While most people were enjoying Taste of Cape Town, we experienced a Taste of Tulbagh. The historic town has an authentic feel without being “over-styled”.
We took a long walk through the town when we arrived. Taking in the postcard images and stopping for drinks at the Tulbagh Hotel and the well-known Paddagang Restaurant.
I won a weekend away at the beautiful Rijks Country Lodge just outside Tulbagh on Twitter from Wine Tourism. I was impressed before we even checked in. I phoned them on our way to Tulbagh when I realized that I mixed up the dates. They were extremely helpful and changed our check-in date without any problems.
We checked in and immediately went to taste the wines at the Rijks Wine Cellar. All the wines were impressive but, my favourite wines were the:
Rijks Chenin Blanc Private Cellar 2008
This elegantly wooded wine has great texture with a long finish. Only 60% of this wine was fermented with wild yeast, but it generates great complexity. The fruit and wood is so well balanced.
Rijks Bravado 2005
45% Shiraz, 30% Merlot, 15% Pinotage and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine spends almost 2 years in barrel, but that is not the first thing I noticed. Fynbos aromas on the nose and deep red fruit on the palate – again elegance and balance.
Saronsberg was our first stop on Saturday morning. The setting is impressive and enhanced by the striking sculptures. The art collection on the mezzanine level includes pieces from notable South African artist like Paul Du Toit.
The two wines that stood out were both Bordeaux blends.
Provenance Rooi 2010
Blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc. A full-bodied stunner with cassis and red berry flavours.
72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec
I loved the old world charm from this Bordeaux style wine. Dark, ripe berries are complimented by subtle buchu flavours.
We rushed to get to Krone for the 11am cellar tour.
The tasting room has 4 corks that reminded me of a Gary Larson sketch – evolution of the stickman, but in this case it was the evolution of the Bubbly cork.
Everything is still done by hand – turning of the bottles. The House of Krone is the home of Krone Borealis and we tasted 2 of the wines:
Krone Borealis Cuvee Brut 2008
Made from only free-run juice of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Yeasty, creaminess with fresh apple flavours.
Krone Borealis Cuvee Rose 2008
This pink stunner is made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Pink salmon colour with refreshing berry flavours.
The underground wine cellar would be my first choice to hide out if the world goes crazy. Nothing like a few thousand bottles of bubbly to get you through a bad day!
Waverley Hills and Lemberg was also on my “list to do”, but they were both closed.
But now I have a reason to return to this picturesque valley!
I fell in love with Boschkloof wines when I met the passionate Borman family.
Join them this Saturday, 11 Feb from 3pm on Boschkloof for an afternoon of wine & music. Bring your own picnic, but buy your wine from the cellar door.
Booking essential – email@example.com
You might have heard the saying: everyone deserves a place in the sun.
This is what the “Fairtrade” movement is all about – Fair Trade is a global movement that aims to improve production and trading conditions to benefit smallholders, farm workers and disadvantaged employees and artisans. In effect everyone that is involved in a product will benefit – not only the management or owners.
I was given some wines back in August to taste and only recently opened all of them. A Place In the Sun wines is made by Zonnebloem winery in Stellenbosch and is also part of the Fairtrade movement.
The range includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
It is really good value and my favourite of the range was the Shiraz – this retails under R40 in South Africa. Juicy dark red fruit with soft spice and savouriness – none of those jammy flavours that I don’t like.
Look out for the Fairtrade mark if you also believe that we all have a place under the sun…
I was inspired by the wine merchandise I saw in New Zealand last year and decided to create a brand for South African wine. “Africa in a glass” – taste South African terrior.
Aprons and shopping-bags are now available. All goods are locally designed and made.
Aprons – R99 (excl delivery)
Bags – R69 (excl delivery)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for orders
Any women will be very happy to run into Ryk Neethling. My opportunity came on a rainy Friday afternoon outside Paarl on the beautiful Val De Vie estate. The Ryk I am referring to might even get a few gold metals of his own, but I am talking about the wine not the man.
The winemaker, Harold Versfeld explained that they are focused on producingRhonestyle wines. They are probably the property with the most Rhone varietals (11 on the farm) outside of actual Rhone valley in France.
Blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Viognier and 20% Clairette Blanche.
This rich blend has a wonderful mouthfeel with a zesty acidity. I loved this wine and can’t wait to try this with spicy asian dishes.
Ryk Neethling 2008
55% Shiraz, 18% Carignan, 15% Mouvedre, 7% Grenache and 5% Cinsaut with some most of the grapes from Bot River and the rest from the Swartland.
Ryk has a well-structured body and yes I am talking about the wine! Gentle spice with soft approachable tannins and red stone fruit. I can just imagine women all over convincing their husbands to order Ryk Neethling on the wine list…
Seventeen Eighty Three 2007
50% Mouvedre, 20% Shiraz, 15% Grenache, 10% Carignan and 5% Cinsaut
I love the way Harold looks at wines – he compared it to movies.
He explained that Merlot to him is a chick flick. A Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Tarantino – interesting characters and violence. He compared the Seventeen Eighty Three to a Guy Ritchie movie – intelligent, witty and always having a twist.
A combination of cassis and cherry with cinnamon & coriander – like Christmas cake in a glass.
The fruit is from the Swartland and Botriver
Typical Shiraz with dark red fruit and cloves, but with enough tartiness to lift the flavours of this wine.
The farm is well worth a visit – not just for polo or spotting the real Ryk Neethling, but also for the alluring Rhone-style wines!
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” This will not happen when you take 5 bloggers on a wine tour… WOSA www.wosa.com invited us on a tour to visit 5 wine producers that entered the Best of Wine Tourism Awards. This is organized by the Great Wine Capitals Networks. Nine international cities make up the Great Wine Capitals Network – including Cape Town, Christchurch (South Island), Mendoza, Porto San Francisco (Napa Valley), Bordeaux, Bilboa (Rioja), Fireze, Mainz (Rheinhessen). Wine producers compete against each other in their region in different categories according to certain criteria.
We were picked up by The Greencab inCape Townon a Saturday. Our driver, Avril told us that the bus was a LPG converted vehicle. (LPG burns more cleanly than petrol or fuel-oil and at high-loads, such as taxi or shuttle services, LPG can achieve Co2 savings of up to 12% compared to normal petrol vehicles.) Read more about the company & services: www.thegreencab.co.za
First stop was Waterkloof just outside Somerset West. The tasting room and restaurant building is striking and hangs on the side of the cliff. The beauty continues in the tasting room with vistas of the sea and mountains. We could select 6 wines of the list to taste. Every wine was a new discovery. The person presenting our tasting was very friendly, but his lack of knowledge was disappointing. My favourite wine was the Circle of Life Red – a blend of unknown varieties that showed dark red fruit with juicy tannins and gentle spice.
I found a parallel runs through the wines, art and architecture of Waterkloof – all are unpretentious elegant. Unfortunately, we only had half an hour to taste. Next time I will be back to have the whole experience – wine, food & all day views. www.waterkloofwines.co.za
I have tasted and drank theWaterfordwines for years, but it was my first visit to the estate. It lies on theBlaauwklippen Rdjust outside Stellenbosch. We were warmly welcomed by a staff member that took us into the tasting room. Our time constraint only allowed us to do the 3 wines paired with chocolate. The chocolates were specially created by Richard Von Geasau to compliment the wines. We tasted the Kevin Arnold Shiraz, Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon and Heatherleigh Natural Sweet. My favourite pairing was the Heatherleigh (natural sweet from Muscat & Semillon) with the Rose Geranium Milk Chocolate. Natasha hosted our tasting and if I could give a prize for the “Top Tasting Staff” it will go to her. She was knowledgeable, passionate, friendly and had a good sense of humour. We also saw Kevin Arnold – impressive to see the man himself hanging out at the tasting room on a Saturday morning!
Waterford are pioneers of unique wine experiences and now also offer a wine drive that takes guests into the vineyards for 2 hours to taste wines and experience the estate. The wines are great and the buildings are beautiful, but I think their greatest asset is the people involved and their passion for the place. www.waterfordwines.com
Our lunch spot for the day was at GrandeProvencejust outside Franschhoek. Darren Roberts, an Australian, is the head chef. The manicured gardens showcase several pieces of art that continues into the restaurant and gallery-like private dining room. Andre Morgenthal from Wosa joined us for lunch. He ordered several wines for the table. I enjoyed the Grande Provence Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir.
The Amuse Bouche was very appropriate as it was some of the group’s “breakfast”. Decadent scrambled duck eggs served in an egg shell with a piece of smoked duck breast.
I chose the lasagne of rabbit as a starter. I loved the texture, but felt that the flavours of the dish did not really come together. My main course was a combination of duck and lobster served with a rich, concentrated jus. A perfect winter’s dish.
The service was invisibly impressive – professional, friendly and not intrusive. Unfortunately, we could not stay for desert as we had to move on to the next estate. www.grandeprovence.co.za
Our next stop was La Motte – the biggest of the estates of the day. It is a wine estate experience – not just tasting. They offer a restaurant, “farm shop”, art gallery, gardens, museum and tasting room. We had a very professional tasting done by a knowledgeable, Erica. She tasted us through the wines on offer and could answer any question thrown at her. (Even the unrelated “after-wine-lunch” ones!). I know that people will love this estate for the variety of services they offer. www.la-motte.com
Avondale is one of my favourite organic, biodynamic wine estates, but late on a Saturday afternoon you don’t always experience the best of a place. This is unfortunate as the wines are amazing, but the rest of the group hasn’t been before and the explanation was too short and in concise to justify the prices of the wine. My first experience revealed the true heart of the place. http://bit.ly/fSrwnr
The day highlighted how blessed we are to have so many world class wine producers and experiences around Cape Town.
Good luck to all the wine producers taking part in the Wine Tourism Awards!
We have all heard about the wine makers that call themselves “Wine Rock Stars”.
I can also identify some “Wine Pop Stars” – think Justin Bieber. They make wine to please the palate of the masses. (Hopefully they aren’t all underage).
Then we get guys that don’t see themselves as “Wine Rock Stars”. Take David Finlayson - this man is part of SA wine royalty, but without the rock star tantrums. He is the real deal “Wine Rock Star” – someone that is innovative and inspires wherever he is. He is like Dave Grohl (Nirvana drummer) that went on the start another successful band, The Foo Fighters, after Kurt Cobain died. David Finlayson also moved on after Glen Carlou and started Edgebaston. He has gone back to basic and makes wines that are true to him and shows his character.
I am to young to have spent time with the “Wine Rock Stars” of the 1960′s, but the one guy that I would have loved to have met is George Spies. He was one of SA’s first “Wine Rock Stars” and to me he is like Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones. His wine is still relevant today and anyone would feel privileged to see him perform live or in his case taste his legendary Cab from the late 60′s now. David Finlayson recently opened a bottle of GS 1968 by George Spies and I was there to taste. I wanted to try this wine for as long as I known the legend! George Spies believed he could make South African wines that could last 30 to 40 years and he proved his own theory.
The wine was very closed at first, but opened up after 15 minutes in the glass to reveal a wine that could still speak for itself. David quoted his Mom “you would also be tight if you spend 43 years stuck in a bottle with a cork up your arse!” Soft plum tones with the smells I would associate with an old library – dust, polish and leather. This was one of those wine moments that I will always remember!
The world has gone crazy – London town is burning!
We cannot change that, but 30 ladies came together on Woman’s Day to start changing an industry. (The South African wine industry.) An industry that is run mostly by men, but supported mostly by woman.
The event is the brainchild of Clare Mack, a well-know Cape Town food & wine blogger (www.spill.co.za). She decided she had to do something to narrow the gap between wine producers and the consumer. So the idea of “100 Women 100 Wines” awards was born.
Clare’s welcoming words stated that “wine should be fun and accessible”. Words that confirm the beliefs of this wine activist!
These awards will be judged by the women for the women. Wine Democracy if you like – a first of its kind in South Africa! Producers were asked to enter wines, but did not have to pay an entry fee – another first for SA.
I was part of this pre-judging group to eliminate the “bad apples” from a selection of wines. The actual judging will take place on the 27th Aug at the V&A Hotel in the Cape Town Waterfront.
The 100 women will be flown into Cape Town by One-Time Airlines and the V&A Hotel will put them up for the weekend. These 100 lucky ladies, that have the final say, won their spot through a competition that was run by DestinyMagazine.
Woman’s Day is a celebration of women taking a stand to make a change. Clare did that and I feel privileged to be a small part of it.
Ladies (& gentlemen) keep your eyes out for the winning wines that were chosen by women that love wine and don’t need to over analyse it!
Big Thank You for the goodie bag filled with yummy delights!
Bubbly from Villiera, Macaroons from Cassis and a dinner voucher from Society Bistro.
“Yes, a bottle of Shatow Lie-bur-tes please!”
You know someone is trying to make somethings sound more posh when they draw it out and give one of South Africa’s old faithful wines a fancy name.
Chateau Libertas has been made for almost 80 years and is still selling by the caseload in most liquor stores.
This wine was first blended by an American medical doctor that was based in Stellenbosch, Dr William Charles Winshaw. He wanted a wine that was elegant, claret-style, because most people were drinking sweet & fortified wines at the time. The initial blend was Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz & Cinsaut. The Cinsaut has now been replaced with Merlot, but the style is still accessible.
I must be honest – I haven’t (knowingly) had Chateau Libertas in years and was excited to open a bottle delivered to my front door. The label has been updated, but you will still recognize the yellow label & the Cape Dutch manor house.
We were invited for a steak dinner at my parents and I thought it would be the perfect occasion to open it and try. Not everything has changed. The wine is still sealed with cork and shows inviting juicy berry flavours that are wrapped in soft tannins with hints of spiciness.
It was as familiar and satisfying as my Mum’s cooking…
To mark the new look, Chateau Libertas is running a sms-based competition with cash prizes and DIY kits so winners can also make changes to their own homes to keep up with the times. Details of the competitions appear on bottle necktags currently in stores. The two grand prizes of R100 000 each include make-over advice from leading magazine Tuis/Home. Buy a bottle to enter!
Go green or go home… Now has a whole new meaning. You don’t have any excuse to use glass around your pool, at picnics or outdoor concerts!
Normally people would say I recently stumbled onto this, but in my case I would prefer not to use the term “stumble”. I was tasting (and drinking) wine when the funky govino glasses first caught my attention. Designed into the glass is a thumb notch on the side, giving the user a secure and comfortable grip for swirling and drinking wine. The notch also acts as a stem without a stem, preventing heat transfer into the beverage and potential finger smudging on the crystal-clear surface of the glass.
The stemless, unbreakable “glass” is not made of glass at all, but of food-safe, BPA-free polymer, which reflects a wine’s colour and aromatics much like crystal. It is recyclable, but better yet it is reusable. WHY IS BPA SO BAD – http://www.entertainoutside.co.za/govino-and-you.html It was originally designed for wine sales professionals to showcase their wines whenever proper stemware were not available, but now it is mostly used at settings where breakable glass is a problem. And for me this means I can really go anywhere with my wine! I have a survival pack in my car. This includes a first-aid kit, a set of clothing and will now include a 4-pack of govino glasses. (Not immediately as the first shipment will arrive in late July.)
The importer, Ryan Sowray, claims that it is South African greenest glassware. They calculated the carbon footprint 0.600kg of carbon per 5040 units delivered to the Kruger Game lodges while the average wine glass is calculated at 210kg per 5040 units. A govino glass weighs in at 40g and 210g for a 4 pack. A generic wine glass made from glass weighs 130g per glass, or 650g for a 4 pack. Not only is the glass lighter, but also the packaging. This means that the transport carbon emission is also reduced. Now you can have that glass of bubbly in the Jacuzzi!
ONE LUCKY LOVE WINE SUBSCRIBER & @lovewinelife TWITTER FOLLOWER WILL EACH WIN 4 GOVINO GLASSES. (DELIVERED END OF JULY)