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.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Bilton Wines - Helderberg, Stellenbosch

Bilton winery was the first of three wineries we went to on Saturday. All of us were so happy and satisfied with our experience here. Was a great start to the day.
I loved the drive to this winery. It was so picturesque. Especially with the leaves on the vines changing colour. It was absolutely beautiful. Bilton, Haskell and Rust en Vrede are in the same area (within 5 minutes drive of each other), so if you have a day to enjoy a few wineries, these three are a good choice.

The wine cellar is really nice. It has great staff, nice wines and warm decor!! I loved the feeling I got when I walked in to this place. 
From the moment we walked in the door, the staff were really friendly and so welcoming!! Great start to the day :-) The guy that served us was fantastic!! Every one in my group liked him and thought he was the best out of all the people who served us that day. He knew the wines really well, was really attentative and was so kind to let us try a few more wines which were not included in the chocolate and wine tasting.

We were booked for a chocolate/wine tasting, and it was fab!! Majority of us found the wines improved with the chocolate. I really recommend coming for the chocolate/wine tasting.

They only had one white wine for tasting, which was a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (R65). It was nice, but not to my liking. Its quite fruity though, it has a really strong guava taste to it! It is a rounded and soft SB. Maybe with food, this SB would work well.

The 2007 Merlot (R130) had a mixed review in my group. It was not how I expect a merlot to be. Usually I find them soft, easy to drink, and rounded. Whereas I found this was a little dry. It went very nicely with the chocolate.

The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (R120) was very nice, and we all agreed it would go great with food. It was lighter than most Cab Sauv's and it was quite easy drinking.

The 2006 Shiraz (R120) was dry, but went really well with the chocolate!!! It has nice volume, great flavour and would also go very nice with food. It is quite a robust red wine.

All the chocolates matched the wines really nicely, and I would definitely recommend people book ahead and definitely do a wine and chocolate tasting. It's great value for money, only R50!! A normal tasting (wine without the chocolate) is R35. Spend the extra R15, it's worth it.

The guy serving us was really kind to allow us to try three other wines, on top of the wine we had already had with the chocolate. These included the Matt Black (R95), this was a little dry, and had a nice plum taste to it. Quite a few in the group liked this wine.

The Pinotage (R100) was most definitely my favourite!! It had great volume, was rounded (not dry) and had an awesome smell to it. Be sure to try this wine!!

Last of all, we tried the flagship wine, Sir Percy (R170). This is a mix of Cab Sauv, Merlot and Petit Verdot. A few in the group liked this wine also.

I found that the last three wines we tried, which weren't part of the wine and chocolate tasting were the best. Be sure to try these, especially the Pinotage :-)

I highly recommend visiting this winery and doing a chocolate and wine tasting.

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