012 International Wine and Spirit Challenge and a double gold winner at both the 2012 Veritas Awards and 2012 Five Nations Wine Challenge.

Set apart by its distinctive fluted bottle, it was the bubbly of choice for local model export Katryn Kruger in the fashion film White Mischief, showcasing the new KLûK CGDT collection of the same name at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa.

A perfect fashion partner, Pongrácz is an exceptional blend of the classic Champagne varietals, Pinot noir and Chardonnay. It is set apart by crisp green apple tones and the nuttiness of freshly baked bread.
The fashionable Pongrácz Rosé with its salmon hue is enchantingly dry with a wonderful foamy mouthful of black berry fruit and delicate yeasty notes.

Known for gorgeous feminine designs and an exceptional creative approach, KLûK CGDT in Cape Town is situated in 47 Bree Street, with the Johannesburg store in 46 Sixth Street, Parkhurst.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

KWV Classic Collection Red Muscadel Dessert Wine NV 90 points

Pale bronze with mahogany hue.

Clean, high aromatic intensity, raisin, honey, prunes, orange peel, spicy, minty note, dried rose petal, multilayered complexity, subtle oxidative oak character.

sweet but not cloying, rich and concentrated with juicy red berries, honey and maple syrup note, fresh and elegant with spicy texture, high alcohol of 17.5% abv but within fortified wines range and totally integrated giving a warm glow, long and persistent.

Perfect with your cheese board selection or with any chocolate dessert.

Ridgeback Paarl Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 74 Points

Garnet with slight brown rim, typical of majority 2008 reds and especially Cabernet, possibly due to premature evolution.

Clean, moderate intensity, minty eucalyptus note dominate, blueberry pastille, ripe cassis, herbaceous and earthy note, subtle oaking brush of cedary character.

Dry with medium plus acidity, fresh with elegant extraction, medium tannin, with slight bitterness on the edges, graphite note on texture, with some mid palate stuffing! moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% a bonus!, now until 2014

Pella Thomas Se Dolland Stellenbosch Pinotage 2009 59 - 82 Points

From an extablished old bushvines planted in 1960, yielding a mere 3 tons per hectare, bright, ruby red with slight garnet rim.

Traces of brettanomyces evident, hence the 59 points rating, shadowing layers of dark ripe plums, cassis, blackberry, good ripeness defintion for a Pinotage, delicate stony character, with cedar, graphite and tobacco note from the 24 months spent in 100 % new oak barrels, very well integrated.

Dry with savoury black olives and herbal note, medium plus tannin, combination of grape and oak tannins, may be integrated with time, slight overextraction lending some hard edges, dark red fruits compote follows through, integrated high alcohol of 14% abv, medium plus acidity, lending good freshness.

Would have been a very interesting Pinotage if it was not for the brettanomyces, and the over extraction combined with high alcohol, especially considering the pedigree and age of the vineyards, a heritage in itself, nevertheless consumers out there that can tolerate brett spoilage, this is a solid 82 points!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

La Vierge Collection Seduction Hemel-En-Aarde Ridge Pinot Noir 2012 83+ Points

Ruby red with purple rim, some co2 spritz.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, perfume, quite expressive for a Pinot Noir with floral spicy note, very ripe plums, dark cherries and blackberry, hints of dry rosemary! slight raisin character, possibly picked too ripe? subtle oaking though.

Dry, crisp with moderate plus acidity, crunchy cherries and stone fruit pips, moderate tannin, structured and fresh with medium plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, quite a lot going on texture with fine mid palate stuffing, need time to settle, might rate higher with time, best revisited in a year time, from 2013+ until 2018

The Radford Dale Wine Dinner at 54 on Bath - Fully Booked

The Radford Dale Wine Dinner on the 21st November 2012 at 54 on Bath is now fully booked and all queries and further reservation are now close.

A heartfelt thank you to all the interested supporters of our wine events, watch this space for more interesting wine and dine evening.

Pearly Bay western Cape Dry White NV 81+ Points

Pale straw with yellow/green reflections, some co2.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, appley note with green lime zest, green mango, brush of honey, light citrussy perfume, well defined with character.

Dry with medium plus acidity, crunchy, crisp and lively, some saline note, fresh and elegant, low plus alcohol of 12% abv, makes it the ideal glass of dry white wine for any time of the day as a refresher with or without food to be enjoyed with friend, bonus it cost less than R 30 retail, unfrivolous, uncomplicated, genuine and honest glass of wine!so got your summer wine ya?!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Opstal Estate Slanghoek The Mill Iron 2012 86 Points

Opstal is a family owned wine Estate since 1847 and is situated in Slanghoek, a ward within Breedekloof district of Breede River Valley region this is their maiden vintage of a smartly though unwooded aromatics white blends with equal percentage of Viognier and Muscat d'Alexandrie with Colombar in the balance, showing brilliant pale white with some co2.

Clean, lifted aromatics, white peaches, apricot, paw paw, derived from the 40% Viognier component, green oranges and guava, roses, talc powder, Muscat evident but not dominating at 40%, quite mineral and stony in profile, captivating.

What was intriguing was the fact the bottle was opened for 6 days and it did not lose any of the aromatics or any sign of oxidation!

Palate is drier than nose may suggest with dash residual sugar, well offset by the high acidity from the 20% Colombar, juicy, crisp and linear, lemony freshness, moderate alcohol of 13% abv, long lenght with structured complexity, a charming and very well made  white blend to be enjoyed at 10-12 degrees Celsius as an aperitifs or with peri peri chicken, alternatively it will paired very well with Peking Duck.

Enjoy in flush of youth when the aromatics are at their prime, yet will keep until 2015+

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pella The Vanilla Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2010 81 Points

From old bush vines grown in high potential, poor gravel and pot clay, established in 1971, yielding a mere 5 tons per hectare, pale straw with slight yellow reflections towards the rim, some Co2.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe tropical fruit, yellow citrus, fleshy red apples, pears, stony mineral with subtle oaking lending indeed vanillin and light toast note.

Dry with dash residual sugar, textured with fairly rich structure well offset by medium acidity, juicy, nutty profile with well integrated high alcohol of 14% abv, fresh and lively, good lenght, now until 2015.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


 Pierneef a La Motte exterior

Coffee bar at Pierneef a La Motte

La Motte courtyard at night

La Motte courtyard

La Motte Manor House

La Motte Museum

Waterkloof wine tasting lounge

Waterkloof exterior

Waterkloof horses

Waterkloof restaurant

For the second year in succession, historic wine estate, La Motte of Franschhoek is South Africa’s Best of Wine Tourism champion. The 2013 winner of the annual competition run by the Great Wine Capitals (GWC) once again came out narrowly ahead of Waterkloof Estate, Helderberg’s biodynamic winery situated on the slopes of the Schapenberg.

The GWC, a network of the world’s leading wine-producing countries that shares international best practice to advance standards in wine tourism across the world, announced the results today (November 8) in Florence, Italy, at a gala dinner attended by leading wine tourism practitioners from around the world.

GWC’s members, in addition to Cape Town-Cape Winelands, include Mainz-Rheinhessen (Germany), Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco-Napa (United States) and New Zealand’s Christchurch.

Dating back 300 years, La Motte as South Africa's national winner joins the illustrious company of some of the world's most famous wine producers, including:

·         France's Maison des vins de Cadillac,  a leading Bordeaux winery run from an 18th century manor house near the canton of Cadillac;
·         Wasems Kloster Engelthal, a former Cistercian monastery in Rheinhessen, Germany, dating back eight centuries;
·         Quinta do Vallado Wine Hotel, one of the oldest estates in the Douro Valley of Portugal, run by the same family for almost 400 years;
·         Spain's Hotel-Bodega Finca de los Arandinos, close to Bilbao;
·         Italy's Fattoria Lavacchio run as an organic operation in Tuscany;
·         Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel & Spa in the foothills of the Andes Cordillera of Argentina;
·         The organically farmed Long Meadow Ranch, nestled in the Mayacama Mountains of the Napa Valley, US; and
·         Renowned Yealands Estate in the Awatere Valley of Marlborough, New Zealand, a carbon-zero winery that has been one of the world leaders in sustainable farming.

As the results were so close between the top two South African contenders, the local chapter of the GWC sought the opinion of the full international panel before making its final decision.

La Motte's win was based on its overall performance, taking first place in the Sustainable Wine Tourism category, and second position in both the Arts and Culture and in the Wine Tourism Services categories. Last year the estate earned the top score in the Arts and Culture category. Waterkloof’s position as South Africa's runner-up was earned by coming first in the Architecture and Landscapes category, as it did last year, and by coming second this time in both the Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices and the Restaurant categories.

André Morgenthal, spokesperson for the awards, said the virtual tie between La Motte and Waterkloof was a reflection of the extremely high standard of entries. “The difference between the scores was very slight.  We had higher scores across virtually all categories compared with previous years.  It is very encouraging to see that since the inception of the competition over a decade ago, there has been a steady advance in the quality and sophistication of wine tourism experiences entered for consideration.”

This finding of the judges was borne out, he said, by the growing international vote of confidence amongst tourists in Cape Town and its surroundings.  Earlier in November, Cape Town was named second-best city in the world and best city in Africa by readers of US-based travel publication Condé Nast Traveller. Its annual survey this year drew almost 50 000 readers and saw Cape Town beaten only by southern US city Charleston, but coming out ahead of Florence, Bangkok, Vancouver and Sydney.

Morgenthal said this year, for the first time, the Hemel & Aarde area had been represented in the local GWC competition, with Creation taking top position in the Innovative Wine Tourism category.

Other category winners were Grand Dédale of Wellington (Accommodation), Grande Provence of Franschhoek (Arts & Culture), Tokara of Stellenbosch (Restaurants) and Waterford of Stellenbosch (Wine Tourism Services).

This year’s judges included wine tourism specialist Margi Biggs; international tourism consultant Rick Taylor of the Business Tourism Company, a former CEO of Cape Metropolitan Tourism and currently a board member of Tourism Business Council of South Africa; lifestyle and wine journalist Joanne Gibson; Joan Isham, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) extension officer; Marilyn Martin, art historian, curator and writer; landscape architect Alex Robertson; JP Rossouw, food critic and author of the annual Rossouw’s Restaurants guide; and landscaper Johan van Papendorp.

Winners and first and second runners-up in each category were:


1          Grand Dédale

2          Grande Provence

3          Mont Rochelle


1          Waterkloof

2          Tokara

3          Grande Provence


1          Grande Provence

2          La Motte

3          Delaire


1          Creation

2          Vergelegen

3          Warwick


1          La Motte

2          Waterkloof

3          Avondale


1          Tokara Restaurant

2          Waterkloof

3          Rust en Vrede


1          Waterford

2          La Motte

3          Delaire

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Radford Dale Wine Dinner

Level Four restaurant presents, in conjunction with The Winery of Good Hope and Frogitt & Vonkel, The Radford Dale Wine Dinner with the guest presence of Edouard Labeye, winemaker from the Rhone Valley in France and joint wine maker and co-partner in the winery, for this one and only dinner at 54 on Bath (formerly The Grace Hotel) Johannesburg on Wednesday the 21st of November 2012.

Join Executive Chef Gerard Vingerling and his culinary team along with Tsogo Sun Group Sommelier Miguel Chan and the Level Four restaurant service team for what promise to be an exceptional 5 course dinner.

The following Radford Dale wines will be poured with the following courses:

Scallop, lemon biscuit, pancetta, Creme Fraiche
The Winery Of Good Hope Chenin Blanc 2012

Lobster, broad bean risotto, beurre noisette and peas
Radford Dale Chardonnay 2009

Seared Quail breast, Confit leg, beetroot textures, mustard
Radford Dale Shiraz 2009

Lamb neck, mushroom croquette, mint shard, tomato relish
Radford Dale Black Rock 2009

Smoked duck, duck pie, coffee and cherries
Radford Dale Gravity 2008

Mango”Cannoli” ,jelly, Litchi Sorbet, meringue
Radford Dale Vine Dried Viognier 2010

Only 50 tickets are available
Full pre payment confirms reservations*, please forward your query or payment details to Miguel Chan
  • Cancellations will carry a 50% refund

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ridgeback Paarl Chenin Blanc 2012 90+ Points

Pale straw with slight green reflections, some co2.

Clean, highly expressive, leesy character, ripe citrus, green orange, red apples, ripe peaches, stony minerals, lemon curd, hints of jasmin, fleur d'oranger notes, could there possibly be some Viognier added to lift the aromatics? spicy oak, multi layered profile, captivating!

Dry with dash residual sugar, lending a fullness to the structure, very fresh and vibrant with high acidity giving lots of energy to a full bodied Chenin Blanc with high but integrated alcohol of 14% abv, juicy, creamy texture, crunchy lemon segment, very well made for a Paarl Chenin, long and persistent, this will be a cracker with your Christmas Turkey roast!, now until 2018+

End of Year Champagne Articles

With the holidays approaching, celebratory food and wine pairings are not far behind. As you begin to write for the holiday season, remember that the Champagne Bureau, USA is your resource for all information about this unique sparkling wine that receives its name from a specific place where the grapes and wine are produced – Champagne, France.

Located 90 miles northeast of Paris, Champagne’s climate, chalky soil, and lineage of winemaking combine to produce a sparkling wine that can only be made in one place: Champagne. There are many sparkling wines produced around the world, but Champagne only comes from Champagne.

As the official U.S. representative of the grape growers and houses of the Champagne region, the Bureau can provide you Champagne facts, figures, statistics, history, food pairing suggestions, serving tips and information about the region’s ongoing name protection efforts. Our Director, Sam Heitner, is available for interviews and can provide comments about Champagne as well.

Although a busy time of year, we handle all media inquiries promptly. Allow the Bureau to assist with all of your Champagne questions and don’t hesitate to contact us.


Jennifer Hall | Champagne Bureau, USA
1850 M St. NW | Suite 800 | Washington, D.C. 20036
O: (202) 777-3554 | C: (202) 340-2201| F: (202) 370-2677

Fleur du Cap and exotic mushroom dinner at Die Bergkelder

Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 18h30

Wine and food lovers will get another chance to enjoy the best Mother Nature has to offer when superb, naturally crafted Fleur du Cap wines meet exotic mushrooms for an unforgettable dinner experience in the heart of Die Bergkelder, the famous cellar in the mountain in Stellenbosch on Thursday, 22 November 2012.

Inspired by Fleur du Cap wines with their close affinity to nature, crafted with minimal intervention in a style determined by the grapes themselves, mushroom fundi Dr Adriaan Smit, known for his in-depth knowledge of the amazing world of mushrooms, returns with another five course feast created to satisfy all the senses.

“The unusual varietal wines of Fleur du Cap with their unbridled expression of fruit and flavour such as the opulent Unfiltered Viognier and the elegant Unfiltered Semillon, guarantee a perfect match with exotic mushroom flavours,” says Dr Smit, who will be accompanied on the evening by Christoff De Wet, one of Die Bergkelder’s younger team members who dabbles in the art of red wine making.

The unique mushroom and wine experience starts off with an entrée of Enoki and Wood Ear mushrooms which will be served with Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Viognier 2011 followed by a flavoursome Eryngii mushroom crust dish paired superbly with Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon 2011, a wine that works amazingly well with earthy mushroom flavours. For the creamy Porcini risotto Dr Smit has selected Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Merlot 2010, whilst the delicious Shiitake Duxelle served with couscous and roasted vegetables will be served with Fleur du Cap Bergkelder Selection Pinotage 2010. To round off this unique sensory adventure, Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2010 has been paired with a decadent Shimeji Hazelnut Chocolate cake that will have your taste buds wanting for more.

This unforgettable exotic mushroom and wine dinner experience starts at 18h30 on Thursday, 22 November 2012 and costs R195 per person.
Places are limited so booking is essential.
Call Karine Retief on Tel: 021 809 8052.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Nederburg Eminence
Razvan Macici - Nederburg Cellar Master
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest

Nederburg cellar master, Razvan Macici, crowned the 2012 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year earlier this month (November 3), says winning the coveted title marks one of the most significant achievements in his career.

This year was the first time he entered the competition, that annually identifies a particular varietal or wine style as its single category for entry.  The only competition of its kind, it is now in its 32nd year. Dessert wines have never been featured as a category before.

His triumph sees the Diners Club title return to Nederburg for the third time after an interval of nearly 30 years. It was previously won by Gűnter Brȍzel in 1983 for Rhine Riesling and in 1985 for his Gewűrztraminer.

This year, the top-scoring wine was Nederburg's Private Bin Eminence 2007, a wine made exclusively for sale on the Nederburg Auction.  Macici also received top honours for two other wines, the 2010 and 2011 vintages of the Winemaster's Reserve Noble Late Harvest. 

Last year the 2009 vintage of Eminence was judged the wine of the show at the 2011 Five Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney in which wine producers from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Chile competed.  It also took the trophy for the top dessert wine as the highest-scoring wine in its class across the spectrum of Southern Hemisphere entrants.

The 2008 vintage of this wine also won gold at the Sydney event.  It had earlier earned 96 points to take the trophy for the best unfortified dessert wine at the 2011 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, and was one of the top ten wines in the 2011 Muscats du Monde in France.

South African Airways (SAA) Names 2013 Trophy Wines

Winning Wines to be Served on SAA Flights and Business Class Lounges

Cape Town, South Africa (PRWEB) November 05, 2012

South African Airways (SAA) today announced the winners of its competition for wines to be served on board its aircraft in 2013.

The winning wines will be served on all SAA domestic, regional and international flights and in the airline’s business class lounges. South Africa’s top wine producers submitted a total of 1030 local whites, reds, and dessert and sparkling wines to an international judging panel.

“South African wines are consistently rated amongst the best in the world, and as South Africa’s international flag carrier, we are very proud to serve some of the best products our vintners have to offer,” said Tlali Tlali, SAA’s Group Corporate Affairs Executive. “Our annual on board wine competition gives South African winemakers the opportunity to have their wines profiled globally to SAA customers’ discerning palates.

A distinguished panel of 12 judges tasted the submitted wines in Paarl earlier this year. Awards were presented to the winning wines last night in Somerset West.

SAA’s 2013 Trophy Wines are:

White Wine: Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2012
Red Wine: Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Methode Cap Classic: Anura Brut Chardonnay/Pinot Noir 2009
Port: KWV Tawny Port N/V

Two special awards for best vineyards were also announced:
SAA CEO’s Award for best performance by a single vineyard: Anura Vineyards (Pty) Ltd
SAA Chairperson’s Award for largest wine supplier to SAA: Anura Vineyards (Pty) Ltd

SAA has traditionally supported the South African wine industry, providing an opportunity to showcase the best wines to the world. The annual selection process for wines to be served on SAA flights gives local producers valuable feedback from an expert panel on the quality of their produce.

“Our passengers rightly expect fantastic wines as part of our outstanding service package,” said Tlali. “The highly experienced panel of judges help us ensure that SAA procures the best and most suitable wines for inflight service South African wineries have to offer.”

Further Information on the Judging Panel

A panel of internationally and locally recognised wine experts judged the wines, including:

    Bongi Sodladla - SAA’s Sommelier and Global Food and Beverage Manager;
    Yegas Naidoo - SAA Voyager Lifetime Platinum member;
    Ntsiki Biyela - Winemaker at Stellekaya Wines;
    Sandra Lotz - former CEO of Paarl Vintners;
    Andrea Freeborough - Cellarmaster at Die Bergkelder;
    Carmen Steven - Winemaker at Amani Vineyards;
    Cathy Marston - UK wine writer;
    Francis Bayly - Chairman of the SA National Wine Show Association;
    Tariro Masayiti - Red wine maker at KWV;
    Annegret Gartner - Managing Director of Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt wine estate, Germany;
    Miguel Chan - Group Sommelier for Southern Sun hotels; and
    Alan Wong base in Singapour - advisor to Tuscan wine producer Ruffino, Schloss Vollrads in the Rheingau, and Ridge Vineyards in Northern California.

For more information contact:
SAA Group Corporate Affairs

Pongracz releases another exceptional Desiderius Prestige Cuvée


A new vintage of the much lauded signature prestige cuvée, Desiderius Pongrácz, which has stood up to the highest international acclaim as a Méthode Cap Classique to rival French Champagne, has just been released.

Made only in exceptional vintages, the new Desiderius Pongrácz 2008 boasts absolute elegance in a uniquely styled fluted bottle. This singularly noble Cap Classique is hand crafted in the classic French tradition, composed entirely of the classic Champagne varieties, Chardonnay (70%) and Pinot noir (30%). It delights the senses with nuances of fresh fruit, almonds and freshly baked bread.

“We only make Desiderius in exceptional vintages and are proud to honour its namesake with a Cap Classique of outstanding quality. Desiderius Pongrácz 2008 epitomises elegance, quality and nobility, encapsulating grace and exceptional character. It is alluring with a rich complexity and a slight green tint that teems with light, lively bubbles and raciness on the palate,” says winemaker Elunda Basson, who recommends celebrating special moments with this captivating Cap Classique.

Inspired by Desiderius Pongrácz, a charismatic Hungarian nobleman whose sheer genius and vision revitalised viticulture at the Cape, Desiderius Pongrácz 2008 has a rich complexity and classic yeasty character imparted over time during prolonged maturation on the lees for four years. As the wine matures it tends to develop wonderful creamy, nutty characteristics on the nose and a full bodied texture which lasts for ages on the palate.

This Pongrácz prestige cuvée has an impressive lineage dating back to the maiden vintage in 1996. Its 2003 predecessor seized the moment this year with accolades including Double Gold at both the 2012 Veritas Awards and 2012 Five Nations Wine Challenge, and the trophy for best bottle fermented sparkling wine at the 2012 International Wine and Spirit Challenge in London.

Elegant and sophisticated, Desiderius Pongrácz 2008 will add a luxurious touch to any occasion. It is available at selected boutique wine stores at around R255.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Radford Dale Wine Dinner


Alto Shiraz
Schalk vd Westhuizen

The 2010 vintage of Alto Shiraz has been selected by South African Airways’ wine judging panel to be served to Premium Class passengers aboard the national carrier during November 2013.

The same wine was also recently honoured with a Grand D’Or at the 2012 Michelangelo International Wine Awards as well as with a gold medal at the 2012 International Wine & Spirit Competition in London.

The wine was made by Schalk van der Westhuizen who has been with this Stellenbosch red wine estate, set high on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, since 2000.  Under renowned viticulturist Eben Archer, a strong focus has since been placed on vine root development and these vineyards today produce fruit of exceptional balance.

The dryland vineyards providing the grapes for this wine are planted in deep, decomposed granite and clay soils.  They grow on a north-westerly slope some 100m to 200m above sea level and are cooled by afternoon maritime breezes blowing off False Bay thus lengthening the ripening period and preserving the complex flavours of the grapes. The grapes were harvested by hand and aged for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak.

Van der Westhuizen says the wine brims with intense flavours of blackcurrants and prunes.  “It’s full-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and a fantastic tannic backbone.”

Alto Shiraz 2010 is available in liquor outlets countrywide and retails for around R140 a bottle.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ogier Les Menines Cotes du Rhone 2011 85 Points

A blend of predominantly Grenache Noir, Syrah and Cinsaut, bottle by Ogier Caves des Papes, showing bright, ruby red with purple rim.

Clean, high intensity, expressive with textbook Cotes du Rhone character, vibrant ripe plums, blueberries, spicy nutmeg/cloves, dried rosemary, subtle supportive integrated oak.

Dry with medium plus tannins, still integrating, giving good grip, moderate plus alcohol (13.5% abv), delicately juicy, peppery, fresh and elegant, seamless purity, now until 2017.

Excellent bottle, an absolute bargain at R45 from Checkers Hyper Fourways, guess it is available at their other outlets country wide too?, now the million dollar questions!! for the price it is testament that quality wines can be made without alienating  the customer to other alcoholic beverages and considering it has been imported, give  it even more reason, that some South African wineries need to re-look their costing model and pricing strategy, especially those producing Rhone style blends!! which many are nowhere as drinkable and charming as this one, for various reason, namely high alcohol, some sort of over extractions and lacking delicacy and freshness!

This red wine should be one of the highlights of your festive season, served lightly chilled, as our December's are way too warm to drink at "room temperature"!

Buy now, price quality ratio it is unbeatable, well done Checkers!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chamonix Franschhoek Pinot Noir Reserve 2009 92 Points

Franschhoek might be one of the hottest district climatically, due to the fact it is enclosed on 3 sides, with no coastal wind cooling effect, this should be one of the most challenging place in South Africa to grow Pinot Noir, howver Gottfried Mocke the meticulous winemaker of Chamonix keep crafting one of the most compelling Pinot Noir from a vineyards planted at 550 metres above sea level.

Ruby red with slight garnet rim.

Clean, moderate plus intesity, with captivating ripe Morello cherries, cranberry and hints of strawberry, sandy / granite mineral with subtle spicy oak in perfect tune with the fruit, considering 80% was new French oak and 20% in second and third fill French Allier oak.

Dry with precise freshness, crunchy ripe tannins, intense mid palate stuffing, yet all indication tells this still embryonic, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv shows it is possible to get elegance and ripeness with high alcohol from such a location, excellent purity of fruit, long persistent lenght, great now but will even be better from 2016, until 2022+


Andre Badenhorst & Edwin Doran of Doran Vineyards

New vines and cellar part of R40m Irish-SA project

Rugby, sports tourism and history are the unusual confluence of factors in a R40-million Irish-South African collaboration resulting in a new landmark wine estate project to trade under the name Doran Vineyards on the farm Far Horizons in the Voor-Paardeberg area of the Western Cape.

Sports tourism specialist and wine connoisseur, Irishman Edwin Doran and his long-time friend, Constantia wine route pioneer Andre Badenhorst have joined forces in what they lightly term ‘two old buggers having fun’. But the new venture, 15km from Wellington and 40km from Riebeek Kasteel, is by no means a whimsical escapade.

It is founded on Doran’s commitment to premier wines and Badenhorst’s intimate knowledge and leading role in the Cape wine industry on historic Constantia estates, Buitenverwachting and Constantia Uitsig, over more than three decades.  The culture has passed to a second generation with his son Adi Badenhorst now one of the most successful winemakers and estate owners in the Swartland district, and an internationally known wine personality.

Doran’s passion for wine was vested in his collection of Bordeaux’s Premier Grand Cru Classe wines he acquired en primeur.  It was his sale of this collection that funded the building of a cellar to receive, ferment and mature the new premium wines that will be produced on the estate.

The new cellar, which was created out of the former milking shed on the farm, now holds the estate-produced Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre and Chenin Blanc in various-sized barrels.  Previously, all the estate’s wines were made in a cellar in Wellington.

The two met in the early ‘90s through a sports tour organized by Doran’s international tour operation for Wynberg Boys High School where Badenhorst was Governing Body chairman, and his younger son Charl was rugby captain at the time.

Their mutual love of sport and wine were the common threads that led to the more than 20-year friendship.

‘When Edwin sold his company he said he wanted to realise his dream of a wine farm in South Africa so we went about finding one,’ said Badenhorst. ‘My son Adi has a successful wine farm, Kalmoesfontein in the Paardeberg, Swartland district, and he recommended this area. We eventually found Far Horizons, which at 179ha was bigger than we were looking for, but proved to be a good decision.’

Less than one third of the farm is under irrigated vineyards while the rest is used for cultivating oats and lucern.  Badenhorst has also realised one of his ambitions, to have a flock of Ile de France sheep and a herd of Angus cattle.

The partners have appointed accomplished young South African winemaker Martin Lamprecht to the team.  Lamprecht refined his skills at the well-respected Cederberg Cellars on the farm Dwarsrivier, and while working there, also spent time in the Rhône wine region in Southern France, gaining invaluable experience with varietals that are highly suited to the Voor Paardeberg.

Since the acquisition of the farm in 2010, a great deal of renovation and restoration has been done, including the architectural restyling of the buildings, construction of staff houses, the creation of the cellar and replacement of the Smart Dyson trellising system with the Perold system.  Their plan for the estate is to plant Chenin Blanc as well as white Rhône varietals such as Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. In addition, red Rhône varietals such as Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre will be planted to complement existing plantings of the Shiraz.  Other red varietals   presently on the farm include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinotage.

Currently the estate wines are marketed under Horse Mountain label, which will be the “second label” of the farm offering a Chenin Blanc Voignier, a Pinotage, a Shiraz and a Bordeaux Blend, named Michele.

Rosé Spring Celebration at Constantia Glen wine estate

Sunday, 18th November, from 12:00 – 17:00, Manfred’s Legacy, Constantia Glen

Indulge your love of Rosé and join Constanta Glen, with neighbouring wine estates Beau Constantia and Eagles’ Nest, for a Rosé Spring Celebration held on the lush lawns of Manfred’s Legacy, a tranquil retreat in a breathtaking setting on the estate.

All the participating farms are situated on the upper reaches of Constantia Nek on the Constantia Valley Wine Route. They will be presenting their Rosés as well as a selection of other wines from this remarkable appellation known for its classically crafted, cool climate wines. Visitors will be spoiled with a scrumptious picnic fillet braai amidst sweeping mountain and vineyard views.

Enjoy a perfect day of fine wines at one of the jewels of the Constantia Wine Valley.

Booking for the Rosé Spring Celebration on Sunday, 18 November is essential, as no tickets will be sold on the day. Tickets are available at the Constantia Glen tasting room at R250 per person (cash only), which includes a wine glass, wine tasting and food.

Constantia Glen is open daily from 10h00 till 17h00 on week days and from 10h00 till 16h00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Look out for the Constantia Glen signs towards the top of Constantia Main road. Call 021 795 6100, e-mail visit or for further information. The GPS co-ordinates are S 34º 0’39.6” E 18º 24’30.6”.

Picturesque Holden Manz picnics – best kept secret in Franschhoek

Holden Manz, the magnificent boutique wine estate nestled between the Franschhoek and Stony Brook rivers, offers a glorious indulgence for sunny days with a brand new picnic menu – adding a taste of summer to one of the Winelands’ best kept secrets.

With delicious eats for the whole family to enjoy with gorgeous mountain views along the Franschhoek River, a picnic at this lush estate is the ultimate in relaxation, enjoyed under stately oaks at the tables provided or on your own picnic blanket. Each picnic basket with mouth-watering treats includes all the essentials needed for the perfect picnic, such as a table cloth, napkins, cutlery and plates. Tuck into local artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, juicy skewered chicken and beef satays, savoury mushroom quiche, smoked salmon pate, as well as tomato chutney, chicken liver pate, seasonal farm jams, crisp garden salad and soft homemade bread, and end this scrumptious al fresco meal with sweet delights of yummy donuts and chocolate brownies.

The picnics at Holden Manz cost R160 per person. Each basket for two includes a bottle of mineral water. Fine Holden Manz wine can be purchased additionally from the cellar.

The picnics are offered daily from Tuesdays till Sundays but booking is essential. Call 021-8762729, email or visit To reach Holden Manz, turn right at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek and follow the signs for two kilometres.

Vondeling Petit Rouge Voor-Paardeberg 2011 79 Points

Blend of Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Voor-Paardeberg grown, Ruby cherry red with slight garnet rim.

Slightly reductive, probably due to the screw cap closure, after 24 hours aeration reveals ripe plums, cassis and blackberry, hints of stemmy/herbaceous/vegetative character, earthy, hints of mineral, minimal oaking.

Dry with firm just ripe tannins, savory, fresh with medium plus acidity, high alcohol of 14% abv, fairly juicy, uncomplicated honest glass of red, very well price at less than R 30/bottle trade price! Now until 2017

Perfect around a Braai with friends, or slab of steak at your favorite steak house, no frill no fuss red, just drink it, better slightly chilled!


Villion – Viljoensdrift’s flagship MCC – pays tribute to their French Huguenot forefather François Villion and commemorates the Viljoen family’s proud winemaking heritage which spans five generations.

Their elegant Brut Méthode Cap Classique clinched a Veritas gold medal this year and won silver at the 2012 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge.

Only carefully-selected Chardonnay grapes, sourced from a 15 year old block firmly rooted in the fertile alluvial soil on the banks of the Breede River between Robertson and Bonnievale, went into this blanc de blanc MCC.

In the cellar, the grapes (harvested at 18° Balling) were chilled to 1° Celsius and cold-pressed. Only the first 500 litres were used. Cold fermentation took place at 14° Celsius. After fermentation, the wine matured on the lees for nine months during which malolactic fermentation (MLF) took place.

Three years in the bottle resulted in a dry MCC with finesse and understated complexity characteristic of good blanc de blancs. Villion shows a golden hue in the glass with a fine and long-lasting mousse, honeysuckle aromas and a touch of buttery creaminess. Crisp and fresh on the palate. To be enjoyed as an aperitif, refreshing welcoming drink, paired with oysters au natural, seafood or dessert. Indeed a wine for all occasions.

Viljoensdrift attributes their success to the quality of teamwork from vineyard to cellar and their deep-rooted commitment to working in harmony with nature. Winemaker Fred and his viticulturist brother Manie form a formidable team when it comes to the environmentally friendly approach which governs all their activities.  They are committed to the principles of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) as well as the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme with sustainable wine production as the ultimate goal.

Viljoensdrift Villion MCC is available at R75 per bottle ex-cellar or online.  Visit /order to order online for convenient delivery to your door. (Price excludes delivery.)

For more information about Viljoensdrift’s winning wines, river cruises or picnics, visit or follow them on Facebook for the latest news and events.

Pella Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 89+ Points

From an established vineyard facing False Bay planted in 1993, yielding 5 tons per hectare, the soil is predominantly poor gravel and pot clay, ruby red with slight purple rim.

Clean, intense Cabernet varietal note, with ripe blackcurrant, cassis and mulberry, slight herbaceaous but not green, peppery spice with earthy stony minerals, lots going there, fragrant layers, 24 months in 70% new oak lave lend a polish cedar wood character with hints of vanilla, toast and tobacco.

Dry with medium plus ripe grainy tannins, complex mid palate stuffing, fresh with medium plus acidity, savory, vibrant, earthy note follows through with pencil shavings/graphite note, stillgetting together, possibly need an extra 3 years of bottle maturation, some decanting/aerating will assist with immediate appreciation, the alcohol though very high at 14.5% abv is smartly integrated.
Tasted 6 times over 72 hours with not a sign of oxidation, lots of energy for a Cabernet.

If you like classic Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon such as Le Riche, Waterford Estate, Rust en Vrede, this is indeed one of the district best kept secret, you will like this wine!
From 2015+ until 2021+
To order please contact:

South African Grand Wines Collection announced

‘Grand Wines’ (or Grand Vin, as in French) are commonly regarded as the best a producer has to offer – showing a level of intellectual or emotional stimulation able to capture the consumer’s imagination and intrigue, if not delight, the palate. ‘Grand Wines’ are ideally associated with a particular area (the terroir principle), as well as a style or particular wine-making philosophy. However, there is nothing wrong if some wines with unique nuances reflecting a broader landscape and falling outside this restriction are part of a ‘Grand Wines’ group. But, which wines could be considered for such a high accolade?

All wine competitions or magazine reviews reflect a once off opinion as a single vintage tasting. In fact, producers have to enter to stand a chance of winning. It also accounts for top wines featuring one year and disappear the next. But, that is the nature of a once-off tasting. Then there is also the real chance that a 5 star accolade is a once-off thing as well. Top wine does not do that! Especially, if cognisance is taken of the particular accolades bestowed on a wine, apart from just a tasting opinion. And surely there should be some categorising too to compare apples with apples. Price considerations would otherwise be of little use.

Driven by a desire to highlight the exceptional nature of South Africa’s top wines, SAWi (the South African Wine Index) has applied its indexing methodology to data available for ALL qualifying wines produced in South Africa.  Ultimately, a ‘Grand Wine’ should simply stand ahead of its peers as a wine that exhibits the best on offer, in the best possible way. This must be achieved year on year, the reason for the SAWi non-vintage result. While a number of wines are close to being part of this selection, it does not yet show such a clear and deserved pedigree and track record.

In the four years since it was first introduced, the Index has gained traction in South Africa as a reliable and accurate tool that accommodates the often-criticised vagaries of traditional wine competitions and today represents an aspirational benchmark of quality. In the process of building out a 10 year multi-vintage performance window for each wine (based on the mix of SAWI criteria – a unique development in the wine world), here are the names of the wines that achieved a rating of 93 or higher, and which make up the ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’.

The result is not simply a list of great South African wines, but a collection that commands the attention of the world, being very close to the very best South Africa has to offer. The ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’ is undoubtedly as close to a complete and unbiased list of top achieving wines as it is possible to come. Using the ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’, the stage is now set for South Africa to showcase its finest wines to the world’s luxury consumers.


Given that judgement and commentary are an integral part of the world of wine, it indeed creates an opportunity to analyze the South African ‘Grand Wines Collection’ and what trends it shows up and what to expect. Today, whilst fine wine has a large audience, there are infinitely also many more wines, many with a different cultural bias. The time has arrived for the world to take particular note of these South African ‘Superstar’ wines.

With an expected a premium tag normally added to its price, critical interpretations are essential. Authenticity and credibility is already provided through the SAWi methodology with the wine ratings representing a condensed capsule of opinions about a wine from best known and reputable judges here and elsewhere in the world. Wine enthusiasts can now rely on a useful tool to make decisions on which top wines to acquire in future.

Linked to a time and place, the ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’ represents 125 natural wines with only 15%+ non-terroir related. These show up the variety from the SA landscape in different ways enhancing complexity and structure of such wines. While 12 distinct Stellenbosch terroir pockets represent almost 50% of the collection, other areas has a strong representation with Hermanus (with Elgin) and Tulbagh in particular standing out, lesser so  Constantia and Cape Agulhas but, still worth a mention.

Cultivar wise, white wines are dominated by Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, each sharing about an equal 30% in this category. Of particular note is that there are wines for all discerning palates which play out almost 50/50 amongst lighter and heavier examples in both the white and red wine Collection.

Chenin Blanc can be found equally amongst the lighter crispy, refreshing and slightly stronger examples. This trend is also noticeable with Chardonnay, although tends to be more rich, buttery and generous. Then the list also shows nice minerally, citrusy, floral and aromatic type of white wines. Only about a third of the white wines were barrel matured and not for more than 12 months.

Reds dominate with 70 wines with the Bordeaux Blend type wines (almost 30% of the red class), followed, as could generally be expected by Shiraz (just over 20%). All red cultivars are represented in this Collection. Cabernet shows some 10 wines, while Pinotage and Merlot only showing half of that number on the list. Less than 10% of the Collection is blended wines.

Here too there is an array of lighter fruity perfumed examples right through to the rich savoury complex and even classic oaky wines. Noticeable is that the Pinot Noir wines are almost all in the former category with the Shiraz and Bordeaux Blend type wines tending to the more heavier and robust category. In between there are still good examples of these wines with full flavoured and spicy tones amongst other cultivars too. The average maturation period for about 60% of these red wines are 18 to 24 months in oak barrels.

Vondeling Petit Blanc Voor-Paardeberg 2011 79 Points

Pale straw with yellow reflections.

Clean, expressive ripe Golden Delicious apples, fleshy papaya, citrus segment, grassy and peppery with hints of mineral core, slight nutty character.

Dry with vibrant acidity, saline mineral, fairly juicy,  tangy, delicate with lemony freshness, good lenght, now until 2014


Durbanville Hills Chardonnay
Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Chardonnay

Durbanville Hills Biesjies Craal - Sauvignon Blanc

Durbanville Hills Luipaardsberg - Merlot

Durbanville Hills Rhinofields - Merlot

Durbanville Hills Pinotage

Durbanville Hills cellar outside

Durbanville Hills Winery has set its sights on global success with a number of recent awards from both local and international bodies, as well as the successful rollout of its worldwide “Adopt a Vine” campaign through which consumers gain a satellite view of how nature is shaping its wines.

International acclaim has come to Durbanville Hills through the China Wine Awards (CWA), the biggest and most prestigious wine competition in Hong Kong and China, where the winery received one double gold and two gold awards.

In the UK, Durbanville Hills Chardonnay 2010 scored a five-star rating at the UK’s first wine and food matching competition. Amongst the judges was the world’s foremost sommelier, Gérard Basset MS MW.

The wines were judged blind and with the focus on how well the wine matched the food. The Durbanville Hills Chardonnay’s pairing with mature cheddar came out tops in the “Cheddar and wine” category. A selection of favourite British, Christmas and Indian dishes, ranging from chicken tikka masala to apple crumble via fish and chips and roast lamb was tried.

Locally, Durbanville Hills recently scored with an array of medals at the Veritas Awards, notably one double gold and three golds to back up its growing international reputation. “These awards affirm the underlying quality of the Durbanville Hills wines,” says cellar master Martin Moore. “Quality is and will always be the first marketing differentiator in an increasingly globalized world, and remains the basis for growing a loyal support base.”

To this end, Durbanville Hills has also introduced an initiative to give consumers a greater sense of location of its vines, without the restriction of geography. The “Adopt a Vine” project aims to bring the consumer closer to the winemaking process by creating a connection with the plant, fruit and bottled result via a Google Maps satellite view of selected vine blocks that consumers may adopt and follow.

As vines develop, adopters receive email updates to view the progress of their vines online. They are informed of factors influencing vine development such as pest control, pruning and the weather, as the vine – and eventually the wine – is gradually shaped by nature and human intervention.

The project will also help educate consumers about the protection of the endangered renosterveld, an important family of indigenous plants on member farms and in the immediate vicinity of the winery.

For further information contact the Durbanville Hills cellar on or telephone number (021) 558 1300.
Engage with Durbanville Hills through its social media platforms – visit the Facebook page or follow cellar master Martin Moore on Twitter: @Martin_Moore

The full list of gold awards received is as follows:
Veritas 2012:
·         Double Gold: Durbanville Hills Chardonnay 2011

·         Gold: Durbanville Hills Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc 2012
·         Gold: Durbanville Hills Luipaardsberg Merlot 2010
·         Gold: Durbanville Hills Luipaardsberg Merlot 2009

China Wine Awards:
·         Double Gold: Rhinofields Merlot 2009

·         Gold: Durbanville Hills Pinotage 2010

·         Gold: Rhinofields Chardonnay 2010