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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kanonkop Estate Pinotage, Stellenbosch 2008 92 Points


Great purity, clean, with perfectly ripe note of blackberry and plums, almonds note, paprika, spicy layers, juicy, elegantly structured, bright freshness, textured, plush yet with good tannic grip argurs well for further development if one want to cellar over the next 6 to 8 years (2019 – 2021). 50% of the vineyards are older than 40 years old. Now until 2025+

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rickety Bridge Blanc de Blancs Brut 2009 - Outstanding Double Gold medal - South Africa's Best Vintage Blanc de Blancs 2013



Rickety Bridge, located in Franschhoek walk away with an Outstanding Double Gold medal (average score of over 90 points) as well as having the highest score in the Blanc de Blancs category for their vintage 2009, a 100% Franschhoek Chardonnay, was awarded South Africa’s best vintage Blanc de Blancs for 2013 at Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge.

Here under and exclusive interview with Wynand Grobler, cellar master of Rickety Bridge, relating his wine making philosophy in crafting a world class traditional method sparkling wine


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?

I have been at making wine at Rickety Bridge for 6 years now since November 2007 and we have an old school approach to making wine with limited interference in the cellar, we do the hard graft in the vineyards and allow them to show us their full potential in the cellar.

Franschhoek has amazing vineyards and this is exactly why we decided to make this MCC from this perfect site for Chardonnay grapes. The decomposed granite soils give the wine structure and complexity but great finesse and linearity.

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 follow sustainable practices in the vineyards where we don’t use any herbicide or pesticide. This is obviously great for nature in the long run! The vineyards also seem to crop and find that perfect balance by themselves. We find the vines are naturally in balance and more concentrated. We choose our sites and soil types on the wine styles we would like to make and believe this also gives the wines consistency.



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?

With great and skilled teams in the vineyards it makes it easy for me to manage and source our vineyards and grapes. As you can gather our approach is very much that the wine is made in the vineyard so viticultural practices are key.

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?

As an industry we are still learning but top South African bubbly can rival that of Champagne any day. We have sunny slopes that are cool in the evenings with great soils that lends itself to make world class bubbly.

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?

Franschhoek has exploded lately with many of the top wines in SA carrying the Wine of Origin Franschhoek. Here we have the potential to make well-structured elegant wines with identity and character, so I have to say Franschhoek is my regional favourite by a long way.

How long you have been making MCC?

Since 2009

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

Two – Blanc de blancs vintage and Brut Rose

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 stick to basics and work to keep the wine clean and neutral with secondary aging characters most important. The wine is made from 100% Chardonnay of which half is barrel fermented and aged in old small French oak.  After 6 months the two components are blended and bottled and left to mature on the lees - in this case for longer than 40 months!

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

About 10% of the wine is reserve wine that is added prior to bottling and this adds to the fullness and complexity of the wine.

What MCC style are your aiming for?

We aim to have a classy, well integrated, biscuity driven Blanc de blancs that leaves your palate refreshed with length and aftertaste. Although 50% of the wine is barrel fermented and aged we don’t want oaky caramel to be the wines primary flavour profile, freshness must ultimately prevail.

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?

Dosage is good as long as it adds to the wine and doesn’t bland or sweet it out. I strive (with all our wines) to find that perfect balance between acidity and sweetness and if that balance is achieved we find it is well received no matter what the residual sugar is.

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

Franschhoek

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

We are very happy with the style and will stick to our guns with this wine, working and focusing even harder to get the best grapes out of the vineyards.

How many approximately bottles do you produce per each style?

Between 2000 and 4500btls

Countries exported?

Our MCC is currently only exported to Europe and the UK

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

Currently from the Estate

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

Nothing, it’s great on its own…..and then of course oysters, pavlova with berries, salmon and creme fraiche

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

We can offer readers a 10% off cellar door prices



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


Blanc de blancs = R170, Brut Rose= R125

Cape Vintner Classification (CVC) launched

Cape Vintner Classification (CVC) launched


CVC a project spearheaded by Johann Rupert, can only argurs well for the future of the wine industry, , an independent association aiming to build South Africa’s reputation as a world class wine producer, by promoting the Cape’s distinctive site specific wines, i.e recognition of great terroir.



The association currently consists of 29 privately owned estate wineries,  recognized and acknowledged for their ethical accreditation, from diverse regions, districts and wards, covering Constantia, Durbanville, Elgin, Franschhoek, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Robertson, Stellenbosch and Wellington.

The aim of CVC is to establish a transparent system of recognition and classifications with their members producing good wines with a focus on sound environmental and labor approach.

All members have a minimum of 20 ha of established vineyards or a minimum of 5 ha of these vineyards are established on the same land as the winemaking facility, with a minimum capacity of 100 tons, under direct control of the estate’s management

Members are audited by an independent committee, with a grading system covering their vineyard and winemaking facilities, and have to meet technical specifications, such as cellar door facilities on the same property as their winemaking facilities, are open to public at least 6 days per week, for tasting and purchasing of wines


Currently applicants for membership of the CVC include





























Windfall Mendola Chardonnay Brut MCC 2007 - Highly Recommended


Windfall Wine Farm, a boutique winery, located in Robertson district is a relatively unknown MCC producer, not only it is their maiden vintage, there were recognized for producing an exceptional and Highly Recommended Gold Medal MCC, at the 2013 Amorim Tsogo Sun Cap Classique Challenge with a production of around 1500 bottles of a finely textured vintage Chardonnay Brut, limited availability, but sufficient for those making the effort to seek it out, it is currently only available locally, not yet internationally, great value at R 120/bottle



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?

Windfall is a family owned farm that started out small with only 3 varietals.  We have slowly introduced new wines into our range and this includes our MCC.  Our first vintage was in 2006 and this MCC is our first.  We like to make small volumes of above average style, and have had lots of fun developing new wines and blends to add to our range.  

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?
Our approach is simple with the well known basics:  Medium production, leaf/canopy management, water management as well as pest /weed control, and last but not least, passion.  



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?

Jaco de Wet is a well experienced vineyard/wine farmer. You will notice him with a blue overall, Tarzan shoes and always in a hurry on Yamaha Field motor-bike to organize and delegate every-one.  He is very hands-on and takes no nonsense. THAT CREATES THE PERFECT VINE.

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?

Windfall’s Chardonnay grows in sandy, alluvial and Table mountain sandstone soils.  Mostly with minimum water retention, with irrigation taking place every second day,  this is all dependent on the climate.  Our cool days are roughly 25-28 degrees and the warmer days 30-32 in January to Feb.  Around 16:00 almost daily there are cooling breezes which roll down the southern slopes and cool the vineyards slightly, the temperature can drop to about 15 degrees early morning.


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?

I have noticed in my experience that vine’s and the wine produced benefit greatly when slopes and mountains are combined and all the best attributes of both are considered carefully with the desired wine in mind.  I am familiar with the elements in the Robertson area and I am happy with the elegant wines we are producing.  

How long you have been making MCC?  

Since 2007

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

We only have the one currently.  

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

100% Chardonnay, first free run, 19 Balling, on the lees for 6 years.

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

No Reserve wine, maturation in glass is suitable for Windfall.



What MCC style are your aiming for?

A Full-bodied, rich in flavour MCC with bright acid and balanced dosage

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?

Residual Sugars of 12 to 14 with medium acid is well balanced is best suited to my wine making style, as well as leaving the MCC to age and to not drink it too soon. 

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

Windfall, Robertson, Western Cape

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

As this is our first vintage and we are happy with the outcome, we will most likely keep to our current style.  

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

Franschhoek wines, La Verne, Ashton R62, For the Love of Wine in PE, as well as direct orders from Bianca or from our website.

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

Cheese, olives, seafood dishes.  Nothing too spicy or dominating to take away the freshness of the MCC.  Superb on its own too!

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


R 120 

Friday, December 6, 2013

NEDERBURG VENTURES EAST


Emma Chen (front right) and her team, Tom Tan (front left), Alfos Ndlovu (back left) and Thembi Khumalo (back right).

To show just how versatile Nederburg wines are and also to highlight their increasing popularity in the East, a group of Gauteng media and Cape Wine Masters were recently treated to an Asian-inspired culinary feast, created by Emma Chen of the well-known Red Chamber restaurant.

Makoma Manyama of Blaque and Danél Odendaal of De Kat.

The meal was served with Nederburg wines awarded trophies and other top honours during 2013.

Cellar master Razvan Macici was accompanied by Wilhelm Pienaar, who makes Nederburg's reds under his direction, and the newly appointed Natasha Williams, who similarly makes the whites.

Thando Moleketi of Jozifoodfix.blogspot.com

The idea for the event was prompted by Nederburg’s stellar performance at the recent 2013 China Perfect Pairing Awards. 

Freelance wine and food writer, Lyn Woodward, and Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright of Winestyle.

Nederburg white winemaker Natasha Williams introduces Nederburg Private Bin D234 Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Cape Wine Masters Kristina Beuthner (left) and Cathy White (right) with Nederburg cellar master Razvan Macici (middle).

Nederburg Private Bin D234 Sauvignon Blanc 2012 served with an Asian three salad combination including Sichuan peppercorn-infused bean sprouts, tofu with wood ear mushrooms and egg as well as spicy cucumber


Nederburg Private Bin R181 Merlot 2009 with Peking duck, spring onions, bean paste, cucumber and pancakes

Nederburg II Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 with stir-fried prawns, mixed vegetables and cashews


Nederburg R163 Private Bin Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 served with beef fillet in black bean sauce


RIESLING ROCKS RETURNS TO HARTENBERG WINE ESTATE 25 JANUARY 2014

RIESLING ROCKS RETURNS TO HARTENBERG WINE ESTATE
25 JANUARY 2014
ISSUED BY SMART COMMUNICATIONS & EVENTS ON BEHALF OF HARTENBERG ESTATE










Get the New Year into gear and head off to Hartenberg Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Winelands for the annual Riesling Rocks Festival, which takes place on Saturday, 25 January 2014. Taste the finest flagship Rieslings from South Africa’s top wine producers paired with gourmet deli fare.

Celebrated Hartenberg winemaker, Carl Shultz, regarded as one of the country’s finest Riesling masters, has invited the crème de la crème of cellars to showcase their premium Weisser/Rhine Rieslings at this fabulous food and wine celebration.

Regarded as one of the most versatile of all wines, Riesling is the perfect partner to just about any type of food. Dry style Rieslings enhance the flavours of a wide range of dishes from sushi and gravadlax to oysters and antipasti.  Off-dry Rieslings make excellent pairings with spicier foods such as Thai prawns, chorizo or even herring and roll mops, with the sweeter Rieslings ideally suited to cutting through rich foods such as pâtés and terrines, duck and roast pork, and perfect for curries. Rieslings also make fine dessert wines ideally suited to fruit tarts, cheeses, pecan nut pie and even a tangy lemon tart. 


Be sure not to miss out on this wine and food extravaganza, set up in a garden party theme, perfectly suited to the long summer days in January, where festival goers will be able to sample these fine wines between 12pm and 5pm on Saturday, 25 January. Tickets cost R120 per person, available directly from www.webtickets.co.za., includes all tastings and a complementary tasting glass. Live entertainment will make for a memorable experience and to ensure you don’t go hungry delicious treats will be available for purchase from the various deli stalls on the day.


For more information contact Hartenberg Estate on 021 865 2541, email info@hartenbergestate.com or visit their website on www.hartenbergestate.com.

BUSHMANSKLOOF WINE LIST SCORES IN ‘TOP 100 SA WINE LIST CHALLENGE 2014’




With a score of 90+ (out of 100), Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat is one of only five restaurants in South Africa to have received the highest accolade in the recently announced Top 100 SA Wine List Challenge 2014, in the Fine Dining / Long Wine List category. Cited as ‘inspirational’, the wine list also won the ‘Best Regional Selection Award’, as one of six ‘Unique Awards’ judged by a panel of renowned wine experts.

Mike Bampfield-Duggan of Wine Concepts Newlands has been instrumental as wine consultant to Bushmans Kloof since 1998, assisting the team with the layout and selection of wines. Under his management, the Bushmans Kloof wine list has been voted amongst the best in the country year on year, most recently raking in the prestigious Diamond Award in the Diners Club Winelist Awards for the ninth time.

He says: ‘Wine Concepts are proud of the Top 100 Awards deservedly given to the outstanding Bushmans Kloof wine list.  Bushmans Kloof, along with other successful lodges and hotels, understands the value of a fine wine list which not only complements the food, but allows guests to try an interesting and varied selection of wines from smaller boutique and less commercial wineries, many of which are offered by the glass.’  

The Top 100 SA Wine List judging panel comprised of Challenge Chair Jörg Pfützner; Founder Judge and Founding Member of the SA Sommelier Association (SASA) Higgo Jacobs; well-known Lifestyle Blogger Dax Villanueva and Wine Journalist Joanne Gibson. Almost 70 fine dining establishments entered the challenge, with a total of 30 restaurants receiving awards.

The Top 100 judging methodology is based on a documented process using a simple yet effective 100 point scoring system, with transparency and objectivity setting the standard. Judging criteria for the Fine Dining / Long Wine List award included presentation; wine service; depth, breadth & balance for both South African and international content; glassware; quality, range and setting; BYO clarity; and cellaring and cellar conditions.

Bushmans Kloof Food & Beverage Manager Michael Bouic is delighted: ‘To have this year won an Inspiration Fine Dining / Long Wine List Award and also the Best Regional Selection Special Award is a phenomenal achievement for us.  We are known for our fine service and brilliant array of wines on our list and these awards make the team terrifically proud.’

As a winning restaurant Relais & Châteaux member Bushmans Kloof will gain entry into the Top 100 2014/15 e-book edition, along with the Top 100 SA Wines 2014.  

BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE & WELLNESS RETREAT
Become a fan of Bushmans Kloof on Facebook
Visit the www.bushmanskloof.co.za website

MORE ABOUT BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE & WELLNESS RETREAT

Bushmans Kloof is a luxurious ecological oasis of 18 533 acres (7500 hectare), situated at the foothills of the breathtaking Cederberg mountains. Here majestic views, staggering rock formations, open plains, invigorating outdoor activities, 16 luxurious rooms and suites, award-winning Cape cuisine and a wellness experience deeply rooted in Nature, all combine to create an unforgettable, luxury wilderness adventure. Koro Lodge, the private villa, provides a fully independently catered for experience for families and friends travelling together, which includes the services of a guide with game viewing vehicle, and a dedicated chef and hostess.

Less than three hours’ drive from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof is unequivocally recognised as a conservation success story, and was awarded the Relais & Châteaux Environment Trophy (2007), in recognition of its exceptional environmental and conservation projects.  In 2009, it was the Global Winner of Wildlife Conservations Programs in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Awards, and in 2013 Bushmans Kloof was voted one of the World’s Best Ecolodges by National Geographic Traveler magazine.  

Malaria and predator free, Bushmans Kloof is a sanctuary for many indigenous plants, animals and birds, including the endangered Cape mountain zebra. It is also home to over 130 Bushman rock art sites, is recognized as one of South Africa’s Natural Heritage Sites, and is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom. It bases its entire business ethos on preserving the precious natural environment, while providing guests with the ultimate African wilderness experience in the beautiful surroundings of the Cederberg Wilderness Area, which forms part of the Cape Floral Region – a recognized World Heritage site.

A mere 270km from Cape Town, the 5-star Relais & Châteaux lodge, voted Best Hotel in the World 2009 (Travel + Leisure), is renowned for its warm, caring service and exceptional hospitality. In 2010 it was listed on the coveted Condé Nast Traveler USA, as one of the Top 50 Resorts in Africa in the World’s Best Awards, and for the past three years (2010 – 2012), was included in the Condé Nast Traveller UK Gold List for Best Hotels for Food in Africa, Middle East and the Indian Ocean.


About The Red Carnation Hotel Collection 
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is an award-winning collection of five- and four-star family-run boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Florida and South Africa. Each property has its own individual character and unique location that reflects the local environment, culture and cuisine. They all share the qualities central to the Red Carnation’s ethos that win them so many prestigious awards – splendid luxury, generous hospitality, inventive and traditional cuisine, private art collections, passionate service and loyal staff committed to creating richly rewarding experiences for all their guests. For more information about these award-winning hotels and the rest of the Red Carnation Collection, please go to www.redcarnationhotels.com.

GIVE THE DISTINCTIVE BUNNAHABHAIN SINGLE MALT THIS FESTIVE SEASON

ISSUED BY DKC (DE KOCK COMMUNICATIONS) FOR BUNNAHABHAIN SINGLE MALT WHISKIES



The unmistakably elegant, award-winning Bunnahabhain single malt makes the perfect gift for someone who appreciates exclusivity this festive season. Situated on the world-famous whisky-producing Isle of Islay, the Bunnahabhain distillery overlooks the Sound of Islay.  It is here, in the warehouses built in 1881 that the single malt whiskies quietly mature and develop the gentle characteristics and noticeable sea influence evident in the finish.

Bunnahabhain (pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn) is the only distillery on Islay which uses water from natural springs in the bed of the Margadale River. It also uses unpeated malted barley in the production of the hand-crafted range of 12, 18 and 25 year old single malt whiskies. For this reason, the whiskies are known as the “gentle taste of Islay”.

Created by master distiller, Ian MacMillan, the whiskies are un-chillfiltered, a return to the whisky-making tradition of Bunnahabhain’s distillers dating back many years. With nothing taken away or added, the whisky retains all of its depth of flavour, aromas, colours and character. This allows the gentle, subtle notes of the malts to come through and provides a purer taste, nose and appearance, fairly close to what MacMillan personally selects from the ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.


The Bunnahabhain range of single malt whiskies are available from fine whisky and liquor outlets and retail for about R590 (12 year old), R900 (18 year old) and R2 400 (25 year old).