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.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Shiraz Blind Wine Tasting Event - feedback

Well, I think it is fair to say that we had another successful event. We had a full house, we had Rooiberg's much liked Organic Brut for an arrival drink (sells for around R40 at woolworths - be sure to buy one next time you shop at woorlworths), plenty of food to eat, ten different Shiraz's and a fantastic and much liked Pineau from Laborie to finish the night off.

We had Shiraz from Laborie, Zandvliet, Rooiberg, Delaire, Longridge, Arabella, Backsberg, D'Aria, Dombeya, and Topiary. The favourite was Topiary's Shiraz 2007, then Laborie's limited collection Shiraz 2009, Dombeya came in third with their Boulder Road Shiraz, and fourth was Delaire with their 2009 Shiraz.

We had fun with the wine quiz at half time. The guests enjoy this event because it is interactive, fun, and informal. If one is to attend every month's event, they will get to try 120 wines in the year. This is a great event to get friends together, try some wines and have a nice evening on a week night.

Next month's event will be the third event I have held and I have decided to make it a charity evening also. I would like to help those in need and with this event becoming a success, I would like to use my event as a way to help others. Stay tuned, as I will be choosing the venue and varietal for next months charity wine event.

Hope to see many more of you at the next blind wine tasting event.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Longridge - Stellenbosch

I visited this winery on Sunday for a wine tasting and lunch. I had a very nice experience and would definitely recommend others visit this winery. The building is modern, welcoming and tasteful. I loved the picket fence and the garden you walk through on the way in to the building.

Once you walk in the door you are made to feel very welcome by the staff. The decor was very nice, in that it was modern, warm and welcoming. There are plenty of places to sit at this restaurant/wine tasting venue, you can sit inside, outside, on couches, at tables, you choose. I loved the long table near the fireplace close to the window so on a cold day you will have a great view, while drinking wine and staying warm inside. I shall definitely keep this place in mind for a cold day.

The weather on Sunday was very nice, so we sat outside  and enjoyed the nice view!! I loved the vegetable garden they have in the courtyard area and thought it was great that 80% of the vegetables served at the restaurant is grown in their garden.

We were served by Richard. He looked after us very nicely, it did help that we were the first there for lunch service. We got to have our wine tasting at our table we ate at, which was very convenient, comfortable and relaxing.  I loved the fact that while sitting at the table trying all the wines, we could enjoy the view. We tried all ten wines, starting with the MCC. This was actually quite nice in that it was not sweet, not dry, but nicely balanced. The blend is 87% Chardonnay and 13% Pinot Noir.
I loved the Chardonnay (R110) and the HPC White (R45). Out of the reds, the Merlot (R90) was my favourite. Also worth mentioning is the Rose. It has a darker pink colour than most Rose's and due to the Rose having a blend of Cab Frank, Cab Sauv, Shiraz, Merlot, Verdot and Viognier, there are some amazing flavours, it has nice body and yet it is light. I really liked this Rose. It is definitely worth trying. I enjoyed the majority of the wines here, I think it's definitely worth coming here for a wine tasting!!

The food was fantastic. We tried the garlic soup and the pork belly dish for a starter.

We then tried the beef dish and the pork neck dish for the mains.

All the food was really good, everything was cooked to perfection, presentation was very good and the flavour was also good. 

We finished with a chocolate fondant, which was served with orange pieces, white chocolate, ice cream and some crushed meringue. It was the perfect end to a lovely lunch!!

Longridge has a winter special on at the moment, which is a two course for only R150. Its totally worth it. Be sure to check this winery out!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Le Pommier - Stellenbosch

Le Pommier was the last winery on our list for the Sunday tour. I chose this winery for our lunch because it looked like it was a beautiful place and had a nice menu. I realised that what I saw on the internet for Le Pommier, was not in fact the restaurant. You can see the website on: http://www.lepommier.co.za/restaurant.html.

It turns out where we had lunch and a tasting, was a very simple house which had been turned in to a wine tasting place and restaurant. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this, but because it was not what I expected and because of the reason I chose this place, I was quite disappointed.

However, this was a nice place to do a tasting and have a nice wholesome lunch. The menu included some typical South African dishes, which was ideal seeing as I had a NZ friend with me. The price of the food was very reasonable and we all enjoyed our meal.

The wines were ok, but not our favourite for the day. The service was very good here though, and we felt very welcome here. Some notes I made on the wines included that the SB 2010 was easy drinking, light and had a slightly fruity taste. The Chenin Blanc 2010 was fruity, sharp and acidic. The Shiraz 2008 was a little dry, it was spicy and had a mulberry taste. Jonathon's Malbec had a licorice, smoky, and bold taste to it. It was a little dry. All wines were very reasonably priced, ranging from R35-R60.

Zorgvliet - Stellenbosch

This was the third stop on our wine tour last Sunday.
It's a nice winery in that it was quiet, the lady serving us was pretty chilled and relaxed and the wine was nice. I would have prefered that we could sit outside and have the tasting there, but unfortunately that was not an option, unless we wanted to keep going inside for each tasting.
The wines were nice, I tried theFive Thirty Five SB 2009 (R180). This is very similar to the Chardonnay we had at Delaire. It's light in colour, rounded, buttery, soft, well balanced, it was definitely my favourite. My NZ friend who was visiting the wineries with my friends and I, really liked this wine, so much he bought a bottle to take back to NZ with him.
The 2004 shiraz was smooth, not spicy, off dry and easy drinking (R110). The MCC was not so good, which was a shame, as this was the only MCC my friend got to try while in the western cape. The 2010 SB had lime and tropical fruit flavours, it was smooth and rounded (R75). The Silver Myn SB 2010 (R40) was light, smooth, well balanced and fruity. The Chardonnay 2009 (R48) was unwooded, fruity, sweet and smooth. The Viognier 2009 (R48) was a favourite of mine, it was smooth, sweet, and had a nice lingering aftertaste.

Overall we liked the experience here. I would recommend coming here for a tasting when out this way.

Tokara - Stellenbosch

The second place we visited on our sunday tour was Tokara. 

This is a nice winery, it has a stylish building, the restaurant looks nice, the wine tasting room was nice, liked the fireplace, shame it wasn't on. There is plenty of space for many visitors to do a tasting here.

We were allowed to try five wines, there is no tasting fee at this winery. The person who served us was very good, he knew his wines, and was very friendly.
I tried the Tokara Zondernaam SB 2010 (R55) it was very nice, fruity and tasty. The tokara reserve collection walker bay Chardonnay 2009 (R110) was very nice. It was buttery, smooth and rounded.The tokara reserve collection Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2009 (R110) was crisp, fruity, slightly dry, it was ok. The Tokara Zondernaam Grenache Rose 2010 (R55) was crisp, off dry and not strong in flavour. The Tokara Zondernaam Shiraz 2009 (R75) is spicy, a little dry, has a lingering aftertatse and good flavour. The Tokara reserve collection SB noble late harvest 2009 (R198) is just delicious!!! It is not too syrupy, it is light, I love it!! I bought a bottle of this one, even though the price is quite high, I did think it was worth it.

I do highly recommend visiting this winery if you are out this way. I have heard good things about the restaurant also, so you might be interested in making it your stop for lunch.