Thursday, February 28, 2013

Klawer Cellars Olifants River Chenin Blanc 2012 88 Points

Pale bright with yellow green reflections.

Clean, moderate intensity, green apple, citrus and white peach, saline mineral, very good purity.
Dry, crisp with moderate plus acidity, fresh and lively, delicate fruit follows through, slight honeyed note on mid palate, near perfect alcohol of 12.5% abv, elegant and refreshing, crunchy lenght.
Perfect anytime of the day with or without food!

If you like Pinot Grigio, you will enjoy this Chenin Blanc.

Klawer Cellars Olifants River Shiraz 2011 83 Points

Ruby red with garnet reflections towards the rim.

Clean, very ripe plums and mulberries, alcohol noticeable, earthy, spicy, smoky, charry oak.
Dry with dash residual sugar, juicy, moderate plus acidity, fresh, savory, moderate plus tannins, full bodied with high alcohol of 14% abv, warming finish.

Well made, delivers as a Shiraz, there is personality! Now until 2016+

Paul Cluver Estate Elgin 7 Flags Pinot Noir 2009 92+ Points

Color showing evolution, ripe blackberries, cherries, good purity, earthy, gamey, dark mushroom, savory, firm ripe tannins, peaking now.

Paul Cluver Estate Elgin Pinot Noir 2010 91+ Points

Seductive, ripe cranberries, cherries, well defined Pinot character, juicy, fresh and elegant good tannic grip, sanguine note, long.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Radford Dale Elgin Freedom Pinot Noir 2010 92 Points

Leesy reductiveness, opened up with aeration, dark red fruits, on the riper side, tight grippy tannins, elegant extract though, need time to mesh, moderate plus acidity, sappy fresh, lots of energy with mid palate stuffing, best from 2016.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Meerlust Estate Stellenbosch Pinot Noir 2011 90 Points

Pale ruby red with orange reflections and brown towards the rim, premature color development?
Restraint, red berries, cherry pips, earthy, moderate acidity, fresh, steely, with firm tannic grip, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, need time, best revisited in 2017+

Klawer Cellars Olifants River Merlot 2012 85 Points

Ruby red with slight purple rim.

Clean, delicately ripe plums, blueberries, mulberries, sandy, good purity of fruit, recognizable as a Merlot, no greenness, brush of neutral oak.

Dry with dash residual sugar, fresh with moderate acidity, salty tang, delicate extract, juicy, savory, uncomplicated good honest offerings, yet have character, perfect now until 2015+
Far better than many Merlot costing twice or three times more!

OBiKWA Moscato has the sweet taste of adventure

Obikwa Moscato

OBiKWA Moscato 2012 is sure to hit your sweet spot when the crisp autumn air adds that extra little bite to your weekend outings.

One of the jewels of the fun-loving, value for money range of varietal wines, OBiKWA Moscato boasts rich, deliciously sweet, fruity muscat flavours and a crisp, clean, sweet finish.

OBiKWA Moscato is versatile enough to be enjoyed with most of your favourite snacks, but goes especially well with hearty comfort foods like curries or even with a traditional malva pudding.
OBiKWA is a down-to-earth range of easy drinking, quality cultivar wines expressing their true varietal character and rich, ethnic charm at affordable prices. Available at leading outlets countrywide, the OBiKWA Moscato 2012 sells at around R28 per bottle.

For more information on the wide range of OBiKWA wines, visit and join the OBiKWA tribe on Facebook for plenty of online ostrich fun.


A tribute to the world’s great musicals…

Steenberg Vineyards continues its popular Tuesday Movie Nights between May and October, with a selection of classic musicals that will appeal to all fans of great cinema.  The cosy winery boardroom with its roaring fireplace will set the scene for these fun evenings that start on Tuesday 7 May with the screening of one of the best-loved family musicals of all time - Annie. Tickets include a delicious Movie Night meal at the cost of R130 per person (R100 for Wine Club members). Movie-goers are requested to arrive at the venue from 18:30, with the movie starting at 19:00.

With timeless big-screen romances like Casablanca and Wuthering Heights on the roll-out this year, Movie Nights at Steenberg are perfect for a Girls’ Night out, or to celebrate a special birthday, while family favourites Mary Poppins, Oliver and The Sound of Music make great choices for adults and children to enjoy together.

Prepared by winery restaurant Bistro Sixteen82, every month will feature a different hot dish as Movie Night meal. These include mouth-watering winter dishes such as Beef Bourguignon and Chickpea Tagine served with a tasty herb mash.  Each meal will also include a selection of local cheese and home-made bread that deserve to be enjoyed with a bottle of one of Steenberg’s wines, available for sale on the night at cellar door prices.

A bag of popcorn with aromatic garlic and rosemary seasoning, home-made wine gums with a delicious hint of selected Steenberg wines; and a satisfying chunk of chocolate honeycomb will end the perfect night out on a sweet note.

Movies on Tuesday nights

Annie – 7 May
Oliver – 21 May
The Sound of Music – 4 June
West Side Story – 18 June
A Streetcar Named Desire – 6 August
Mary Poppins – 20 August
The Great Gatsby – 3 September
New York, New York - 17 September
Casablanca - 1 October
Wuthering Heights - 15 October

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shannon Vineyards Rockview Ridge Elgin Pinot Noir 2011 91 Points

Ripe, oaky with good purity of fruit, savory, bright acid, sappy freshness and elegant, moderate plus tannins lending good grip, need time to integrate, persistent, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, best revisited from 2016

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Alain Hudellot-Noellat Premier Cru Les Beaumonts Vosne Romanee 2008 93+ Points

Ripe, floral, delicate structure, flinty mineral, graphite complexity, long

Bernhard Huber Wildenstein “R” Baden Spatburgunder 2010 93 Points

Delicately ripe, raspberry, cherries, plums, impressive purity and precision, nutty almonds, fresh, elegant, sappy freshness, delicate extract, seamless.

Vidon Vineyard Chelahem Mountain Oregon Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2009 91+ Points

Restraint, strawberries, cherry pips, fresh, elegant, delicate, juicy profile, ripe and oaky on texture. 

Crystallum Peter Max Western Cape Pinot Noir 2008 89+ Points

Shows premature development for a 2008, garnet reflections, brown rim.
Fruit fading, beetroot earthiness, spicy texture, subtle extract, juicy soft texture, tobacco note, good length.

Domaine Lafarge Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009 89+ Points

Restraint, delicately ripe, sense of "somewhereness", like the dryness of the structure, elegant, pure, ripe tannins, moderate plus acidity, energetic, table and food friendly
Available locally through Great Domaines

Friday, February 22, 2013

Paul Cluver Estate Elgin Chardonnay 2012 91+ Points

Priviledge to have a preview tasting of the soon to be released 2012 Elgin Chardonnay, is another nail in the coffin to re-affirm that Paul Cluver Estate besides their other sexy wines, are arguably one of South Africa’s and the New World best Chardonnay producer.

The 2012 exhibits a pale straw with yellow green reflections.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, sweetly ripe with tropical fruits, citrus and glazed pineapples.
Dry and juicy, richly textured, very fresh with precise acidity, honeyed mid palate with a waxy stuffing note, glossy profile yet have a lot of energy, flinty minerals add charm.

Probably the most seductive Chardonnay the estate have release to date, drinking very well now, yet stamina for further bottle evolution up to 2021+

Paul Cluver Estate Noble Late Harvest Riesling 2011 92+ Points

Riesling is one of the estate strength with 3 version a bone dry, a Spatlese style (Close Encounter) and this limited botrytis version, arguably one of South Africa’s most consistent noble late and by far Elgin finest, simply no competition in the district!

Bright, pale gold.

Clean, high intensity with complex botrytized note, ripe peaches and apricot, very good purity, seamless, honeyed complexity, baked pineapples, light toast, gentle oaking just perfect, lively acidity, fresh and precise. Long and persistent. Now until 2028+

Spirits of Elgin Pear Schnapps 91 Points

Pale white with perfectly ripe pears note, sweet, captivating freshness, bright and spicy, best served cold in a snifter glass.43% abv.

Apple Spirits Aperitifs Barrel Aged 83 Points

Pale gold. Appley, honeyed note, good purity, soft and fleshy, fresh, angular profile, could do with more spirit concentrations

Elgin Distilling Company

Based on Paul Cluver Wine Estate, the Elgin Distilling Company is a very good example of showcasing another strenght of the Elgin district, fruit produced by product, 2 spirits, an apple and a pears distillate / Eau de vie.

My favorite of the two is the Spirits of Elgin Pear Schnapps (91 points), which is comparable to the best Eau de Vie one may found in Alsace, Germany or Austria.

The apple distillate is classified as a spirit aperitif and is barrel aged (83 points) I believe it could do with more concentration as it appears quite light and evanescent in structure.

Both will however, depending on personal preferences be a good digestifs at the end of a meal, especially now the winter month are not far away, they will be the perfect night cap to keep the soul warm filled with sweet dreams! Get out there and buy a few cases. Great gifting.

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs 93+ Points

100% Chardonnay from some of Cote des Blancs signature crus, namely Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger and Vertus.

Clear, bright, pale straw, consistent perlage.

Clean, moderate plus intensity showing Chardonnay austerity, citrus zest, chalky mineral note, white flowers, almonds, nutty complexity.

Dry, proper Blanc de Blancs style with a low dosage of between 6 g/l, high acidity, precise, linear, focus, full texture with slight hints of honey, generous with pure chalky note follows through, grilled hazelnut, revving with energy.

Well priced for a Blanc de Blancs, the highlight of the tasting that day, 53 months on the lees, with the base cuvee being 2007 vintage. Now until 2033+

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut 91+ Points

60% Chardonnay primarily Grands Crus from the Cote des Blancs and 40% Pinot Noir, mainly from Verzenay, Ay, Mareuil-sur-Ay and Bouzy, in this particular cuvee of 2008 there was no Pinot Meunier blended, but did featured in 2006 and 2007 cuvee.

Bright with golden green hue, persistent perlage with light foam.

Clean, moderate plus intensity, ripe stone fruit, citrus, showing maturity with slight Sherry notes, Pinot Noir ripeness and robustness evident with subtle red fruits.

Dry, properly brut in style with a dosage of 5 g/l, moderate plus acidity, fresh and elegant with a juicy full texture, lots of personality for a Non Vintage, rich style.
Average time on lees before disgorgement is 24 months.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Summer Wine Party

The best way to chill this Summer!

You heard right, it’s a party and not just another average wine show – this time
you get to taste the ‘Best of the Best’, while rubbing shoulders with the wine makers who create your favourite wines. Come and enjoy a day of fantastic wine, great food and live music, under the trees surrounding Simon’s Restaurant on the beautiful Groot Constantia Estate. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to end the Summer!

WineStyle Magazine is a beautiful quarterly wine, food and travel publication with an up to date website hosting the best of the best in South African food, wine and travel! This year WineStyle is hosting a wine show like none other!

 This event is a wine party, not a wine trade show. A celebration of food and wine. It's for people who appreciate good wine, and who like to have fun. The event is unlike a traditional wine show, and encourages guests and exhibitors to engage, taste, drink, eat and pick up a few wine tips in the process. A menu of tapas, gourmet picnic snacks and charcuterie boards will be available to purchase, along with bottles of wine – and should be enjoyed with friends and family, whilst relaxing and listening to some tunes.

        Venue: Simon’s restaurant - Groot Constantia Cape Town
        Date: 15 & 16 March (Friday 4-10pm & Saturday 12-10 pm)
        Capacity: 500 people per day
        Tickets: R100.00 per person attending (includes a glass & free tasting)
        Come dressed in Summer whites – and you may win some prizes!
Tickets available at Webtickets:
For any further information please contact Kalinka Lombard
Tel: 083 227 1167
This is the event of the season and we hope to see you there! 

Constantia Glen releases 2012 vintage of cool climate Sauvignon Blanc

Constantia Glen, the magnificently appointed boutique wine estate known for exceptional cool-climate Sauvignon Blancs with great ageing potential, has just released their 2012 vintage.

Boasting a notable Sémillon component (10%), the wine also has a larger proportion of clone SB-10, better known as the “weather station” clone of Sauvignon Blanc, which lends the wine more intense and expressive aromatics. The Sémillon adds to the wine’s wonderful richness and mouthfeel and enhances its ability to age gracefully.

“This is a classic Constantia wine with beautiful elegance, length and freshness, which indicates excellent ageing potential,” says winemaker Justin van Wyk.

This multi-layered wine shows depth and minerality, with uplifting aromas of nettle and gooseberry, backed up by nectarine and kiwi fruit flavours, and also the notable underlying perfume of elderflower that is very characteristic of the Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc.

“The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc has excellent fruit purity and since it also has sufficient richness and texture from the Sémillon and five months of lees ageing, we decided not to include a portion of oak-fermented in this vintage,” adds Justin, who suggests enjoying the wine with honey-roasted butternut soup infused with sage and drizzled with bits gorgonzola cheese, or lightly-smoked salmon, grilled with lemon and butter served on a bed of greens with olive oil.

The 2012 Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc is available at fine restaurants and boutique wine shops and sells for R100 at the cellar door.

One of the jewels of the Constantia Wine Valley, 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 021-7956100,, visit, or follow @ConstantiaGlen on Twitter. The GPS co-ordinates are S 34º 0’39.6” E 18º 24’30.6”.

Caravaggio Malta D.O.K Superior Shiraz 2008 89 Points

Clear garnet with brown rim, showing evolution.

Clean, moderate intensity, good varietal definition, restraint, ripe dark red fruits, stewed plums, good purity with notes of molasses, earthy, spicy black olives, herbal freshness, floral and black tea leaf complexity, leather and iron ore.

Dry, vinous, moderate plus acidity, fresh, elegant extract, still juicy with lots of dark red fruits, savory, crunchy moderate tannins, salty note, moderate plus alcohol of 13.5% abv, long and persistent, now until 2016
To learn more about wines from Malta please visit:

Swartland Winery Bushvine Pinotage 2010 87+ Points

Bright ruby red with slight purple rim, excellent clarity!
Clean, moderate plus intensity, good purity of fruit, ripe plums, intriguing aromatics, almost Tempranillo like, floral, spicy cinnamon and camphor note.

Dry with moderate acidity, fresh, elegant extraction, well supported by purity of fruit, the very high alcohol of 14.5% abv totally integrated, seamless, brush of possibly American oak ? orange peel complexity, delicately juicy, moreish. Now until 2020+

Ernie Els Western Cape Big Easy 2009 91 Points

A captivating and ripe red blends of 52% Shiraz, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Mourvedre, 9% Grenache Noir and 3% Viognier so subtly integrated, though floral yet gives absolutely no clue it is part of the blend.
Ruby red with garnet hue with slight brown reflections towards the rim.

Clean, high intensity, ripe dark red fruits, mulberry, cassis, blackcurrant, earthy core, spicy, tea leaf note, generous oaking yet not overpowering.

Dry with dash residual sugar, juicy, bright fruit concentration, very good purity, with moderate plus acidity, fresh and elegant with spicy texture, ripe medium tannin, just firm, savory, very well made wine, only concerned is the very high alcohol of 14.5% abv does not only make it unfriendly at table, but a challenge to be paired with food as well as a very high probability of customer drinking less of it! Now until 2019.

MCC prices, reality and new brand expectation

Over the last 6 months, I keep receiving either a cold call or a random email from a "new" MCC producer in Franschhoek, as I have never heard of them before!

As I am always eager to taste and review new wines, part of the daily task, especially MCC, as it is a hot category on wine lists as sales has been dynamic for the last few years, year on year, but one key criteria it all boils down to price!

Here I have this gentleman, not sure if he is the owner, marketing or sales manager, winemaker, shareholder, agents etc etc ? who knows, anyway that keep insisting I should consider his MCC?! Cool and fair, asked for the price? Close to R 400 trade price at cost, for a local MCC !!!! ? wow, more than the current trade price of a Moet & Chandon Champagne Brut Imperial with a wine making heritage going as far back as 200 years, fair and they are consistent and is one of South Africa’s best selling by a mile, Champagne!!
Now, getting tired of the call, I asked for justification of price and why does a local MCC sparkling wine should be at that price? I was explained that they have access to the best grapes (sic) their barrels are imported from Champagne (really) does it make a difference?? Please prove it to me and challenge me? I’m still learning,! and their bottle and capsule are imported from Champagne too!! Wow!!! is this a quality contributor? Are we talking sparkling wine in bottle here or packaging?

I am and will always be interested in the integrity if the liquid inside the bottle first and foremost, besides any marketing BS. To add to his sales pitch was some of the most exclusive restaurant in the Western Cape are buying and listing the wine and apparently doing so well for a local sparkling wine MCC at over R 1100 selling price a bottle!! Wow that is indeed impressive, I would like to learn the secret to sell local bubbly at this price daily and consistently! Please show me and share the expertise! eager to learn please!

Asked me if I am convinced no. Until last Monday I received another blind BCC email from the same chap, telling  me his MCC has been compared to a Jacques Selosse Champagne in terms of style and quality, by a leading reviewer, wow, I agree South African MCC quality are indeed very good and offers very good value, but hey to compare to a Jacques Selosse, is not only cheeky, irresponsible and simply pump with ego enough to fill us, Mars and the moon!!

There is simply no way and justifications, besides greed, based on labor, land, grape price and barrels cost locally that our MCC sparkling wine* cost would be more than an Imported quality sparkling wine such as Champagne or Franciacorta, especially if the brand are new, or probably second release, even though at a time of good wines at competitive price, let’s be real here, caveat emptor.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Rose 91 Points

Pale salmon with coppery reflections.
Clean, subtle note of maturity with notes of preserves cherries, cranberry and citrus peel, leesy complexity with delicate floral note of dry roses and geranium.

Made from a base 2008 cuvee with 2006 and 2007 Reserve wine.
Properly Brut with very good purity of fruit, racy, fresh and vibrant with moderate plus acidity, lots of energy, rich textured mid palate, long and persistent.

85 % Chardonnay from the main Cote des Blancs crus of Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Vertus with 15% Pinot Noir from Montagne de Reims vinified as red wine

New Simonsig Pinot Noir Brut Rosé vintage with no added sulphur

3rd vintage of popular No Added SO2 MCC exclusive to Woolworths

Simonsig Estate, creators of South Africa’s first Méthode Cap Classique more than 40 years ago, has released the Limited Release Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2011, the third vintage of this popular no-added-sulphur Méthode Cap Classique, made exclusively for Woolworths.

The maiden 2009 vintage was the first Rosé Cap Classique with No Added SO2 in the country, showcasing the innovative spirit Simonsig still brings to the market. With a loyal following of bubbly lovers in search of a more innovative and health-driven style, Woolworths has a growing and successful range of red and sparkling wines with No Added SO2.

“This limited release is as delicious as it is health-friendly and extreme care is taken in the whole winemaking process to prevent oxidation and spoilage of the wine as no SO2 is added. It is a mouthful of freshness and finesse,” says Simonsig cellarmaster and MCC specialist Johan Malan, son of Frans Malan who gave South Africa its first bottle fermented sparkling wine back in 1971 - the iconic  Kaapse Vonkel.

The Woolworths Limited Release Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2011 comprises 100% Pinot noir grapes which lend the faintest salmon hue and an enticing nose of rose petals, luscious strawberries and vibrant red fruit. 

“The beauty of this noble red grape variety lies in its ability to add full-bodied structure to the wine without losing its delicacy and finesse,” explains Johan.

The grapes where whole bunch pressed and then inoculated with a special Prise de Mousse yeast to start the primary fermentation. The yeast selection is critical as certain yeasts actually form sulphur dioxide in the wine which can be problematic when trying to make a sulphur-free wine.

The Woolworths Limited Release Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2011 spent nine months on the lees to develop its mouth-filling roundness and well-balanced character. With a delicately fine mousse and an explosion of bubbles, it is ideal as an aperitif for summer entertaining. It also partners exceptionally well with crayfish thermidor, rich Thai dishes or decadent desserts.

The Woolworths Limited Release Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2010 No Added SO2 retails at R89.95 per bottle at selected Woolworths stores countrywide.

For more information on Simonsig Estate contact Tel: (021) 888 4915 or visit

Holden Manz hosts guest chefs for new wine pairing experience

Thursday, 28 February, 19h00, Holden Manz wine estate, Franschhoek

Following hot on the heels of the popular winemaker dinners, Holden Manz has added a new twist by pairing guest chefs and winemakers for a gourmet experience of note at this Franschhoek boutique wine estate on Thursday, 28 February.

The Franschhoek Kitchen restaurant will set the stage for a culinary clash of the titans, with Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen of Holden Manz joined by Chef Bjorn Dingemans from The Millhouse Kitchen at Lourensford and Chef Chris Erasmus from Pierneef á La Motte for a menu brimming with fine dining pleasure, with each dish paired with exquisite wines from the respective estates.

The Chef and Wine Pairing Experience on Thursday, 28 February at 19h00 costs R350 per person. For bookings, call 021-8762729 or

The Holden Manz tasting room is open daily from 10h00 to 17h00. Holden Manz Wine Estate offers a spectacular setting for weddings. For more information or bookings, phone 021-876 2738. Visit Holden Manz on Facebook, or follow @HoldenManz on Twitter. To reach Holden Manz, turn right at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek and follow the signs for two kilometres. GPS coordinates: Latitude: 33° 56’ 7” S; Longitude: 19° 6’ 54” E.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An evening of Chenin Blanc with Miguel Chan at the Beverly Hills

KWV Classic Collection Western Cape Chenin Blanc on arrival

The Winery of Good Hope Bush Vine Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc
Scallops | chenin blanc cream | exotic mushrooms

Citrus Grove Insignia Series by Bellingham Western Cape Chenin Blanc
Asparagus | quail | greens

Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyard Swartland Chenin Blanc
Venison | cabbage | chasseur sauce

Ken Forrester Vineyards Old Vine Reserve Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc
Sole | pork fillet | smoke prawn sauce

Simonsig Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc
Local cheese | biscuits

New spicy Vernissage - more fine wine art from Holden Manz in Franschhoek

An exciting year of promising wine releases awaits wine lovers at Holden Manz, where Vernissage 2012 has just made its debut as a seductive preview of things to come for this trendy Franschhoek wine estate.

Boasting a dark deep centre with a bright red edge, Vernissage 2012 is a beautiful collaboration of the typical characteristics of the two grape varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The nose teems with berry flavours and black fruit typical of Cabernet Sauvignon, whilst the Shiraz lends upfront spice and dark cherries.

Meticulous grape selection and minimal man-made impact to preserve the true varietal characters are the hallmark of winemaker Schalk Opperman’s new red at Holden Manz.

The individual varieties selected from distinct parcels of vineyards in varying soil types were bunch and berry sorted, crushed and destalked prior to fermentation with very few interventions in the cellar to ensure varietal integrity. The winemaking team, in collaboration with enthusiastic owners Gerard Holden and Migo Manz, went to great lengths to finalise the blend after numerous careful trials and test tastings of the different batches.

The result is a superbly balanced, multi-layered, spicy and fruity wine with the various components adding great complexity and wonderful intricacy to the wine.

“The wine has beautiful ripe, soft and chewy tannins with good balance and a soft and lingering finish,” says Schalk, who recommends enjoying Vernissage 2012 with slow cooked lamb stew with rich tomato herb and garlic sauce, haricots vert and grilled polenta.

Vernissage 2012 is available at selected fine wine shops and sells for R60 at the Holden Manz cellar door.

The Holden Manz tasting room is open daily from 10h00 to 17h00. Holden Manz Wine Estate offers a spectacular setting for weddings. For more information or bookings, phone 021-876 2738. Visit Holden Manz on Facebook or Holden Manz To reach Holden Manz, turn right at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek and follow the signs for two kilometres. 
GPS coordinates: Latitude: 33° 56’ 7” S; Longitude: 19° 6’ 54” E.

Savour autumn with a mouthful of Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon

Full-bodied, packed with citrus aromas and a buttery, toasty finish, Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon 2011 is a versatile wine to enjoy as the early autumn chill approaches.

The perfect accompaniment to wild mushrooms and muted autumn flavours, this Unfiltered Semillon embodies great complexity and true varietal character through meticulous terroir selection and excellent craftsmanship in the Fleur du Cap cellar. 

"Our Semillon is an elegant wine with heaps of apricot and vanilla oak spice on the palate allowing it to be enjoyed even at mild room temperatures during the colder months. I enjoy drinking this wonderful food wine most during autumn with creamy wild mushroom risotto," says winemaker Pieter Bedanhorst who loves to add a dash of Semillon to the pot to give the dish greater depth and flavour.

"A great trick I learned from salt aficionado Chef Craig Cormack is to substitute table salt with an artisanal alternative such as Murray Riversalt. It just adds an extra dimension to your dish and really brings out the full flavour profile of the Semillon," adds Pieter.

Inspired by Fleur du Cap's close affinity to nature and the unbridled expression of fruit and flavour of the Unfiltered range, Chef Craig enjoys experimenting with these wines and his ever expanding salt collection. His ultimate pairing choice for the Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon 2011 is a seared tuna enlivened with delicately pink Murray River Salt from Australia.

“One of the challenges when pairing salt and wine is to create food that will enhance the wine without dominating it. The unique characteristics of Murray River salt unveil the flavours of the complex, full bodied Unfiltered Semillon superbly,” says Chef Craig. 

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon 2011 is available at select fine dining restaurants, boutique wine stores or the Fleur du Cap cellar door at Die Bergkelder in Stellenbosch from around R95 per bottle.

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

Champagne Barons de Rothschild

Champagne Barons de Rothschild are one of the newest Champagne house as it was founded in 2005 and the first released in 2009.

With over 200 years of wine making expertise and heritage ( Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Clark, Chateau Clerk Milon, Château d'Armailhac, Mouton Cadet,   in Bordeaux, South of France with Domaine de Baron' arques and in partnership with the New World including South Africa with Rupert & Rothschild , California with Opus One and Chile with Almaviva and Escudo Rojo, Champagne Barons de Rothschild is the family first venture north.

The vineyards sourced can be summarized as top notch, for a brand that started 8 years ago, a collection of 80 hectares prime land, of which 45 hectares mostly Grand Cru in Cotes des Blancs as well as a fair number of Premier Cru, testament of their commitment to only produce  Champagne of distinctions.

At the helm of the winemaking team is JP Moulin the previous Chef de Cave at Perrier Jouet and Ruinart before Joining Champagne Barons de Rothschild

Following a tasting last week, one word can summed it all, they are exceptional and are serious candidate for wine lists!

Showing pure, delicate character driven by Chardonnay as the backbone, with minimum ageing of 36 months, which is over twice the legal requirement, coupled with a low dosage (sugar level) highlighting their purity, delicacy and minerality, followed by a fairly lenghy time after disgorgement of around 6 to 9 months on cork.

40% Reserve wines are blended to add further complexity.Unrush style.

The range sees no oak and are made in a reductive style, with focus on fruit and maturity on texture.

Champagne Barons de Rothschild are available in South Africa via Meridian wines.

Individual tasting note to follow:

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut 91+ Points

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs 93+ Points

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Rose 91 Points

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vilafonte Paarl Series C 2010 94+ Points

Captivating, the boat have been push further out here, sweet, fragrant and lifted for a Cabernet blend, blueberry pastille, cassis, essence of Cabenet Sauvignon, impressive purity, seamless profile, juicy and bold, perfectly ripe tannins, spicy oak, dark chocolate, orange peel complexity. Now until 2030+

75% Cabernet Sauvignon | 10 % Cabernet Franc | 10% Merlot | 5 % Malbec

Vilafonte Paarl Series M 2010 93+ Points

High intensity, impressive purity, ripe dark plums, blueberries, spicy, stony earthy note, dark chocolate, graphite complexity, juicy, bold and powerful, intense, savory, graphite follows through, cedar, tobacco, rich and warming, persistent. Now until 2025+

49% Merlot | 30% Malbec | 21 % Cabernet Sauvignon

Vilafonte Paarl Series C 2009 94 Points

Well knit after an extra year in bottle, showing pure restraint, confident style, sweet fruited, unmistakably Cabernet profile, cassis liqueur, stony complexity, dark chocolate, graphite and cedar wood note, bright texture, savory, black olive note, precise, now until 2028+

54% Cabernet Sauvignon | 11 % Cabernet Franc | 27% Merlot | 8 % Malbec

Vilafonte Paarl Series M 2009 93 Points

Confident austerity, ripe plums, dark chocolate, oak subtly integrated, juicy, rich and glossy, spicy profile, excellent purity of fruit, savory, structured. Now until 2027+
46 % Malbec  | 32% Merlot | 21 % Cabernet Sauvignon | 1 % Cabernet Franc

Vilafonte new vintages of Series M and Series C 2010

Vilafonte, name derived from the soil type found in the 40 hectares vineyard, is located in Paarl district.  

A joint venture between managing partner Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick Wine Estate in Stellenbosch and world renown viticulturist expert Phil Freese and Zelma Long, no introduction needed here, both were previously president of viticulture and cellar master at Mondavi respectively.

The first vineyard was established in 1995 with their maiden vintage in 2000, which was never bottle or released, 2003 was the first commercial released.

Four Bordeaux varieties namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec (No Petit Verdot) are grown in various 1 hectare block each, with high density planting favored, yields are naturally kept low with around 3 tons per hectare, one of the lowest in South Africa, with only 1 bunch per shoot to ensure proper and fast ripening, resulting in harvest usually being in February.

The wines are matured in a high percentage of new 225 L French oak barrels with only free run juice used and no press wine added to the blend. Maturation are 1 year for each varietal, then 1 year as a blend followed by 14 months in bottle before released.

Vilafonte focus are on two distinct blends, summed up as a "reflection of the dirt and vintage".
Series M, a Merlot or Malbec driven blend, depending on vintages strenght and Series C, a Cabernet Sauvignon driven blend.

Series M, may be describe as the "softer" of the two, juicy and bold compare to Series C, which is structured and powerful, yet both have very good ageing potential due to their concentrated profile, however irrespective of the style or blends, both have an instant appeal, when in fact it is not necessary to aged to start enjoying them, all is require are some time in a decanter, at least 2 hours and they will be perfect for pairings at the table.

Tasting the current released last week, both 2010 vintages, a striking feature was their instant seductiveness, juicy, approachable, yet with stamina for the long haul.

They were perfection all the way through and they just cannot be faulted whatsoever!

What was even more impressive, considering 2009 was one of the greatest vintages of the past 30 years in South Africa, both white and reds from quality concious producers, 2010 could have easily been over shadowed by the sheer quality of 2009, especially considering both Series M and Series C was amongst the highest rated South African Bordeaux style red blends in 2012 from major and leading International wine publications, yet the new releases shown brilliantly, they were saturated in perfectly ripe dark juicy red fruits with an impressive purity, there was precision all the way through and freshness, the wines were bright, in fact one line summed up the quality, "they have push the boat very far out" no debate. Is it even better than the 2009? I confidently think so, yet both are monumental efforts and blends.

2011 vintage will be released in March 2014

Vilafonte in a very short time period have raised the standard of red Bordeaux style blends in South Africa, so high that it is a powerful brand not to be ignored when engineering a wine lists.

Individual tasting note to follow.

Vilafonte Paarl Series M 2009 93 Points

Vilafonte Paarl Series M 2010 93+ Points

Vilafonte Paarl Series C 2009 94 Points

Vilafonte Paarl Series C 2010 94.5 Points