Welcome to the Western Cape Wineries - a kiwi's opinion blog

I originally set up this blog to help foreigners have an enjoyable experience when visiting the western cape wineries in South Africa.

I realised that it is very difficult for a tourist to choose where to go and which wineries to visit, when you have 600+ wine producers to choose from.

When I first moved to SA December 2010, my palate struggled to adjust to SA wine, b
ut after living here for a while and after visiting over 100+ wine estates, I have found many wines which I really like and can highly recommend.

Admittingly, when you come from another country it is hard not to compare the wine in SA to what you are used to back home. However, once you realise they are not the same (they have their own characteristics due to the different soil, climate etc) and appreciate their wines for being SA wines, it will improve your opinion and experience of the wines immediately.

If you are staying in SA for a while, don't dispair, your palate will change, and you will soon find yourself liking SA wine over your home countries wine!!

I hope my blog will help wine lovers have an enjoyable wine experience while in SA.

Please note: I am not a wine connoisseur. The comments I write about the wine is mostly for my own benefit of having them on record.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Deetlefs Estate - Rawsonville

This is a very nice winery. It has a nice feeling to it as you approach the cellar.
The staff were nice at the cellar. The lady explained each wine to us.

I was really impressed with the SB here. To the extent we bought two bottles.
The reisling here is one of the best I have tried in South Africa so far. I find that it still doesn't compare to German or Australian Reislings I have tried, and therefore didn't buy any, but I was still very happy to see that this winery can make a nice reisling :-)
I would recommend visiting this winery if in the area.

Du Toitskloof - Breedekloof

On the day we went to this winery, there was an event being held called Cloudy Nouveau. The place was quite busy, yet the staff did a great job to make sure we felt welcome and could try the wines.

Unfortunately we didn't get much information on the wine, it was just poured, but that was to be expected because of how busy it was. I took this photo when there was no one in the room.
We got to meet one of the wine growers, as we had some questions about the tank system they have. He was kind enough to also give us a run down on the wines and make suggestions as to which ones we should try.
There is a huge selection of wines here, and the pour is very generous. We tried most of the wines. Favourites were the 2008 Cape Ruby Port, the 2007 Noble Late Harvest and the 2010 SB Reserve.

Was interesting to try the two Hanepoots. One was a 1999 Hanepoot and the other was a 2010 Hanepoot. Both were nice, but I definitely preferred the 2010. You can see the difference in the colour between the older and younger Hanepoot in the following photo:
We bought a few wines from this winery, the 2008 Cape Ruby Port, the 2007 Noble Late Harvest and a 3L cask of SB (on special that day for only R55). I look forward to drinking these bottles of wine. I will write comments after opening each bottle. Be sure to stay in tune :-)

Graham Beck - Robertson

This is a very modern, classy winery.
It is free for a tasting of 5 wines from the Super Premium list, R50 for a tasting of wines from the ultra premium tasting and then R75 for a Methode Cap Classique tasting.
We had a standard tasting (free) and a Methode Cap Classique tasting (R75). Due to this winery's reputation, I think if you like sparkling wine/champagne, then it is worth paying the fee to have the MCC tasting. Their original Graham Beck Brut I felt was the best. The Demi Sec was a bit too sweet for my liking, and yet I love dessert wines. But for a sparkling, even though I like sweet more than dry, this was just too sweet. Felt wrong to have such a sweet, syrupy sparkling. The Rose Brut is apparently exactly the same as the Brut, only it had skin contact for a few hours to get the rose colour. However, I didn't feel it tasted the same and felt the original Brut was much nicer.
The lady serving us wasn't the friendliest, she had that "It's the end of the day and I want to go home" attitude. She told us a bit about the wine, but there was no enthusiasm. I also asked if I could write on the wine list/brochure which has space for tasting notes, but she said I couldn't write on it. Turns out there was nothing else I could write on, and she ended up letting me write on it. (This is why I never tell people I am writing a blog, as I want to see what the winery is like without the staff knowing if they have someone revieweing the winery). Nonetheless, with the wines and views as great as they are, we still enjoyed our tasting, and bought some wine.

The Graham Beck wines are great!! All the wines I tried were from the free tasting (the super premium list). I tried the Game Reserve Chenin Blanc, Graham Beck SB, Shiraz, Pinotage, and Viognier. All of these were nice, however the Viognier was nothing great. I feel you can be safe to order a bottle of Graham Beck at a restaurant, no matter what it is. Apparently not all their wines/MCC's can be bought at the supermarket, so if you like one of their wines at the cellar, be sure to buy it then.

We bought a bottle of MCC Brut, a Pinotage 2009 and a Sauvignon Blanc 2010. The pinotage was so smooth and tasty. One of the best Pinotage's I have tried so far!! I can't wait to open the bottle :-)

I would definitely recommend that one visits this winery if in the region!! And be sure to order wine from Graham Beck at a restauarnt, if the option is there.

Friday, 8 April 2011

What winery should I visit next?

If you would like to suggest a winery you think is worth visiting, please be sure to let me know by leaving a comment after this blog. I shall then put it on my list of wineries to visit.


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Groote Post - Darling

My boyfriend and I visited Groote Post on our way home from St Helena Bay. Its a 10km drive off the R27 highway. The drive to Groote Post is quite nice, and if you look up on the hills to your left as you are driving towards the winery, you can see the vineyards.

The cellar door is in an old building:
As soon as you walk in, you can see some of the barrels they store wine in:
You then walk in to a very cute wine tasting room. The staff there were very friendly and informative.

The wines were nice, my favourites were The Old Man's Sparkle Methode Cap Classique - Brut Rose (R79 a bottle) and 2010 The Old Man's Blend Red at R47 a bottle. My boyfriend (who is South African) liked the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc at R63 and the 2008 Shiraz at R87. I personally feel that in comparison to other wineries, the Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc are not as good. I also feel the Chardonnay and Reisling need improving.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Durbanville Hills Restaurant - Durbanville

I recently went back to Durbanville Hills for lunch and had a lovely meal.

Before choosing which Sauvignon Blanc to have with my meal, I was able to try three Sauvignon Blancs from the wine menu. My results are: I am still not a fan of the Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc. The Rhinofields was nicer, but the nicest one on the wine list is definitely the Durbanville Hills Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc. This was nice, fresh, crisp and light.

My comment on the Shiraz in a previous post I take back. I recommended this to my boyfriend who likes Shiraz wine, and after tasting it again, I have decided it is not that good, especially compared to other Shiraz's out there. Even though my boyfriend is a fan of Shiraz, he didn't like this one so much.

There were three of us trying out the menu at the restaurant, and all three of us enjoyed our meals. I had the chicken with cranberry cous cous and popadum, it was really nice!! I gave my meal a rating of 8/10.

A friend of mine had the ostrich sandwich rating it 6/10.

My boyfriend had the chicken pie which he rated at 8/10.
The food here is really good value for money. All three dishes we ordered were between R60 - R70.

This winery produces wine on a larger scale than most in the neighbouring area, and I think that reflects on the wine, service and ambiance. Be sure to check out this winery though, as there is a very nice view and the food at the restaurant is nice.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

D'Aria - Durbanville

We went to this winery after Altydgedacht and tried everything on the list.

The lady who served us was very nice, friendly and informative.

Some of my favourite wines here are:
Reserve: The Soparano 2008. R120. This was really nice!! It is a little dry, yet smooth and velvety, has great flavour and would go great with food!!
Reserve: The Songbird 2010. R98. It is light, tasty, has interesting flavours of green pepper and lime.
Terra D'Aria Blush 2010. R35. This is a really nice, easy to drink, light wine. It is great value for money!! Its a blend of 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 60% Merlot. The skin has been in contact for 3-4 hours which gives it a really nice light pink colour. 

Be sure to try the Reserve: The Following 2009. This is a blend of 80% Viognier, 15% Semillon, and 5% Suavignon Blanc. It has a really interesting and unique smell and taste to it. It has a grassy and spicy smell and taste to it. I really couldn't get my mind round this wine. Unique sums it up.

The Terra D'Aria Merlot 2009 was easy to drink, smooth and nice.

If you are on this route, do pop in for a wine tasting as there are some great wines to try here.