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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rupert & Rothschild Classic Western Cape Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010 90 Points



R&R is a partnership in wine production between Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Anthonij Rupert on the historic French Huguenot farm Fredericksburg established more than 300 years ago In  1690.

Ruby red with garnet reflection toward the rim with brown rim.
Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe blueberry plums cassis hints of blackcurrants earthy stony complexity subtle spicy oak, toast,  smoky,  complex and layered.

Dry with dash residual sugar, juicy, moderate acidity fresh, crisp profile delicate extraction much elegant than in previous vintages moderate alcohol of 13% abv a bonus, a move to be applauded for the winemaking team who have change from the big blockbusters high to very high alcohol of the past, see my previous blog post , tobacco, herbal crunchy ripe tannins.

Villa Travignoli Chianti Rufina DOCG 2010 87 points



Ruby red with garnet reflection toward the rim
Clean moderate plus intensity dark plums earthy rustic nose with old barrels influence spicy, almondy
Dry with moderate plus acidity, fresh moderate plus tannins firm grip savoury moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv quite warming though, delicately juicy  spicy farewell.
From Caroline Fine Wine in Cape Town.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay 2011 92 Points



Pale straw with yellow reflections.
Clean, moderate intensity, stony white fruits, lemony/citrus, hints of honey, brush of oak, light toast, good clarity.

Dry with high acidity, fresh, nutty, honeyed mid palate with tangerine and orange blossom complexity, moderate alcohol of 13% abv, mineral core, embryonic, need time to unfold, best revisited in 2015+, until 2021+

Pepin conde Elgin Pinot Noir 2011 89 Points



Ruby red with garnet reflection toward the rim
Clean, delicately ripe, subtle cherries strawberry, mushroom, earthy note, minimal oaking
Dry, ripe juicy texture, warming glow due to high alcohol of 14% abv, moderate plus acidity, fresh, charming, full style. Now until 2018

Glen Carlou Paarl Chardonnay 2010 85 Points



Pale gold with yellow green reflections.
Clean, moderate intensity, showing development with honeyed citrus note, green pineapples, barley, stony mineral, good purity.

Dry with dash residual sugar, delicate, toasty citrus texture, moderate acidity, fresh and elegant, a certain firmness, full bodied with high alcohol of 14% abv, fruits still primary, holding well. Now until 2018+

Avondale La Luna Paarl 2006 91 Points



Bordeaux style blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 20% Petit Verdot, Medoc like with lots of graphite and cedar wood, shadowing at present the ripe blackcurrant and cassis fruits, elegant, savory with persistent minty note, juicy, seamless ripe tannins integartion, persistent lenght.

Bouchard Finlayson Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pinot Noir 2011 93 Points



Latest released Pinot from another established South African producer, sporting for the first time wine of origin Hemel-en-Aarde, all previous vintages were wine of origin Walker Bay.

There are move to see all future releases sporting Hemel-en-Aarde as a point of differentiation, so expect to see the Missionvale Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as being more site / ward specific, whereas the Kaaimansgat Chardonnay will remain Overberg wine of origin, as well as the use of Estate status on the label, going forward.

2011 exhibits a ruby red with garnet hue, brown towards the rim, less dark than in previous vintages.

Clean, high intensity, riper side of Pinot, seductive note of dark sour cherries in eau de vie, strawberry jam, orange peel complexity, earthy brush, excellent purity of fruit with subtle spicy oak, lending cedar wood and tobacco ash note, alcohol slightly noticeable!

Dry with high racy acidity, crisp and linear, very good precision, laser beam like, lots of energy here, delicate extraction, with firm crunchy ripe tannins on the high side, sappy, savoury with leathery complexity on texture, vibrant, with lots of mid palate stuffing, full bodied, the alcohol is high at 14% abv, but smartly integrated, using previous vintages as a guide, surprisingly this bottle is approachable already, yet have stamina for long term development, now until 2027+

Springfield Estate Whole Berry Robertson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 90 Points



New addition in the Springfield Estate stables, now in 500ml sleek bottle, perfect for a couple dining out, without having to worry about road block / drink and driving!

As name suggest this is an unfiltered and unfined whole berry, natural yeasts fermented Cabernet, with no pump overs, the aim is to be as gentle as possible.

Ruby red with slight garnet hue and brown towards the rim.

Clean, textbook Cabernet fruit with ripe blackcurrant, cassis and blueberry, excellent purity of fruit with stony complexity, subtle oaking with delicate graphite and cedar wood note.

Dry with dash residual sugar, juicy, plush ripe tannins on the medium plus side, savoury, moderate plus acidity, fresh and lively with lots of energy, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, shows it is possible to achieve very good ripeness in a warm region, without pushing the alcohol, hence friendly at the table.
Long and persistent, drinking very well now and until +/- 2019.

Springfield Estate Life from Stone Robertson Sauvignon Blanc 2012 90+ Points



New addition in the Springfield Estate stables, now in 500ml sleek bottle, perfect for a couple dining out, without having to worry about road block / drink and driving!

A characterful and concentrated Sauvignon grown on extremely rocky, calcareous soil, 70% quartz base.

Pale straw with yellow reflections towards the rim.

Clean, highly expressive, ripe Sauvignon with sweaty melon and green guava note, bursting with gooseberries, citrus and grassy note, mineral stony core evident, complex layers, one of most intringuing aromatics I could recall from the life from stone bottling.

Dry with dash residual sugar, juicy and round with moderate plus acidity, saline mineral, fresh and elegant with near perfect alcohol of 12.5% abv, racy, spicy texture, peppery, long and persistent. Now until 2015+. Charming. This is by far the finest expression of Sauvignon Blanc from Robertson district.

Fattoria Coroncino Il Coroncino 2009 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore 92 Points


Fattoria Coroncino Il Coroncino 2009 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore 92 Points

100% Verdicchio, one of my favourite grape, love it because of the high acidity and how it expresses minerality.Pale gold with green reflections.

Clean, high intensity, ripe style with an intriguing smoky, flinty character kind of a cross between an aged vintage blanc de blancs Champagne and a Meursault from a top producer with some bottle age! Ripe, toasty, nutty complexity with subtle spicy oaking.

Dry, rich and concentrated with high acidity, delicately juicy, mineral, full bodied with high alcohol of 14% abv, smartly integrated, plush feel, long and persistent, a fantastic bottle.
Thank you Tim & Vaughan Pearson

Wildekrans Estate Barrel Selection Bot River Chenin Blanc 2010 75 Points



Pale straw with yellow reflections.
Clean, delicate citrus, peach and appley note, botrytis evident not fully integrated, honeyed nutty note, spicy dusty oak.

Dry with residual sugar, botrytis follows through on palate, not totally integrated, low plus acidity, unusual for this variety probably harvested too late with resultant very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, lending a warm farewell, could do with more natural acidity

Blaauwklippen Noble Late Harvest Stellenbosch Zinfandel 2009 78 Points



Unusual offerings a late harvested Zinfandel showing dark garnet with brown rim.
Clean, not much botrytis character, porty note with raisin character, cooked plums in sugar, spicy camphor note, tobacco ash, treacle and hints of sweet molasses.

Sweet with plum juice note, raisin note follows through, Christmas fruitcake richness, low acidity, delicate oaking, low alcohol of 10% abv, could do with more natural acidity, missing focus

Thread Lightly by Backsberg Western Cape Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 82 points



Packaged in a PET bottle.

Discovered on a BA flight to Cape Town, dark, expressive of variety, richly textured with concentrated juicy blackcurrant, cassis, blueberries, warm profile with possibly high alcohol of over 14% abv? further magnifiedby the altitude effect, full bodied, creamy tannins, moderate acidity, fresh, some residual sugar, well made.

Hartenberg kicks off 2013 Tapas and Jazz with Manouche




Saturday, 23 February 2013: 17h00 – 20h00

Join Hartenberg Wine Estate for a fun-filled evening of gypsy swing on Saturday, 23 February 2013 when they kick off their Tapas and Jazz season with the ever popular band Manouche, in the heart of the captivating Stellenbosch Winelands.

The very talented Manouche, known for their funky foot tapping and hip-swinging jazz sounds, will wow guests from 17h00 – 20h00 with a combination of original material and a great selection of classic favourites.

The price per person is R75 including a glass of Hartenberg wine. Tapas platters are available at between R10 and R60 and additional wine can be purchased at cellar door prices.
For bookings, call Tel: (+27)21-8652541, Email: Email or visit Hartenberg Estate You can also purchase your tickets through Webtickets
Hartenberg Estate is situated on the Bottelary Road off the R304 to Stellenbosch.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Badsberg Badslese Breedekloof Natural Sweet 2009 92+ Points



Deep gold.
Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe peaches, tangerine peel, honeyed complexity, nutty, impressive purity of fruit, spicy.

Sweet with moderate plus acidity, fresh, rich and concentrated, kind of lighter version Vin de Constance, glossy texture, perfect alcohol of 12% abv, long and persistent. 3200 bottles produced.

Slanghoek Cellar Private Selection Creme de Chenin Natural Sweet 2010 89 Points



Bright, pale gold with yellow reflections.
Clean, moderate plus intensity, some botrytis note evident, glace stone fruit, peaches, good purity of fruit, nutty American oak? light toast and orange peel complexity.

Sweet yet not cloying, juicy, bold, creamy texture, moderate acidity, fresh, elegant profile, well made, with moderate alcohol of 13% abv.

Wagenboom Arborea Breedekloof 2010 87 Points



A Pinotage driven blend with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon

Ruby red, bright, translucent with brown rim, starting to show evolution.
Clean, moderate plus intensity, red berries, bon-bon note, good purity, subtle spice.

Dry with dash residual sugar, moderate acidity, fresh, elegant, good alcohol integration though high at 14% abv, crunchy ripe tannins, savoury texture, black olivey note.

Bergsig Estate Icarus Breedekloof Cabernet Sauvignon Touriga Nacional 2010 84 Points



Ruby red with garnet hue, brown rim, showing evolution.
Clean, moderate plus intensity, delicate plums, stony, earthy note, oaky.

Dry with dash residual sugar, savoury, moderate acidity, good depth, powerful structure, yet there is vibrancy, if only the very high alcohol of 14.5% abv could have been less, this would be a far more exciting wine with good drinkability!

Uniwines Vineyards Ankerman Nectar de Provision 83 Points



A Colombard fortified with brandy dessert wine, showing pale gold with yellow reflections.
Clean, intense nutty note, Scotch whisky like with orange peel complexity, pure and rich, spirity, fiery note, full style but lacks natural acidity for better focus, promising style to follow future releases!

Opstal Breedekloof Chardonnay Barrel Dessert 2011 82 Points



Chardonnay fortified with brandy, quite Drambuie like with orange peel and herbal note.
Rich, glossy honey spirity note, pure, long lenght, but could do with more natural acidity!

Botha Kelder Breedekloof Shiraz 2011 74 Points



Good clarity, ruby red with slight garnet edge.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe plums and blackberries, dusty oak.
Dry with dash residual sugar, moderate acidity, fresh, juicy, delicate extraction, very high alcohol of 14.5% abv giving a warm farewell.

Seven Oaks 6+1 Breedekloof Pinotage 2009 79 Points



Garnet with brown rim, showing development.

Clean, unmistakebly Pinotage, good purity of fruit, spicy.

Dry with residual sugar, sour cherries note, moderate acidity, fresh, plush tannins moderate in texture, soapy note, very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, makes drinkability arduous!

Mountain Ridge Western Cape Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 82 Points



Bright, garnet with brown rim, showing premature development.
Clean, moderate intensity, Cabernet austerity evident, blackcurrant jam, old barrel influence, alcohol noticeable.

Dry with dash of residual sugar, plush tannins, low acidity, fresh, juicy, quite elegant with lead pencil complexity, graphite on texture, irresponsible alcohol level though, very very high at 15% abv, a meal in itself!

Groot Eiland Shiraz Pinotage 2011 73 Points



Bright ruby red, translucent.
Clean, moderate intensity, tad soapy, delicately ripe red cherries, subtle earthy note, minimal oaking.
Dry with dash residual sugar, moderate acidity, fresh, tannins are tight though with slight overextraction on texture, uncomplicated, everyday drinking style!

Valentine’s Day rosé tasting with spectacular views at Constantia Glen




Constantia Glen Rose

Treat your Valentine to one of the jewels of the Constantia Valley and visit Constantia Glen for an unforgettable day of fine wines and breathtaking, outstretched views, just 20 minutes from Cape Town.

Adding a romantic twist, the tasting room at this lush wine estate will have a special pairing of the 2012 Constantia Saddle Rosé with succulent strawberries on Valentine's Day. Crisp and fresh with a rich, juicy palate, this sumptuous rosé is a gorgeous wine filled with a hint of strawberries, salmon hues, aromas of  red summer fruits and strong citrus notes that capture the freshness and minerality so often associated with fruit from cool-climate vineyards.

The full Constantia Glen wine tasting experience and irresistible platters of cheese and charcuterie will also be on offer, as well as special Valentine’s Day wine offers if you want to stock up your private collection. The recently launched 2012 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc will be available at the wine club price of R85 when you purchase a case of six on the day. The 2008 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc will be available at R75 and the 2012 Constantia Saddle Rosé at R500 per case.

Known above all for cool climate Sauvignon Blancs and Bordeaux-style reds, the Constantia Glen tasting room 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 7956100, email wine@constantiaglen.co.za visit www.constantiaglen.com or www.facebook.com/ConstantiaGlen for further information. The GPS co-ordinates are S 34º 0’39.6” E 18º 24’30.6”.

Goudini Shiraz NV 77 Points



Ruby red with slight pruple rim.
Clean, Old World restraint, delicately ripe plums, earthy brush, minimal oaking.
Dry with moderate acidity, fresh, taste oakier on texture than perceive on nose, probably oak chips, slight hard tannins, crunchy, but good extraction though, elegant, savoury, honest style, uncomplicated, best served lightly chilled.

Fleur du Cap salt pairing dinner returns to Die Bergkelder





Fleur du Cap White Blend

Friday, 15 March 2013
Discover the unusual combination of Fleur du Cap wines and artisanal salts from around the world when salt aficionado, Chef Craig Cormack returns to Die Bergkelder, the famous ‘cellar in the mountain’ in Stellenbosch with one of his unique dinner experiences on Friday, 15 March.

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

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

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

Die Bergkelder’s, daily Fleur du Cap and Salt tasting experiences cost R100 per person, whilst the Fleur du Cap and Salt Dinner taking place on Friday, 15 March at 18h30, costs R290 per person. Booking is essential, contact Nadia Ferreira on Tel: 021 809 8025.

For more information visit www.fleurducap.co.za fleurducap.tumblr.com or join the Fleur du Cap Facebook community.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tempt your Valentine at Simonsig Estate’s Cuvée restaurant




Supercharge your pulse rate on Valentine’s Day with seductive dishes at Simonsig Wine Estate’s signature restaurant, Cuvée, the perfect place to treat your loved one to an invigorating 5-course feast in the heart of the Stellenbosch winelands.

Cuvée’s Valentine’s Menu is a six course love affair of sensual and tasty indulgences. To set the mood, fresh oysters and a cucumber, seaweed and chili sorbet served with Kaapse Vonkel is followed by invigorating white gazpacho of almonds and grapes paired with Simonsig Chardonnay. Fish lovers can indulge in lovely pomegranate cured salmon with cucumber and honey soy dressing. Let the crisp Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc tease your tastebuds before Cuvée’s Ginseng Refresher will cool things down. A glass of Simonsig Pinotage with a succulent serving of sirloin with spinach, confit garlic and black truffle jus is sure to be the highlight of the evening that will end on a sweet note with indulgent dark chocolate tart, strawberry truffle, banana ripple ice cream and figs. 

Cuvée’s Valentine’s Dinner starts at 19h00 on Thursday, 14 February and costs R 385 per person, which includes a glass of wine to complement each course. Bookings for this special evening are essential. Contact Cuvée restaurant at Tel: (021) 888 4932 or send an Email to reserve your table.

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

Live Le Good Life at The House of J.C. Le Roux on Valentine’s Day



JC Le Roux Valentines Tastings

Add some sparkle with Le Good Life on Valentine’s Day with bubbly pairings of seductive delights at The House of J.C. Le Roux.

With a glamorous new look and chic new additions to South Africa’s leading home of sparkling wine, you and your beloved can indulge in the famous J.C. Le Roux trio of La Vallée Rosé, La Fleurette and La Chanson paired with sweet delights.

J.C. Le Roux La Vallée Rosé is a refreshing Cap Classique that suits all palates. This stylish Rosé complements any occasion and is an ideal choice for those who prefer the elegance of a fine Cap Classique with just a hint of sweetness. The flirtatious La Fleurette perfectly balances freshness and sweetness with its playful palate of sweet strawberry and sensual plum flavours, combined with the richness of Muscat. Romantic and lively, J.C. Le Roux La Chanson reveals a delightful mélange of sweet, fruity flavours suggesting hints of strawberry and plum.

After this romantic tasting, be sure to extend your stay at Le Venue, the new signature restaurant at The House of J.C. Le Roux open for breakfast and lunch with an inviting al fresco deck.

The special Valentine’s Day sweet treat experience costs R30 per person. Booking is essential, phone 021-865 8200.

The House of J.C. Le Roux, situated in the Devon Valley in the heart of the Stellenbosch Winelands, is open seven days a week. Le Venue is open from 09h00 till 16h00 with breakfast served between 09h00 and 11h00 and lunch from 12h00 till 15h00.

Visit www.jcleroux.co.za or www.facebook.com/HouseofJCLeroux

Badsberg Breedekloof Chardonnay Sur Lie 2012 81Points



Pale straw with yellow reflections.
Clean, moderate intensity, ripe style with lots of stone fruits, muck spice derived from 5 months on lees in new oak, good purity of fruit, delicate.

Dry with dash residual sugar, moderate acidity, fresh, full style, tad oaky on texture, may probably integrate with time, slight phenolic note, rich, showy profile.

Wagenboom Breedekloof Sauvignon Blanc 2012 74 Points



Pale straw with green reflections.
Clean, shy, austere, not much varietal character, probably burn off by the heat or harvested too late (13% abv).
Fresh, textured, quite weighty, juicy, more dry white wine than Sauvignon Blanc.Drink now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Steenberg 1682 Western Cape Chardonnay 2011 MCC Brut 92 Points


Pale straw with yellow reflections.
Clean, moderate intensity, delicate citrus medley, Chardonnay austerity evident, striking purity, sandy mineral, brush of oak, light toast, subtle layers of complexity.

Dry with high acidity, linear, citric freshness, precise, racy, lots of energy, salty tang, mineral thread follows through, persistent, long length.
An impressive Methode Cap Classique, overdelivers on price point, focus style, one of South Africa’s finest.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Opstal Breedekloof Sauvignon Blanc Sec Sparkling Wine 78 Points



A straight forward crisp and generous method charmat dry sparkling wine with a generous dash of sugar, not far from a Prosecco level of sweetness, zesty fizz, clean, grassy, herbaceous, floral, hints of honey on mid palate, peppery spice, fresh, broad, none of hot climate Sauvignon aggressiveness, excellent as an aperitif anytime of the day, honest style.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Slanghoek Private Collection Slanghoek Chenin Blanc 2012 85 Points



Pale straw with yellow reflections.
Clean, delicate apples, citrus zest, good purity of fruit.
Dry with brush residual sugar, juicy, moderate acidity, fresh, elegant with spicy texture, some mineral, near perfect 12.5% abv, gentle, perfect for leisurely lunchtime sipping!, good length, well made

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Take a Cue from the World of Wine



Republished with author's permission from original post by Louis Foong and Customerthink
An article I was asked to contribute an insight into the world of wine buying from a consumer perspective


Content Curation for B2B Marketing: Part Two

Posted by Louis Foong on January 22, 2013


Continuing this three-part series, I’m keeping my word from last week’s post where I talked about what content curation should and should not be. So this week I bring to you some more tips on content curation taking ideas from the fascinating world of wines. I love wine, and have had the opportunity to taste some of the finest ones on my many travels. I can’t say I’m an expert however, but I do know someone who is, and a recognized one at that.

My nephew, Miguel Chan, is a wine expert—a Certified Sommelier in Johannesburg, South Africa. This young man has a good number of awards and recognition to his name. If you are a wine lover and eager to know about some of the best wines from around the world, do read Miguel’s blog or Wine Journal as he calls it.

I asked Miguel recently if he had some useful tips on how to taste, pick and buy wine. The wealth of knowledge and interesting information he shared with me is what has inspired this blog post. It triggered in my mind the idea that B2B marketers can learn and apply so much from the world of wine to make content curation an effective and enjoyable experience. Hope you enjoy reading this.

6 Tips on B2B Content Curation—and words of advice from a World-Class Sommelier

1. Understand the broad categories, then dig deeper: Sommelier Chan says that buying wine can be a daunting task for many, yet this should be really be as easy as buying groceries. But then if you consider the fact that there are over 45 countries growing grapes and close to 60,000 wine brands worldwide, it’s easy to imagine why a novice may feel lost. The problem is that the so called wine experts of the 70′s and 80′s have manipulated, complicated and glorified the subject of wine.

Miguel points out that for anyone new, it is merely embarking on the journey he likes to call “discovering fermented grape juice”—that’s really what wine is. You need to start by understanding that there are 6 basic categories of wines: sparkling, white, rose, red, fortified (e.g. Port or Sherry) and aromatized wines (Vermouth) with further sub-categories such as dry, off dry, semi sweet or sweet. Once you know where to start, you can narrow your search down and find what you like.

This is exactly how a B2B marketer should approach content curation. Begin by understanding that you can’t buy the whole Bodega; and you don’t need to. Just as you segment your target audience (I hope you do!), you can categorize the various content sources available to you into broad categories and then match your audience preferences to what each category offers. Knowing where to look is the first step to finding the right content that will deliver your message and help engage your prospects and customers.

2. Trust your taste: Don’t be swayed by anyone telling you what is right or wrong with a wine, says Miguel. Make your own judgment by tasting wines when you have the opportunity, and try to visit wineries if you are in a wine region. A fun way is to experience a well-stocked wine bar, order taster portions and compare glasses side by side to see what you like. Then enjoy a generous glass thereafter!

In a restaurant environment, choose what you would like to drink and select your menu accordingly. If there is a sommelier on duty, go ahead and ask for advice. A good sommelier is never the one trying to sell you obscure or the most expensive wines on the list, or intimidating you with “expert knowledge”. He or she will first listen to your need, ask about your tastes, what you are willing to spend, and above all, what type of meal you are eating in order to make a suitable recommendation.

As a marketer, you should be regularly in touch with your customers and leads to know what their “tastes” are. Plus, if you do that critical exercise of putting yourself in the customers’ shoes, their taste becomes your own. No matter what content marketing experts, writers, SEO experts and social media gurus may tell you about what will create buzz and drive traffic, trust your own knowledge and taste. The content you curate and create is a strong reflection of your brand personality so it’s not worth the risk to put out pieces that clash with this position you have so carefully built—even if the experts tell you it is sexy! A real expert is one who can match your business and lead generation objectives to your content marketing and content curation strategy.

3. Define your budget and make a shortlist: You can buy a full-bodied red like the Wolftrap (from South Africa) for under $15 or you can pay close to $3000 for a Petrus (French Bordeaux). Needless to say, if you’re shopping for wine, you need to have a budget in mind. Well, at least the average wine buyer should. Does expensive mean better? Definitely not, according to Miguel, “many wine prices are simply driven by marketing, yet are often just average quality.”

A lesson here again for content curation. Many paid and free resources are available to pick and choose from. Going back to my post from last week, let me remind you that simply link sharing (or spraying) is not meaningful. So your budget must include any costs of sourcing valuable content plus the time, effort and cost associated with tailoring that to your audience and adding your perspectives, annotations, etc.

 4. Check credentials and find the best value: When shopping in a wine store, Miguel’s advice is to look for medal stickers awarded by respected publications such as Wine Spectator, Decanter, Robert Parker to name a few. Nowadays, you can also download their apps for a quick check on your smart phone. This will simplify the task as the wines have been scrutinized and rewarded accordingly by some of the world’s best tasters. “Now choose”, says Miguel, “and believe me, 9 out of 10 times you should be spot on!” The other method he advises is to seek the “best buy” / “best value” tag. “Very often there are some true gems to discover at a fraction of the price of fine wines, simply because wine quality worldwide has never been higher than it is right now.” Well, I am certainly thrilled to hear that!

Cue for us marketers: Check credentials of content providers—there’s a rash of them out there. Read reviews, check for authenticity of content, watch for compliance of copyright law, look for Creative Commons licensing where relevant, and whatever, you do, if you are not convinced about the credibility of content you plan to share, know for sure that your audience won’t be either.

 5. Be versatile: Whether you are in a retail shop or a restaurant, when in doubt, search for “wines of compromise”, advises Miguel, e.g. a Rose or any quality bottle of fermented sparkling wine. These are versatile with a broad variety of food and should make everyone happy.

Now, in the context of B2B marketing and content curation, we know that we never aim to please everyone. So let’s not jump to the conclusion that any “content of compromise” type of piece will work when you don’t know what else will. But, it is possible to find, from time to time, interesting content that will go down well with a majority of your target audience, across various categories and segments. It could be something as simple as a cartoon, an industry infographic, a survey report, or benchmark study. These are quick to read and make for interesting reading. You can use them as fillers or even just to break the monotony of deep, detailed, “heavy” content—everyone needs to get on the lighter side of things once in a while.

 6. Seek, experiment and enjoy: I love this last tip from my nephew: “In vino veritas (the truth is in the wine); so go out and seek, experiment; it’s a wonderful world out there.”

Indeed it is, don’t you agree? I mean, just look at how the Internet has changed our lives. We get information on anything under the sun, and I mean anything, on the go! And that makes it even more important for us to ensure that as B2B marketers, we are very selective, very strategic and very smart about content marketing. We must seek fresh, unique and meaningful content and experiment with it, but in a strategic manner. Content curation is a great tool, if we learn how to use it the right way. The “waiter’s friend” or sommelier’s knife is a corkscrew that is used to open a bottle of wine, but if you do not know how to use it, you will likely break the cork when drawing it out from the bottle. You don’t want to “break the bottle” during content curation.

Next week we will look at some leading content curation tools that you can consider adding to your lead generation toolkit. Hope you are enjoying these posts. Please email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827 if you have questions or any experiences to share about content curation.
Republished with author's permission from original post by Louis Foong.

Louis Foong

Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc, one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. As a thought leader with more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis guides his team and ALEA’s clients through the dynamic, evolving lead generation landscape.

Categories: Digital Marketing

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir 2009 92+ Points



Hamilton Russell Vineyards Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir have shown an unequalled consistency over the last 3 decades, not only as South Africa uncontested leader or the New World at large, but in the arena of the world's finest Pinot Noir, yes including Burgundy!

Proprietor Anthony Hamilton Russell convictions and belief in his unique terroir, his greatest assets, have convinced even the most arduous skeptics, i.e die hard Burgundy expert, it is possible to make compelling, world class Pinot Noir at the southern tip pf Africa, showcasing restraint yet sensual, purity, pin point freshness and laser precision at less than a  fifth of the price (current release) of a top rated Grand Cru, 12000 km south of Burgundy, but most important of all a Pinot Noir with an unmitigated sense of place, the terroir is whispering to you from the glass.

With the current 2010 recently acknowledge by Robert Parker Wine Advocate, reviewed by Neil Martin, to be the first ever South African Pinot Noir to reach the magical 95 Points, I though let's see how the 2009 is developing, hence serving it to a customer last night.

Bright, cherry red with slight purple rim, still youthful, but starting to evolved.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, delicately ripe crunchy cherries, plums, cranberries, mineral burst with spicy subtle oaking, brush of cedar wood with an almost flinty smoky note.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, lots of energy, sappy freshness, moderate tannins lending just the perfect tightness, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, savoury, mineral follows through, saline, need time, best revisited in 2015, should peak around 2022+

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Muratie Estate George Paul Canitz Stellenbosch Pinot Noir 2010 80 Points



Muratie Estate was the first ever grower of Pinot Noir in South Africa, in the 1920's, owned then by George Paul Canitz, back then probably it was the BK 5 Swiss clone rather than the more common and in a way fashionable Dijon Clone, which started appearing in the 80's!

Quite dark color for a Pinot Noir, with a garnet hue with brown rim

Clean, moderate plus intensity, very ripe plums, currants, strawberry jam, spicy, peppery, earthy dusty core with hints of dried orange peel, alcohol noticeable.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, fresh, with firm tannic grip, slightly on the extracted side of a Pinot, full bodied and warming with very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, not fully integrated, I doubt it will be with time, long and savory. Now until 2020.

Spier Private Collection Stellenbosch Pinotage 2008 77 Points



Dark ruby red with cerise / purple rim.

Clean, charry and toasty element shadowing ripe plums and blueberry note, spicy and earthy with intriguing hints of nutty nougat, soapy layers.

Dry with a dash residual sugar, moderate plus acidity, fresh, ripe moderate tannins, quite juicy and savoury, high alcohol of 14% abv noticeable though, spicy farewell. Drink now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vergelegen GVB 2010 93 Points



One of South Africa's finest expression of a Bordeaux style white blends leaning towards Graves in profile, a clever blend of 59% Semillon and 41% Sauvignon Blanc, raised in 500 litres cask, crunchy gooseberries, passion fruit, hints of blackcurrant leaves, peppery, flinty mineral, dense texture yet precise and linear, impressive purity, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, best from 2015 up to 2023+

Vergelegen GVB Stellenbosch 2005 93 Points



This is as close to a good second growth Pauillac it will get in South Africa's, expressive personality, yet at the same time have just the perfect restraint, delicate red fruits, fresh and elegant with graphite, cigar box and leather complexity, starting to open will reward sophisticated drinking until 2018+. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon with 16% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc.

Vergelegen Stellenbosch DNA 2006 90 Points



Latest addition to the Vergelegen stables, a St-Emilion inspired Cabernet Franc driven blend at 60% with 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, showing blackcurrant, leafy peppery note with tomato leaf character, hints of red bell pepper, spicy and bold with plush tannins, elegant profile with delicate extraction, fresh with hints of graphite on farewell with high alcohol of 14% abv noticeable.

Vergelegen Stellenbosch Shiraz Reserve 2007 92 Points



Riper and sweeter than mainstream offering, bold structurre with dark plums, spicy medley, earthy and dense, yet savoury with black olives note, still lots of fruit for a 2007, barely touching secondary development, showy without being overdone!

Vergelegen Stellenbosch Shiraz 2009 90 Points



Re-tasting this wine after missing a few vintages reminds me how fantastic this wine is, more Syrah than Shiraz in style, fragrant, ripe mulberries and plums, earthy complexity with rosemary herbs, delicate extraction, juicy, plush tannins, fresh and elegant, minty note with an intriguing Islay Malt kind of peaty spiciness and richness!

Vergelegen Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006 90 Points



Showing Cabernet austerity with delicate blackcurrant and cassis, peppery spice, plush texture with savory note, camphor, complex graphite, need time, best revisited in 2014+

Vergelegen Stellenbosch Chardonnay Reserve 2010 92 Points



Burgundian profiling, kind of Meursault cross Puligny, bright lemony note with ripe peaches, buttery texture, mineral depth, persistent.

Vergelegen Coastal Region Chardonnay 2011 90 Points



Citrus burst, stone fruit, saline mineral, toast, brush of matchstick complexity, lively and fresh, very good acid, delicate, long and persistent. Blend of predominantly Darling, plus own fruit.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hartenberg vertical tasting captures 20 years of winemaking with Carl Schultz



Wednesday, 30 January to Sunday, 3 February daily at the Estate


Hartenberg Gravel Hill

Join Hartenberg Wine Estate from Wednesday, 30 January to Sunday, 3 February during this year’s Stellenbosch Wine Festival and celebrate winemaker Carl Schultz’s 20th harvest with rare vertical tastings of the flagship single vineyard Hartenberg Gravel Hill Shiraz.

As one of South Africa’s oldest Shiraz producers, Hartenberg enjoys wide acclaim for its exceptional terroir and Carl’s masterly ability to work with this variety. Shiraz lovers can look forward to comparing different vintages of this single vineyard Gravel Hill Shiraz.

Alternatively, Hartenberg invites Wine Festival goers to an authentic winelands picnic experience in the estate’s picturesque garden. Picnic baskets will be filled with local culinary delights from Hartenberg’s kitchen baked farm bread, perfect with Eleanor’s famous snoek pate, to a rich combination of terrines. Rosemary focaccia, delivered daily by a local family owned bakery and delicious salads dressed in a neighbour’s olive oil will add to the selection of delicious picnic treats.

To avoid disappointment, Shiraz lovers should book now for the Single Vineyard Shiraz Tastings available at R 50 per person, offered daily from Wednesday, 30 January to Sunday, 3 February by calling (+27) 21-8652541 or e-mailing Email The picnics at R145 per adult include a carafe of Hartenberg wine and are served seven days a week between 12h00 and 14h00. Children’s picnic basket available at R45.

To taste the full range of Hartenberg and other Stellenbosch wines, be sure to visit the three-day Stellenbosch Wine Festival Expo at Die Braak, the town’s famous grassy square, from 1 to 3 February 2013. For more info visit Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Hartenberg Wine Estate is situated on the Bottelary Road (M23) off the R304 to Stellenbosch.

Vergelegen Stellenbosch Single vineyard Schaapenberg Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011 92 Points



From a 2.5 ha single vineyard, by far considered the finest expression of Sauvignon Blanc in Helderberg and firmly in one of South Africa's top 25 bottling of the variety with an impressive track record of longevity and fine development in bottle, in fact it is a style that reward drinking 4 to 5 years after vintage, earlier than that it can be pretty unyielding.

Fresh mineral core, flinty, Sancerre like, precise acidity with crunchy delicate gooseberry and lime, linear, best revisited from 2015+

Vergelegen Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2011 89 Points



Sweet peas, citrus and gooseberry, fresh with a delicate mineral core, peppery spice, crunchy profile, broad texture, drink now.

Vergelegen Brut MMV Stellenbosch 2008 93 Points



The best kept secret of the Helderberg a 41% Pinot Noir and 59% Chardonnay, spending a minimum of 42 months on the lees prior to degorgement, total production of only 5100 bottles.
Bready complexity with laser precision, citrus burst, lemon tart, fresh and lively, mineral textured, long and persistent.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kanonkop Estate Simonsberg Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 92 Points



Cherry red with slight brown rim.

Clean, high intensity, very good Cabernet fruit definition, blackcurrant, cassis and blackberries, complex earthy note, fragrant oak lending cedar wood, tobacco character, spicy and toasty.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, fresh with elegant extraction, textural complexity with lots of mid palate stuffing, graphite, long lenght.

Classy Cabernet, amongst South Africa's finest and most consistent of the last decade, experience have shown one need to be patient with Kanonkop Cabernet, unforgiving and unyielding in their youth, need at least 4 years in bottle after release, to start understanding and enjoying it's real attribute. Now until 2024+

Morgenster Estate Stellenbosch 2008 85 Points



Garnet with brown rim, showing advanced evolution for a 5 year old red blends.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe raspberries, leafy and herbaceous with floral perfume note, tea leaf, chalky mineral, tobacco and cigar note with integrated cedary oak character.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, medium plus ripe tannins, full bodied with very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, smartly integrated, good purity of fruit, persistent cedary note, will be interesting to see it's future development! now until 2020.

Blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Morgenster Lourens River Valley Stellenbosch 2001 82+ Points



Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

Garnet, showing age with some sediment.
Clean, high intensity, earthy, cedary, forest floor with notes of red fruits in kirsch, stony, brush of vanilla note.

Dry with moderate acidity, fresh and elegant, tea leaf and tobacco note, fine evolution at it's peak now, graphite element, tertiary texture, now until 2015

Morgenster Louresn River Valley Stellenbosch 2006 82 Points



Garnet with some sediment

Clean,  high intensity, confit red fruits, earthy with oak still present.

Dry, juicy, plush tannins, intense roasted coffee beans on texture, moderate acidity, fresh, powerful style and full bodied, with so much saturated red fruits, concentrated, spicy, peppery farewell with savory complexity, long lenght, alcohol noticeable and very high at 14.5% abv.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Carillonade Bordeaux AOC 2009 78+ Points



Cherry ruby red.

Clean, moderate intensity, recognizable as a Bordeaux! delicate cassis, blackberries, currants, hints of stony character, old oak influence.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, fresh perfect ripeness, structure dominated by astringent tannins, which might or might not integrate as the fruit profile is subtle, savory, salty plums, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv. Now until 2015

Available at Checkers Hyper for R 44!/bottle, by far the unsexiest offering of their well though and great value international offerings, like in anything else there will always be a bad apples in the party!

Produced by Vignerons de Guitres.

Nabygelegen Seventeen Twelve Wellington 2007 89+ Points



Considering than many fine SA Bordeaux style blends are from Stellenbosch and Paarl, this sexy number a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot from Wellington is one of the best kept secret of the wine lands, a must try by all means, and still affordable!

Cherry red with garnet rim, showing evolution.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, fragrant, blackcurrant, cassis, ripe plums, peppery, dark earthy note, cedar oak, brush of vanilla.

Dry, with serious fruit concentration giving an impression of sucrosity, moderate acidity, fresh, firm structure with good ripe tannic grip, peppery note follows through, alcohol is high at 14% abv, but well integrated, slight over extraction,savory, juicy black olives, persistent.

Showing good development, now until 2020

Zevenwacht The Tin Mine Stellenbosch 2009 86 Points





Intriguing blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache Noir and Primitivo.

Ruby red with slight purple rim.

Clean, high intensity, ripe red fruits medley, peppery, spicy with leathery character, pure fruited, hints  of almonds milk, integrated oak.

Dry with dash residual sugar, juicy and powerful, richly structured, fresh with moderate acidity, black olives character, alcohol is very high though at 14.5% abv, noticeable with slight chest burn, massage tannins, good lenght, has personality!

Remhoogte Estate Bonne Nouvelle Simonsberg Stellenbosch Cape Blend 

Garnet with brown rim.

Clean, high intensity, super ripe dark red fruit, blackberry compote, dark plums, cassis, iron ore, earthy core with tobacco and cigar note.

Dry with concentrated fruit structure lending an impression of sucrosity, rich and powerful, low plus acidity, juicy, very very high alcohol of 15% abv noticeable, mouth coating ripe tannic structure, perhaps been opened too early ? but color shows evolution?

A meal in itself, quite challenging to pair with even the richest venison stew!

2004 was a blend of 62% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Pinotage, a total production of 84 barrels and was one of the last vintages made between Michel Rolland and Murray Boustred partnership.

Zonnebloem Laureat Stellenbosch 2008 91 Points



Cherry red with slight cherry red showing evolution.

Clean, high intensity, ripe cassis,blackcurrant, dark plums, graphite note.

Dry, moderate acidity,fresh and savoury, delicate extraction, precise, structured, grainy tannins, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, persistent.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

KWV Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 89+ Points



Ruby red with garnet hue.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, showing Cabernet austerity, delicate blackcurrant, cassis, lead minerals, pencil shavings and cinnamon spice.

Dry, juicy, savory, black olives in brine, delicate extractions, moderate acidity, fresh and elegant with  tobacco, cigar note, firm ripe tannins, good typicity.

Morgenster Estate Lourens River Valley Stellenbosch 2009 85 Points



A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, showing ruby cherry red with garnet rim.

Clean, perfume, complex lead pencil note, ripe red fruits, blackberries, cassis, peppery spices and hints of crushed tomato leaf.

Dry, fresh and elegant with juicy saturated red fruits, persistent and structured, high alcohol of 14.5% abv, noticeable though and not fully integrated. now until 2020

Free sushi with J.C. Le Roux at Cape Town Fish Market





Enjoy Le Good Life and get a free sushi starter when you order a bottle of J.C. Le Roux at Cape Town Fish Market restaurants this summer.

Bubbly lovers will have a choice of the refreshing J.C. Le Roux Brut Cap Classique, the ever popular Le Domaine and its newly launched Non-Alcoholic counterpart, or the flirtatious La Fleurette, each served with a complimentary sushi companion.

An elegant Cap Classique with just a touch of youthfulness, J.C. Le Roux Brut complements any occasion, whilst the lively, salmon pink La Fleurette entices the senses with a delightful melange of sweet, fruity flavours with hints of strawberry, plum and tropical fruit.

J.C. Le Roux Le Domaine is a popular sparkling favourite, whilst the Le Domaine Non-Alcoholic sparkling white alternative is perfect for that guilt-free extra glass or two.

Valid until 24 February, J.C. Le Roux fans will indeed be spoilt with a great combination of outstanding wines and delicious sushi.

For more information, visit Cape Town Fish Market

For more on The House of J.C. Le Roux, visit JC Le Roux or Facebook

Diamond Ridge Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2009 85 Points



Ruby red with some evolution towards the rim.

Clean, intense raspberry, cherries and strawberries, perfume, subtle oaking.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, fresh, elegant, moderate alcohol of 13% abv, savory with hints of black olives, saline farewell, well priced at R 49.99 at Checkers Hyper, Fourways

KWV Classic Collection Western Cape Merlot 2010 87 Points



Cherry red with garnet rim.

Clean, moderate intensity, cherry bon bon, plums, delicate red fruits, goo dpurity of fruit, subtle oaking, good varietal definition.

Dry with dash residual sugar, rich style, yet elegant with plush tannins, uncomplicated yet honest style, fresh with moderate acidity, everything you would expect out of a Merlot, well priced.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Get adventurous this Valentine’s Day with OBiKWA Pinotage Rosé




Forget the red roses and heart-shaped chocolates and venture somewhere outdoors with a bottle of OBiKWA Pinotage Rosé this Valentine’s Day. Explore the great outdoors of mountain trails or dare to zip line your way to someone’s heart.

If adventure is what you seek then fuel your adrenalin high by treating your Valentine to something more exciting than the usual “dinner for two” and don’t forget to pack the OBiKWA Pinotage Rosé. Refreshingly dry and pleasant on the eye, this seductive pink quaffer is the ideal partner for thrill seeking encounters and it’s friendly on the pocket too!

Sporting dashes of soft and tempting supple, ripe berries, this little number is delicious with chicken or seafood nibbles – the perfect choice for the adventurous at heart.

Life is a journey worth celebrating, so go on: stick your neck out and do something extraordinary this Valentine’s Day!

OBiKWA is a down-to-earth range of easy drinking, quality cultivar wines expressing their true varietal character and rich, ethnic charm at an affordable price.
The 750 ml bottles sell at around R28 at leading outlets country-wide

For more information on the wide range of OBiKWA wines visit Obikwa and join the OBiKWA tribe on Facebook.

KWV Classic Collection Western Cape Shiraz 2010 89 Points



Ruby red with slight garnet rim.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe plums, blackberry jam, savory black olives with delicate earthy note, subtle spices and oaking.

Dry with dash residual sugar, juicy, moderate plus acidity, moderate tannin, lively with herbal freshness, tea leaf complexity, full bodied peppery farewell.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SA WINE INDUSTRY OPTIMISTIC, SAYS WOSA





Following a few very tough years, the South African wine industry is being buoyed by a new sense of optimism on the back of record export levels, the likelihood of one of the best harvests this year, the penetration of new markets and growing praise from some of the wine world's most influential opinion formers.

Su Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), confirmed that exports for 2012 had reached 417 million litres, 10 million litres more than the previous record of 407 million litres achieved in 2008 and a 17% increase on volumes in 2011. "The record levels are the result of a more favourable currency, as well as the global shortage of wines, stemming from a significant drop in the recent harvests of competitor wine-producing nations in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.

"At this stage, all indications are that this year's local crop could be the third biggest in recorded history.  This is assuming that good weather conditions continue, there is a speedy and peaceful resolution to the farm worker strikes and harvests come in on time. The anticipated crop size is despite a decrease in total plantings, thanks to one of the best winter seasons in the Western Cape for many years."

SA Wine Industry & Information Systems (SAWIS) has anticipated that the 2013 wine grape crop should amount to 1 384 357 tons.

Birch said that while bulk (i.e. non-packaged) exports accounted for 59% of volumes in 2012, this was in line with a growing global trend. She explained that over the past decade, bulk wine exports from the major New World wine-producing countries had risen from around 20% to over half of wine volumes traded, against the background of protracted recessionary market conditions.

"The reality we face also confronts Australia, Chile, Argentina and even New Zealand."

She said while packaged wines generally offered higher returns, local producers had been forced to accept that to compete globally, they had to provide what the mainstream markets wanted. "Obviously we would prefer the accent to be on packaged wines, from a reputational perspective for Brand South Africa, in terms of job retention in the packaging industry and also to maintain sustainable profit margins for producers.  We are therefore greatly encouraged by the recent growth of packaged exports to North America, Japan, China, as well as several increasingly affluent African nations, all to regions where we have been increasing our marketing investment."

She said the industry had also been buoyed by the growing confidence in South Africa as a top wine-producing country amongst high-profile international critics, whose opinion carried great weight in the global wine business fraternity as well as with consumers. "Over the past few weeks we have had praise from the likes of Neal Martin, who reviews for Robert E Parker's world-famous The Wine Advocate and who has singled out South Africa as currently the most exciting New World wine country,  as well as from Stephen Tanzer of the International Wine Cellar, the UK's Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin MW and Sarah Ahmed and Germany's Eckhard Supp."

Birch said that while the industry regretted the current labour unrest in the Western Cape,  huge strides were being made to ensure decent working conditions on all wine-producing farms. "The local Fairtrade office has confirmed that South Africa now has the highest number of Fairtrade-accredited wineries worldwide, with 65% of Fairtrade wines sold globally coming from our country."

At the same time, there was steadily growing support for the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA), with increasing numbers of producers subscribing to its code of good conduct, she added.  This was particularly after the international market reacted so positively to last year's  launch of the WIETA ethical seal, a world-first that provides a guarantee of fair labour practices.

"WIETA accreditation for rigorously audited fair labour conditions has accelerated since last year and with the increase in producer and worker training sessions scheduled, prior to auditing sessions, we expect many more labels to qualify during this year."

Some of the country's biggest producers have already earned WIETA accreditation for their labels, including Distell, Spier, Fairview and Robertson Winery.

Wildekrans Estate Osiris Barrel Selection Bot River Sauvignon Blanc 2011 88 Points



Bright pale green.

Clean, moderate intensity, Pouilly fume like in profile, layered aromatics, delicate perfume, excellent purity of fruit, hints of blackcurrant leaf, lemon verbena, chamomille, fleur d'oranger, flint mineral, subtle oaking, adding just the ideal hint of smoke, leesy complexity.

Dry, round with moderate plus acidity, grapefruit freshness, vibrant with zesty mineral follows through, moderate alcohol of 13% abv, perfect for the table!, light cream textured, saline, now until 2018

Altadona Toscana IGT Vermentino 86+ Points



A non vintage! Vermentino, showing a pale straw with green hue.

Clean, moderate intensity, pears, papaya, salted lemon, white flowers, talc, mineral.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, fine tension with a creamy richness, yet intriguingly linear at the same time, fresh and elegant, near perfect alcohol of 12.5% abv, charming, perfect this summertime with or without food.

Imported by Caroline Fine Wine

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dombeya Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 91 Points



Garnet with brown rim, showing advanced evolution.

Clean, high intensity, very fine Cabernet typicity with complex blackcurrant, cassis and cedar wood, lending lead pencil note and graphite mineral.

Dry with dash residual sugar, delicate extraction, firm ripe tannins, savoury, medium acidity, fresh with minty complexity, tobacco ash, full bodied with very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, noticeable(chest burn), but nevertheless a fine effort, now until 2015.

Creation Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2011 85+ Points



Pale straw with green reflections.

Clean, high intensity, powerful pyrazine note, green pears, gooseberries, citrus burst and custard apples, mineral, minimal oaking.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, citric freshness, flinty minerals, salty tang, alcohol is high though at 14% abv, but well integrated, full bodied. Now until 2018.

Lazanou Organic Vineyard Wellington Chardonnay 2011 84+ Points



Pale straw with yellow reflections.

Clean, high intensity, lifted aromatics for a Chardonnay, on the riper side with stone fruits such as peaches, apricots and nectarines, burnt citrus, hints of yellow bananas, toasly, mealy, fairly oaky.

Dry with some residual sugar, full creamy style with medium acidity, juicy, broad texture, moderate alcohol of 13% abv, generous style, now until 2016+.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Van Loveren Christina Van Loveren Robertson Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2008 92 Points



Dark straw with yellow rim, almost a vin de paille kind of color.

Clean, high intensity, not much botrytis character, dried apricot, tamarind, honey, treacle, molasses with hints of demerara sugar, lots of raisin, subtle oaking.

Sweet, rich yet have a pin point acidity (which is high) to balance and lift the creamy / concentrated profile, fresh, no sign of oxidation after being opened for a week!

A style on it's own, somewhere between a natural sweet and a vin de paille, but very well made.

Offley Tawny Port Barao de Forrester 92 Points



Cherry red with some garnet reflections.

Clean, high intensity, dried red fruits, prunes, raisin, tea leaf complexity, spicy, fine Tawny typicity, elegant and fresh with moderate acidity, full bodied (19.5% abv, normal for the style), strucutured and well balanced, long persistent lenght.

Excellent aperitifs or with nuts, blue cheese, creme caramel, egg dishes, pan fried foie gras, or apple and almonds desserts.

KWV Reserve Collection Western Cape Merlot 2009 85+ Points



Cherry red with slight garnet rim.

Clean, high intensity, lifted, ripe plums, blackberries and cherries, spicy core, delicate earthy note, subtle cedar oak, high alcohol noticeable though.

Dry with medium plus acidity, fresh, elegant extract, athletic structure, ripe moderate tannins, juicy, savoury and crunchy in profile, very high alcohol though at 14.5% abv, need time, embryonic for a 2009, best revisited in 2015.

Bosman Family Vineyards Wellington Pinotage 2009 83+ Points



Ruby red with slight brown rim.

Clean, ripe profile, old cape style, plums, cherries and mulberries, earthy, dried cured meat, slight alcohol burn, subtle spicy oaking, hints of graphitey elements, leathery.

Dry with medium plus acidity, fresh and savoury with crunchy medium tannins, almost chalky, hints of black olives note on texture, elegant extract with just the right punch, alcohol high though at 14% abv, lending a full bodied profile, long and persistent.now until 2021

Another testament Pinotage is suited for Wellington district

Hartenberg Wine Estate appoints young, sassy winemaker


Tamsyn Jeftha with her mentor Carl Schultz, Hartenberg's winemaker

Hartenberg Wine Estate has added a vibrant new winemaker to its award winning team with the appointment of Tammy Jeftha, the latest Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé to embark on a career in winemaking. Working under Hartenberg cellarmaster, Carl Schultz, this is the first time that a member of the Guild has appointed a protégé as a permanent member of the team.

Tammy, who worked alongside Carl during her final year of the Guild’s mentorship programme, has blossomed into a sassy young winemaker who loves to add her own spin on the wines she works with.

A graduate in Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University, Tammy recently completed her three year internship through the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme. As a permanent member of the Hartenberg team, she is now able to pursue her love for red wines and unusual winemaking methods together with Carl, who enjoys a formidable reputation, particularly for his Shiraz.

"The Protégé Programme afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the best winemakers South Africa has to offer. During this time I gained first hand experience in creating two of my favourite wine styles; sparkling wine with Jeff Grier at Villiera and superb Shiraz with my mentor Carl Schultz here at Hartenberg Estate. I would not exchange what I learned form my mentors for anything in the world," says Tammy who grew up in Strand and inherited her love for winemaking from her father.

"It all started when my dad once explained that wine is a continuous value adding process. From the moment you plant the vine through to the final stages of bottling and labelling you are creating something special and adding value, be it to the ground, product or ultimately add the occasion where people can enjoy it. I was hooked immediately!" says Tammy.

After admitting that she secretly enjoys singing in the cellar, Tammy will surely make use of all her talents, especially in Hartenberg’s impressive underground maturation cellar where their red wines are aged for a minimum of four years, allowing them to reach their full potential prior to release.
Tammy’s bubbly personality and natural acumen for marketing will also stand her in good stead at Hartenberg.

Hartenberg Wine Estate is situated on the Bottelary Road off the R304 to Stellenbosch. Open six days a week for tastings, picnic lunches and wetland walks, but cellar tours are by appointment only. Contact Tel: (+27)21-8652541, Email or visit Hartenberg Estate

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snow Mountain Western Cape Syrah 2009 86 Points



Made by Nabygelegen Private Cellar in Wellington from fruits sourced across Western Cape, hence the origin.

Bright ruby with purple rim.

Clean, initially reductive, with aeration, reveals peppery and spicy Syrah, delicately ripe with notes of red currants, salty plums, brush of earthy mineral, subtle oak, probably high percentage of older barrels.

Dry with moderate plus acidity, fresh, ripe medium tannins, crunchy, delicate extraction with red fruit follows through, need time to express austerity on texture, some violets, truly unshowy style, good persistent complexity with medium plus lenght. Now until 2020

Lazanou Organic Vineyard Wellington Chenin Blanc 2011 84 Points



Pale straw with yellow green reflections.

Clean, ripe, moderate plus intensity, lifted aromatics, stony fruits, red apples, citrus oil, honey, subtle oaking, brush of vanilla.

Dry with dash residual sugar, broad spicy texture, creamy, moderate alcohol of 13% abv, menthol freshness, moderate acidity, fresh, vibrant.Now until 2018.

365 cases produced

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wildekrans Estate Bot River Pinotage 2009 86+ Points



Ruby cherry red with garnet hue.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, smoky red fruits, plums, creamy lactic note, complex layers, quite mineral, subtle spicy oak, alcohol noticeable.

Dry, moderate plus acidity, sappy freshness and savory, ripe medium tannin, some chalky crunchy note, black olives in brine, delicate extraction, if only all the other reds in the stable could have the profile, they would have been very sexy! hints of tobacco, full bodied with high alcohol of 14% abv, yet have a certain airy character, moreish, not only is this the best red in the Wildekrans Estate range, but another confirmation that Pinotage is at home in Bot River (think of the stunning bottling from Beaumont) and have a certain affinity with the terroir, now until 2019

Middelvlei Estate Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 84+ Points



The 2010 Cabernet from Middelvlei is without a doubt Devon Valley best kept secret, a profile reminiscent of the Le Riche cross Kanonkop Estate in their opulent vintages!

Ruby red with garnet hue and brown towards the rim.

Clean, high intensity, very ripe Cabernet profile with intense blackcurrant and cassis note, oaky, slight herbaceous note typical of the variety, earthy almost gravelly, peppery, with sweet vanillin and cedar wood with complex cigar note.

Dry with dash residual sugar, savoury with moderate acidity, fresh and savoury with moderate tannins, plush, quite polish in profile and aided by the residual sugar, delicate extraction, yet structured, very high alcohol though at 14.5% abv, full bodied, graphite complexity, long and persistent. Now until 2021+

Middelvlei Estate Free-Run Stellenbosch Pinotage 2010 81+ Points



Ruby cherry red with garnet hue.

Clean,moderate plus intensity, Old Cape style profile with a certain rusticity, ripe profile and sweet fruited with dark red plums, black berry jam, dried roses, good purity of fruit, almond kernel note, hints of acetone, brush of wet earth, subtle spicy oak, milk chocolate,  alcohol noticeable.

Dry with dash residual sugar, floral note follows through, fresh and savoury with moderate plus acidity, moderate plus tannins, gentle bite and firm in structure with a peppery profile, delicately juicy, elegant extraction, high alcohol of 14% abv follows through, long and persistent, drinking well now yet have the stamina to hold until 2020+

Middelvlei Estate Devon Valley Shiraz 2009 80+ Points



Ruby red with garnet towards the rim.

Clean, with moderate plus intensity, very ripe profile, dark plums, mulberry, slightly jammy with hints of raisin, peppery, earthy with oaky notes, lending spicy vanilla.

Dry with dash residual sugar, moderate acidity, fresh, delicate extraction, moderate plus tannin, spicy texture, full bodied with very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, good lenght, now until 2019

Darling Cellars Premium Darling Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 75+ Points



Garnet hue, brown towards the rim.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, very ripe, raisiny, quite peppery and herbaceous, slight mechanical oil note, gamey, atypical for a Cabernet with rusty note, subtle oaking probably high proportion of neutral old oak barrel.

Dry with dash residual sugar, low tannins, tad soapy in texture, savoury with moderate acidity, hints of tin tomato paste on back palate, warm profile with very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, now until 2017.

Darling Cellars Premium Darling Shiraz 2008 73+ Points



Garnet hue with mahogany brown rim.

Clean, high intensity, charry, delicate red fruit, masked by milky chocolate, spicy and earthy note.

Dry with residual sugar evident, oak follows through a fairly lean profile, tannins  starting to dry out, soft textured, medium acidity, fresh, good extraction though, savoury, short warming finish with very high alcohol of 14.5% abv, drink now

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Middelvlei Estate Devon Valley Pinotage Merlot 2011 80+ Points



If you are looking for an everyday juicy red wine, fruity and bold in character, look no further!
A smart blend, showing the best of both varietal, in fact none dominate in this wine.

Ruby red with slight garnet hue and brown towards the rim.

Clean, high intensity, fragrant, ripe plums, dark cherries and blueberry jam earthy, minty note, tea leaf note, smoky, spicy oak.

Dry with residual sugar, moderate plus acidity, fresh, textured, savoury warming profile with high alcohol of 14% abv, low plus tannin, quite plush in profile, certainly aided by the sugar here, juicy long and persistent. Honest offering will be perfect anytime, yet probably better with BBQ pork and sausages.