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Friday, November 29, 2013

Villiera Wines Monro Brut 2008 – Highly recommended – Gold Medal


At the 2013 Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge, Villiera Wines, one of the longest established MCC specialists, located in Stellenbosch, was recognized to be amongst one of the “Highly Recommended” – Gold Medal, for their flagship MCC, Monro 2008 Brut, a focus Chardonnay driven estate blend with both Pinot, lending flesh to the overall structure.
Seek it out during the festive season, it is a fantastic offerings

Besides the extensive range of wines at all price points and great consistent quality, it should be highlighted that Villiera is one of the “Greenest” wineries In the Cape, using extensive solar panels on their roof, to meet their daily electricity requirement.

Below is an exclusive interview with Jeff Grier, cellarmaster since 1983, relating to us his journey through MCC’s


Tell our readers a little more about your winery and how long you have been making wine and why your chosen location to make wine and in particular MCC, what is special about your site?
We began making bottle fermented sparkling wine in 1984 using a Champagne consultant, by the name of Jean Louis Denois. We were the first to focus on bubbly and the first to seek access to generations of know how in Champagne. Since then we have remained pioneers by being the first to launch a Rose Brut, a Brut Natural and a low alcohol bubbly. Our prestige cuvee, Monro Brut was launched in 1993 and has earned numerous important awards. We are also the only family to produce bottle fermented bubbly in the Roussillon, a beautiful region in the South of France.

When embarking on our sparkling wine project 30 years ago we recognised the benefit of our terroir for the style. The soils are light and produce delicate wines. Our early pioneering work established us as leaders in the category and it is a position we still enjoy today.

Explain us your viticultural approach and philosophy, as we all know, it’s all starts in the dirt to make very good to great wines?
We focus on the 3 Champagne varieties but include a bit of Pinotage (SA’S own variety) in our NV blends to ensure uniqueness. We combine bush vines with trellised vineyard to spread out the harvest to facilitate picking everything at optimum ripeness.

Viticulturist are very often the unsung heroes of the South African wine industry and we all know, demanding style such as MCC, needs optimum grape quality, tell us more about your viticulturist?
Simon Grier a family member and Director of Villiera is our viticulturist .He is passionate about the environment and farms in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. We use green energy (solar), offset our carbon footprint by planting indigenous trees, rehabilitate damaged areas, recycle all waste and avoid using insecticides.                                                                                                     
Our fruit is all handpicked which allows quality control and our bubbly grapes are picked early in the season before quality can be negatively affected.

MCC’s will never be Champagne, however the quality are of a very high standards and represents some of the very best value bottle sparkling wine in the world, tell us more about the climate and soil your grapes come from?
The Mediterranean climate, influenced by the prevailing South Easter in summer and North Wester in winter is ideal for viticulture. The influence of the Ocean especially the Atlantic (colder) is critical. Our soil is a light sandy soil ideal for elegant sparkling wines.

Do you have any preferences over site specific, i.e Estate / region/district/ward wine of origin over Western Cape  / Coastal Region blends, if so give us more details?
Bottle fermented bubbly is essentially a blended product which improves complexity. Specific single vineyard or Estate sites are less important. However cooler areas can contribute to freshness and buying in well suited pockets of fruit can be beneficial and improve complexity.

How long you have been making MCC?
Thirty Years (MCC since 1992 and methode champenoise before).

How many styles of MCC’s you produce under your brand?
Including our Cape Winemakers Guild Auction bubbly we make 6 styles of MCC in SA and we make one product in France.

Tell us more about your winning MCC and it’s winemaking process as well as the percentage blends if any making the final wine?
See Monro Brut 2008 fact sheet attached.

What is your view on Reserve wine added prior to dosage, what would be your average percentage, if any use in your house style?
Usage of reserve wine is less important in SA, where the climate is more consistent than in Champagne. Nevertheless we do use some reserve wine to improve complexity - up to 10% in our NV Tradition.

What MCC style are your aiming for?
We are aiming for elegance achieved by balanced acidity, delicate bubble, integrated oak if used. Some richness is required through sufficient ageing on lees.

With the new emerging market locally preferring wines with higher residual sugar, what is your philosophy on dosage and where do you draw the line?
We try to achieve a perfect balance for the international market. Emerging drinkers will quickly take to this style.

What are the source / origin of the grape(s) used in the winning wine?
Our Monro Brut is made exclusively from grapes off Villiera because these are the blocks we understand the most and it is our prestige cuvee.

Stylistically, where do you intend taking the wine in the next 5 to 10 years?
We are happy with our Monro Brut style although, going forward we wish to achieve even more richness to make it stand out more.
How many approximately bottles do you produce per each style?
 Villiera Tradition NV      250 000 btls
 Villiera Tradition Rose   100 000 btls
 Villiera Brut Natural        30 000 btls
 Villiera Starlight                30 000 btls
 Villiera Monro Brut         30 000 btls
Grier Brut (France)          15 000 btls

Countries exported?
We export  to – UK, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, USA, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, China, Hong Kong, Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion .
Top local on trade customers supporting the wines or where can your MCC be found to be purchased and enjoy?
Woolworths, Makro, Pick ‘n Pay, Ultra, Picardi, Spar, Wine Concepts, Caroline’s and Norman Goodfellows. We also have listings at numerous restaurants and hotels.

Your favorite food pairings or recommendation to be enjoyed with your winning MCC?
Great aperitif (especially But Natural and Starlight). They combine well with shell fish, delicate line fish and sushi. Oysters/caviar is a treat and some of our products go with pastry/ fruit based deserts as well as Nougat.

Do you have a special cellar door deal for readers of MCWJ to purchase your MCC over the holiday period?
Cellar door visitors quoting MCW will get a special (same as for club members).

What is the average selling of your MCC’s, cellar door / retail?
R90/bottle for NV Blends.
 R150/bottle for Vintage products.

What is approximately Villiera MCC’s productions versus other wines and what experience can visitors expect when visiting the tasting room?

Cap Classique amounts to 40% of our business , so we are focussed and visitors to Villiera can enjoy a Bubbly/Nougat pairing at R50 per person.

TIME FOR SA WINERIES TO CAPITALISE ON GROWTH IN TRAVEL FROM CHINA


ISSUED BY DKC (DE KOCK COMMUNICATIONS) ON BEHALF OF WINES OF SOUTH AFRICA (WOSA) ACTING FOR GREAT WINE CAPITALS GLOBAL NETWORK



With China now the fourth biggest source of foreign tourists to South Africa, domestic wineries should not be underestimating their buying power, according to Bradley Brouwer, South African Tourism regional manager for Asia Pacific.

Last year, over 130 000 Chinese travellers visited the country, a growth of over 50% on 2011. Numbers are expected to rise significantly after Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Jacob Zuma jointly declared 2014 the “Year of South Africa” in China, at this year's BRICS summit. Already new visa application centres have been opened in Beijing and Shanghai.

"Research shows that China is set to become the biggest market in the world for wine after the US. With the preference still very much for  imported wines, now is the time for more South African producers to start capitalising on the growth in travel and the interest in wine."

Brouwer, who has worked for South African Tourism in Asia since 2007 and currently has responsibility for the markets in China, Japan and Korea, was at Vergelegen in Helderberg to address guests attending the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards earlier today (November 27). Vergelegen was judged South Africa's outright winner at the international Great Wine Capitals annual general meeting in California earlier this month (November).

He said local wineries should capitalise more on the benefits flowing from growing Chinese affluence and interest in world travel by becoming more attuned to the needs of these tourists.
"The same holds for Japanese and Korean travellers, who are increasing in number to South Africa. Last year Japanese travel to South Africa rose by 31% on 2011."

Currently, China is number 14 on the list of South Africa's wine export destinations. Japan is in 16th place. Sales to both are rising, with sales to China up 8% for the 12 months to September, 2013, and to Japan by 31%.

He said that just because tourists were on a tight schedule and didn't necessarily spend much time at each winery they visited, it did not mean they were not interested in purchasing wine and other memorabilia.

"Visitors from Mainland China, for example, will generally travel for eight to 14 days. They come to South Africa for the scenic beauty, the culture, the history, the wildlife and, increasingly, for the wine and opportunity to play golf. They can accommodate no more than two wineries and they want to be hosted with efficiency and cultural respect. They want to taste, take pictures and buy wine, with the facilities readily available to courier their purchases back home. They are not interested in long narratives or being kept waiting."

Visits to wineries generally lasted between 45 and 90 minutes, he said.

He stressed the importance of gearing up for large groups. "In the first quarter of 2014, for example, we have a group of 5 000 visitors to the Winelands within the space of a week. This is just the tip of the iceberg if the potential is managed correctly."

Wineries could enhance their relationships with Asian visitors by providing take-away information in Mandarin for the Chinese, and translating such information into Japanese and Korean for consumers from these markets. "Giving tourism offices information in these languages would also help them in raising the media profile of South Africa and its wineries."

Mainland China's interest in celebrities and icons had prompted SA Tourism to regularly host high-profile personalities on visits to South Africa, ensuring they visited iconic spots like Table Mountain, Robben Island, Boulders Beach (to see the penguins), and the V&A Waterfront. "Local wineries have not yet acquired iconic status but by raising their media profile, especially through social media, this is possible."

He urged wineries to focus not just on large-scale groups but on the increasing number of Asian tourists coming as family units. "Most Chinese couples have one child. Provide activities for the children and show them educational audio-visual material so they can learn about South African wine. They are your future consumers."

He said the potential growth of the conferencing market was also significant. "Wineries may not be hosting the conferences but delegates will definitely be visiting wine farms as part of their itineraries.


Brouwer also urged wineries to acknowledge the customs of their visitors. "Never take a business card and put it in your pocket. Take it with both hands and do not put it away until your visitors have left. Avoid black or white or black and white packaging as these colours symbolise death, as does the number 4."

THREE SHIPS WHISKY IS IN TOP SEVEN IN THE WORLD AT NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL SPIRITS COMPETITION



The two proudly South African premium whiskies, Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish and Three Ships Premium Select 5 Year Old, are among only seven whiskies from around the world to receive a double gold award at the 2013 New York International Spirits Competition.

The competition, now currently in its 4th year, sees spirits from 37 countries competing against each other and with only 48% of entries receiving awards, the competition is fierce. The impressive judging panel of trade judges includes buyers, retail store owners, restaurant and bar proprietors, distributors and importers – the very individuals who have a direct impact on sales.


The Three Ships Premium Select 5 Year Old is an artful blend of grain and malt whiskies, aged for a minimum of five years in oak casks. The whisky is robust, aromatic and unpretentious with a full peaty character, ending in a lingering, warm finish. The Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish is initially matured for three years, after which the final blend spends a further six months in oak casks originally used for bourbon. This results in the slight honeyed sweetness on the nose. The vanilla notes on the palate are complemented by subtle hints of pepper and spice, ending with a lingering finish and a hint of flavour from the bourbon casks.


The Three Ships Premium Select 5 Year Old and the Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish are both available from leading liquor outlets and retail for about R120 and R149 respectively.

BAIN’S CAPE MOUNTAIN WHISKY IS SETTING THE TREND IN NEW YORK CITY



Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, the proudly South African single grain premium whisky, stole the show at this year’s New York International Spirits Competition, when it received a double gold award.

The distinctive taste of Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky has impressed the palates of elite whisky connoisseurs around the world to such an extent, that it has received prestigious accolades at all the major international whisky competitions. It is one of the most talked about whiskies in the world, since being awarded the World’s Best Grain Whisky at the 2013 World Whisky Awards held in March this year.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is crafted from the finest South African grain and holds toffee, floral and vanilla aromas softened by sweet, spicy undertones, a warm mouth-feel and a long, smooth finish. The whisky is double-matured, spending three years in casks previously used for bourbon and then re-vatted for a period of time in a fresh set of casks. This allows maximum interaction between the wood and the whisky.

Distilled at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is inspired by the natural beauty of the Bain’s Kloof Pass.  The whisky pays tribute to Andrew Geddes Bain, the pioneering pass builder who planned and built Bain’s Kloof Pass in 1853 to connect Wellington to the interior.


Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is available from leading liquor outlets and retails for about R220.

Fleur du Cap teams upwith Nataniël at the Oude Libertas Theatre

Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, Stellenbosch – Fri 13 & Sat 14 December 2013


Fleur du Cap wines have paired up with Nataniël, one of South Africa’s iconic, home grown comedians, for two evenings of wine and entertainment at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbbosch on Friday, 13 and Saturday, 14 December 2013.

In his latest offering, N PEOPLE (inspired by British pop band, M PEOPLE), Nataniël presents an evening of song coupled with a collection of his newest stories in both, English and Afrikaans, all wrapped up in an assortment of his spectacular trademark costumes.  


As part of the entertainment guests will be welcomed with a glass of Fleur du Cap Chenin Blanc, Merlot or Chardonnay paired with gourmet snacks including olives, cheese straws and popcorn prepared with a variety of artisanal salts. Nataniël fans who what to learn more about the elegant, nature inspired Fleur du Cap Unfiltered wines, will have the opportunity to book a VIP Fleur du Cap tasting experience, pairing five Fleur du Cap wines with salted delicacies, prior to the show.

N People starts at 20h15 on Friday, 13 and Saturday, 14 December 2013 at the Oude Libertas Theatre. For more information, visit oudelibertas.co.za.


Alternatively, if you have not been able to get tickets to the show, the Fleur du Cap Wine and Salt tastings are offered daily at Die Bergkelder in Stellenbosch. For bookings, contact Nadia Ferreira on Tel: 021 809 8025 or nferreira@distell.co.za.

Wondrous Wednesday summer pairings at J.C. Le Roux’s Le Venue

Issued by GC Communications on behalf of: The House of J.C. Le Roux       

 JC Leroux La Fleurette

Uplift your Wednesdays with a choice of gorgeous summer fare paired with a complimentary glass of Méthode Cap Classique or sparkling wine at Le Venue, the stylish restaurant at The House of J.C. Le Roux, situated in Devon Valley in the heart of the Stellenbosch Winelands.

JC Leroux Brut

These Wednesday only summer afternoon combos give you a choice of two light savoury eats or a dessert, each paired with a glass of bubbly courtesy of J.C. Le Roux. For the blushing J.C. Le Roux La Fleurette, Le Venue has created a sumptuous gourmet flat bread topped with salmon and a sparkling beetroot jelly, parmesan shavings and fresh watercress and rocket for just R85. The second light meal option, canapés in a basket at R100, a delightful savoury indulgence of chichen skewers, beef kebabs and Thai spring rolls, is paired with a glass of the crisp and refreshing J.C. Le Roux Brut Cap Classique. For the sweet tooth, a glass of J.C. Le Roux La Vallée is the perfect Cap Classique to enjoy with the dessert platter. At just R75 per person, it is full of lip smacking treats such the to-die-for peanut butter ice cream, berry mousse, fresh strawberries and the ever-so-modish red velvet chocolate brownie. 



These Wednesday only pairings are available between 15h00 and 18h00 throughout summer from 1 December until the end of March 2014.

Be sure to pop in at The House of J.C. Le Roux, to check out the special summer holiday deals on all Cap Classique and sparkling wine purchases. There are great prizes up for grabs and a complimentary nougat bar if you purchase two bottles of La Vallée or La Vallée Rosé while stocks last!


The House of J.C. Le Roux is open seven days a week. Le Venue is open Monday to Friday from 09h00 till 18h00. Saturdayfrom 09h00 to 16h00 and Sunday 09h00 to 14h00. Please note that the Le Venue kitchen closes half an hour prior to closing time. To avoid disappointment, book at 021 865 8222. Visit www.jcleroux.co.zawww.facebook.com/HouseofJCLeroux or follow @LeGoodLife on Twitter.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

SUNSET CONCERT WITH GERRIE PRETORIUS AT DURBANVILLE HILLS

ISSUED BY DKC (DE KOCK COMMUNICATIONS) ON BEHALF OF DURBANVILLE HILLS WINES

Gerrie Pretorius

Enjoy a glass of Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc, as you watch the sun setting over Table Bay and Table Mountain with a memorable performance by Gerrie Pretorius on Friday, 31 January 2014 - all in aid of the Môresterretjies crèche.

The crèche is a day-care centre for the children of farm workers in the Durbanville area. It was established by community groups including Durbanville Hills’ member farmers, Kenridge NG Church and social services organisation, BADISA.

Proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales will help fund the crèche, where trained teachers take care of the well-being and early learning development of children between the ages of three and five.


The performance of Gerrie Pretorius, one of South Africa’s most versatile singers, will include all the songs that he has become so popular for.  Bring your own picnic blanket (no chairs allowed) as well as your own picnic basket, or pre-order one from the Durbanville Hills restaurant (which includes a bottle of Durbanville Hills’ Merlot Rosé) at R310 per couple. The picnic option for the little ones is charged at R75 per child. The restaurant will also have chicken burgers available at R35 each. Durbanville Hills’ wines will be on sale as well as hot chocolate, coffee, tea and cold drinks.

Marchesi di Gresy Langhe Barbera d’Asti 2012 92+ Points



Bright purple, fragrant, perfectly ripe blueberries, cherries, sanguine, spicy note, vibrant texture, purity follows through, precise, crunchy, lots of energy, textured, impressive indeed! Now until 2017+
Paired with pan seared ox livers with Madeira sauce

Kanonkop Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 93+ Points

Denser color than 1993 and marginally ripe, nevertheless a confident style with impressive purity, classic nose, juicy, so fresh and elegant, textured, impressive indeed.
Alcohol: high | 14%abv

Origin: Simonsberg - Stellenbosch

Notes: cassis | blackcurrant | mint | earthy

Ideal drinking occasions: very special occasions

Serve with: roast beef ribs


Drink: now until 2022+

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

South Africa's Best Rose MCC's Sparkling Wine of 2013 - Graham Beck Wines



At the 2013 Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge, Graham Beck Wines, located in Robertson, about 160 km north east of Cape Town, was one of the best performers, winning both Rose class as South Africa’s best, for their 2009 Vintage and Non Vintage Rose, as well as a “Highly Recommended – Gold Medal”  for their 2009  Blanc de Blancs Brut. 
Three great MCC’s to toast Christmas and the New Year festivities

When asking sommeliers around the world about quality South African MCC’s, Graham Beck is always the first brand that get mentioned and in most case the only MCC they lists, testament of the ground breaking work Graham Beck have done over the years in the “fields”……

Below is an exclusive interview with Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira, Graham Beck cellarmaster since 1990 and arguably South Africa’s most experienced MCC genius, about their house style, winemaking philosophy, sourcing of the grapes for the range, and what makes Graham Beck MCC’s specials and unique.



Tell our readers a little more about your winery and how long you have been making wine and why your chosen location to make wine and in particular MCC, what is special about your site?

It was the vision of Graham Beck who knew that Robertson with its high natural limestone would one day become one of the more important areas for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for Cap Classique. So I joined Graham Beck in 1990 and we purposely developed a cellar to specialise in Méthode Cap Classique.. So our maiden vintage was made ‘under the stars’ in 1991.

Unique soils are the humble underlying quality factor that produces good natural acidity in the base wines. Robertson region is on a continental shelf and has warm days but extremely cool nights which is great for early ripening varieties.

Explain us your viticultural approach and philosophy, as we all know, it’s all starts in the dirt to make very good to great wines?

Limestone, limestone – Robertson has the highest natural limestone deposits in the Western Cape. Viticulturaly each of our Estate grown vineyard blocks are farmed for specifically to a wine style.
Being in Robertson we have a motto of “Managing the sunshine” in the vineyards. We also see the sunshine to be our secret weapon. The vineyards are farmed in a way to secure extra shade in the fruit zone.

Viticulturist are very often the unsung heroes of the South African wine industry and we all know, demanding style such as MCC, needs optimum grape quality, tell us more about your viticulturist?

Pieter Fouche has been our viticulturist for the last 18 years and has an ‘iron fist’ that rules the vineyards for optimum grape quality. He has developed a fine art in the ratio to growth of the canopy and the production level. He uses incredible tools such as GIS (G…… Information System) to monitor the stress and vigour of each block of vines. He is currently rated in the Robertson region in the top 3 of viticulturists. Indeed a great accolade.

MCC’s will never be Champagne, however the quality are of a very high standards and represents some of the very best value bottle sparkling wine in the world, tell us more about the climate and soil your grapes come from?

MCC remains the better alternative to Champagne. I respect Champagne for what it stands for and it is – I will always use this as my ultimate benchmark. Graham Beck Wines over the years have established themselves as one of the leading producers. I agree that South Africa remains as the best value for bottle fermented sparkling wine in the world. Today 85% of our total grape production for Cap Classique is grown on our Estate in Robertson.

Robertson has a continental influence with rich limestone deposits and some Shale and Red Karoo soils. It is much different to the Coastal influence areas with its Decomposed Granite and Table Mountain Sandstone. We own two farms on the Helderberg Ridge outside Stellenbosch. The Pinot Noir that grows here goes all the way to Robertson for our MCC production.



Do you have any preferences over site specific, i.e Estate / region/district/ward wine of origin over Western Cape  / Coastal Region blends, if so give us more details?

Well I know that Robertson is brilliant and so do other producers J Over the years it is rewarding and interesting to see how many Cap Classique producers buying Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in this area. The latest ward classification rather having reference to region or district is far more interesting. Ward are far more precise and closer to the terroir principle.

How long you have been making MCC?

For a very, very long time. My MCC career started in 1984 when I started with the legendary Achim von Arnim producing Pierre Jourdan I spent seven magical years with him and joined/started Graham Beck Wines in Robertson with the maiden vintage in 1991. I really consider myself as a specialist MCC winemaker and no wonder today bubbles in my blood and I am also affectionately known as “Bubbles” Ferreira.

How many styles of MCC’s you produce under your brand?

We currently have a portfolio of 7 different MCC’s at Graham Beck Wines representing a Non Vintage, Vintage and Prestige portfolio.


Tell us more about your winning MCC and it’s winemaking process as well as the percentage blends if any making the final wine?

We were extremely lucky to win both categories of the Rose. So I guess we ‘own’ this category for the next while. We won the Best Vintage Rose category with our Graham Beck Rose Vintage 2009 – A blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay with minimum 3 years on the lees prior to disgorgement. This MCC is unique and one of a kind as the blend is a co-pressed blend rather than blending the various base wines after the fermentation. We won the Best Non Vintage Rose category with our Graham Beck Brut Rose NV – A blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay with 18 months lees contact prior disgorgement. The colour is derived from a short enzymatic period while the Pinot Noir travels from Stellenbosch and other areas. This give just enough colour as a base to blend with Chardonnay.


What is your view on Reserve wine added prior to dosage, what would be your average percentage, if any use in your house style?

Most important to maintain continuity and consistency in a house style. Our house style is expressed by our Non Vintage and we have remained using reserve wine from time to time to ensure the consistency. We use our Reserve wine as a solera whenever it is needed. Depending on the new Non Vintage blend of each year we will used anything from 5 to 12 %. It is all about the balance at the end of the day. To me you have to have a ‘golden tread’ running though each year.

What MCC style are your aiming for?

The one the consumer really likes J but on a serious note as a house style we strive for an Aperitif in style. It is one of elegance and finesse which cleans the palate and stimulates one for what happens next.

With the new emerging market locally preferring wines with higher residual sugar, what is your philosophy on dosage and where do you draw the line?

There is a definite niche for the slightly sweeter style. Such as a Sec or Demi-Sec opens it to a complete new emerging MCC drinker and we know if we can meet them on this level than the journey just starts and they can one hell of a journey. At Graham Beck Wines we have the “Bliss” Demi-Sec and we are slowly making in-roads into the new emerging local market. Drawing the line remains inconclusive! And I guess it is the same as asking “how long is a piece of string”  

What are the source / origin of the grape(s) used in the winning wine?

Having two winners let me explain…. The Graham Beck Brut Rose NV (NV Rose Winner) comes from 85% Estate fruit grown on our properties in Robertson and Stellenbosch while the balance comes from 7 other geographical areas in the Western Cape. Our Vintage Rose (Vintage Rose winner) comes from 100% Estate grown fruit. Chardonnay from Robertson and Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch.

Stylistically, where do you intend taking the wine in the next 5 to 10 years?

The ultimate challenge is to maintain consistency and continuity. Cap Classique and therefore Champagne remains the only ‘brand loyal’ wine category. The consumer knows what they like. I think our portfolio has got a good balance and expression of various styles that the consumer enjoys and understand. If the is something that I would love to add?... Yes. So indeed watch this space…..

How many approximately bottles do you produce per each style?

For the two winning wines the Rose Vintage is 65 000 Bottles and for the Brut Rose NV it is 360 000 bottles

Countries exported?

USA, Sweden, UK, rest of Europe, Japan and Indian Islands.


Top local on trade customers supporting the wines or where can your MCC be found to be purchased and enjoy?

We have great supporters from top local on-trade and off-trade customers.

Your favorite food pairings or recommendation to be enjoyed with your winning MCC?

With the Rose Vintage – Roasted leg or breast of duck with a reduction of citrus. With the Rose NV alfresco snappering is a great combination.

Do you have a special cellar door deal for readers of MCWJ to purchase your MCC over the holiday period?

We will always accommodate the readers to purchase our MCC at cellar door. We have a great special via our Signature Wine Club and they will benefit from that should they get to our cellar door in Robertson during the holiday period.

What is the average selling of your MCC’s, cellar door / retail?

The winning Rose Vintage normal cellar door price is R 205 a bottle while the winning Rose NV normal cellar door price is R 115 a bottle.


Thank you

Kanonkop Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 94 Points


Color holding very well, garnet rim, plush and elegant, tertiary Medoc like character, herbaceous but not green, savoury, a revelation indeed for a 20+ years Simonsberg – Stellenbosch red, as fresh as a daisy with amazing purity, minty freshness, impressive length, benchmark South African Cabernet.
Alcohol: moderate | 13%abv

Origin: Simonsberg - Stellenbosch

Notes: preserved blackcurrant | cassis | spicy | olive | cigar

Ideal drinking occasions: very special occasions

Serve with: roasted veal rack


Drink: now until 2020+

Marchesi di Gresy Langhe Sauvignon Blanc 2012 91+ Points



Sauvignon Blanc from Piedmont, showing delicately perfume, floral, talc character, excellent purity with lemon zest, somehow atypical, as it is nowhere between Loire or New World, in fact as it was tasted blind, I will put more towards a ripe Chenin in character.

Gentle, textural restraint profile, yet have bright and lively acidity, has cut, crunchy lemony freshness,spoil yourself this festive season. Just under R 200 / bottle, from Wine Cellar.

Drink now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2003 92+ Points




Dense, slightly more evolved than elegant 1998, probably due to the riper profile, fruit still in the primary phase for a 10 years old Pinotage, not often encountered, plush tannins, richly textured, juicy, broad, persistent lenght

Alcohol: very high | 14.5 % abv

Origin: Simonsberg - Stellenbosch

Notes: plums | blackberries | leather | tobacco | cigar

Ideal drinking occasions: special occasions in winter

Serve with: grilled kudu loin


Drink: now until 2023+

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ayama Wines Cap Classique


At the 2013 Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge, Ayama Wines, located in Paarl, was one of the 24 wineries to be awarded with a “Highly Recommended – Gold Medal” recognition, with their 2009 MCC’s, Pinot Noir & Chardonnay Brut, a fantastic quality sparkling wine, to impress your friends!

Positioned in the Perdeberg foothills, 100% Italian investment, making wine since 2005 by winemaking and viticulturists duo, Michela Sfiligoi and Attilio Dalpiaz.


Below is an exclusive interview with Michela and Attilio about their house style, winemaking philosophy, sourcing of the grapes for his range, and what makes their sparkling wine specials, they are certainly worth a visit (by appointment) over the holiday and festive season and their bubblies, should be high on your purchase lists, this summer, seek them out at Food Lovers Market.

Tell our readers a little more about your winery and how long you have been making wine and why your chosen location to make wine and in particular MCC, what is special about your site?

It was a beautiful sunny day, when we first saw SLENT in January 2004. It was love at first sight: we knew this place was special, and would mean so much to us. Both passionate about agriculture and wine, proudly Italian but in love with South Africa, with its history, its people and its awesome natural environment, we were looking for a farm to buy and live. It is almost 10 years now since that day and we have worked hard to understand climate, soils, varietals, bio-diversity and different cultures. It has taken some time to adapt Italian roots to all this. But belief and passion gave us the ability to rise to the challenge, and the strength to succeed.  The first day of the harvest in 2005 was unforgettable, and it will be part of the Slent story for ever. We named the wines  “AYAMA” – a Xhosa word meaning “someone to lean on” – as owners  we believe Slent adventure leans on friendship and love for nature and people.  Together with our partners,  all Italian friends who love South Africa and have deep faith in its future, we wish to keep this farm deeply connected to its vibrant past, and to grow the place and its people towards an even better future. Producing MCC was a dream for us when we were living in Italy and it became true in SA. We just love them.

Explain us your viticultural approach and philosophy, as we all know, it’s all starts in the dirt to make very good to great wines?

Attilio has always been exposed to different approaches and philosophies being consulting different farms in Friuli (North East of Italy) as agronomist. After few years on Slent and willing to produce very good bubbles we both agreed on sourcing the best grapes in cooler areas. Both our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are sourced in farms located in Robertson and  Elgin. Character, finesse and flavors are special on these areas.

Viticulturist are very often the unsung heroes of the South African wine industry and we all know, demanding style such as MCC, needs optimum grape quality, tell us more about your viticulturist?

Most is said above, except for he is surely not unsung hero here at Slent being the most beloved man and boss, especially for his cooking! J

MCC’s will never be Champagne, however the quality are of a very high standards and represents some of the very best value bottle sparkling wine in the world, tell us more about the climate and soil your grapes come from?

Robertson and Elgin are great areas for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.The climate can be described as Mediterranean. Within these areas the vineyards are planted in different soils on varying slopes and this adds to the complexity of fruit.

Do you have any preferences over site specific, i.e Estate / region/district/ward wine of origin over Western Cape  / Coastal Region blends, if so give us more details?

The amazing thing in South Africa for us is the possibility of grapes in different areas than ours. We love the Voor Paardeberg, but surely to warm for grapes for bubbles. Our MCCs are Western Cape blends, being selecting in different areas.

How long you have been making MCC?

We started with 2008 vintage.

How many styles of MCC’s you produce under your brand?

We do have a Blanc de Blancs, a Brut and a Rosè.

Tell us more about your winning MCC and it’s winemaking process as well as the percentage blends if any making the final wine?

AYAMA MCC Brut 2009 is a combination of Pinot noir 54% and Chardonnay 46%. Matured on lees, in bottle for 24 months.

The grapes were hand harvested into bins, in the cool of the morning. They were then whole-bunch pressed and only free run juice was used for final blend. Select yeast was used for primary fermentation followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine was blended and bottled, where it then underwent the iconic MCC fermentation. This was followed by bottle maturation of approximately 24 months, and only then was it disgorged, corked and labelled.


What is your view on Reserve wine added prior to dosage, what would be your average percentage, if any use in your house style?

We are more Italian style oriented, we love the freshness and the character of the 100% vintage declared on the label. Might be difficult some years to get the same standard, but isn’t it fun to have a challenge like working on difficult vintages?

What MCC style are your aiming for?

Elegant and lively with upfront fruit, yet creamy with slight bread dough and layered mineral flavours.

With the new emerging market locally preferring wines with higher residual sugar, what is your philosophy on dosage and where do you draw the line?

We love dry MCCs. Sugar levels around 8. Surely not the preferred style in some countries, but diversity is the unique beauty of being making wine. We have a great number of Ayama lovers  who would not like a different style.

Stylistically, where do you intend taking the wine in the next 5 to 10 years?

We would love to keep the style, but increase the quality and longevity.

How many approximately bottles do you produce per each style?

12,000 each of the 3 MCCs.

Countries exported?

Belgium, Italy J, Germany, Japan, Korea, Thailand.

Top local on trade customers supporting the wines or where can your MCC be found to be purchased and enjoy?

Food Lovers Market! And we deliver country wide to lots of people buying directly from the farm.
Some restaurants and boutique wine stores are starting buying as well.

Your favorite food pairings or recommendation to be enjoyed with your winning MCC?

We enjoy this bubbly well chilled, on its own or with oysters, sushi and other delicate seafood dishes, or with a variety of entrées. Being Italians we sometimes like it with nice Prosciutto!


Do you have a special cellar door deal for readers of MCWJ to purchase your MCC over the holiday period?

We would love to offer it at the special price of R95.00 FREE delivery for 12 bottles all over the country!

What is the average selling of your MCC’s, cellar door / retail?

It is R119.00 excluding delivery. Food Lovers Market is retailing at R100.00