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.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Val de Vie

Today we went to Val de Vie for a wine tasting and a meal. We met friends there, sat near the fire place in the wine tasting room and enjoyed a wine tasting.

For R25 you can try 6 wines. The lady serving us didn't tell us anything about any of the wines, but we had the tasting notes at least. The tasting room has a nice vibe, it was a cold day, so with the fireplace going, it was very comfortable.

I found I liked the red wines more than the white. My favourites were the Polo Club Craftsmen (R70), Polo Cabernet Franc (R90), Val de Vie Ryk Neethlings 2010 (R135) and the Val de Vie GVC 2008 (R135).

For lunch, we moved in to the restaurant (next door to the wine tasting room). I enjoyed a glass of the Craftsmen with my lamb pizza for lunch. This was my second time at Val de Vie for a meal and on both ocassions I have enjoyed the vibe, the service, the food and the wine. I will always be happy to go back here.

If you are interested in watching some polo while in SA, then be sure to check out the Val de Vie website and see if there is a game on when you plan on visiting this winery.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Top 100 SA Wines 2012

Wow, what an evening!! The venue (One & Only) was lovely, such a beautiful hotel!! As you walk in the front entrance, you are wowed by the stunning bar, beautiful decor, and glass walls allowing you an awsome view of Table Mountain. Absolutely stunning!! I stood there for a few minutes just taking in the beauty of it all!!

Quite a lot of people turned up for this event again. Thankfully the venue was a bit bigger than last year, allowing a bit more space to move around. Having said that, they still need to stop putting the wine tables near the front entrance. The Sauvignon Blanc and MCC is always near the entrance (which many people start with), and so there is always a lot of people in this area and makes it difficult to get in.

I tried a lot of the wine available for tasting. The wine that stood out for me last night was the Jordan Riesling and the Kanu Chenin Blanc. The Riesling was the closest I have tried to an Australian Riesling (they make awesome Rieslings), it was crisp, refreshing, had nice structure and body, I just loved it!! The Kanu Chenin Blanc was slightly wooded, had so much flavour, beautiful body, just stunning!!

I was pleased to have had the chance to meet several winemakers at this event. I feel it is always nice to see who is making your favourite wines.

I also met with Richard, one of the judges of this event. I asked him why they use foreign judges to choose SA's best 100 wines. It turns out that the competition is not just for the benefit of SA, apparently the book is sold overseas also, and the overseas consumers recognise the award of the Top 100 SA wines.

It was a shame that there were no canapés this time round, especially considering the price of the tickets. But, still a worthwhile experience and I shall definitely be there next year also.

Below is a list of the wines I tried and the ones I liked. This is for my own records.

Wines I tried:
Alvi’s Drift AD CVC 2011
Alvi’s Drift Viognier 2011
Anwilka 2009
Avontuur Estate Dominion Royale Shiraz Reserve 2009
Boschendal Grande Cuvee Brut 2007
Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2010
Cederberg Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Doolhof Wine Estate Signature Malbec 2010
Driehoek Shiraz 2010
Elgin Heights Shiraz 2010
Elgin Vintners Shiraz 2008
Jean Daneel Chenin Blanc 2010
Longridge Brut 2008
Neethlingshof The Owl Post PInotage 2010
Rickety Bridge The Foundation Stone 2010
Saronsberg Viognier 2010
The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2010

Wines I liked:
Alvi’s Drift AD chardonnay 2011
Bon Courage CC Jacques Bruere Brut Reserve 2007
Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2009
Bosman Family Vineyards Opetnhorst 2010
Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Cederberg Five Generations Cab Sauvignon 2009
Diemersdal MM Louw Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Ernie Els Signature 2008
Jordan Chenin Blanc 2011
Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2010
Jordan The Real Mc Coy Riesling 2010
Kanu KCB Chenin Blanc 2009
Ken Forrester The FMC 2010
L’Avenir Grand Vin Pinotage 2009
Lomond Pincushion Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Mvemve Raats De Compostella 2009
Nitida Club Select Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Oldenburg Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2011
Overgaauw Tria Corda 2009
Rietvallei Wine Estate Special Select Esteanna White 2011
Saronsberg Provenance Rooi 2010
Saronsberg Shiraz 2010
Saxenburg Private Collection Shiraz 2007
Shannon Vineyards “Sanctuary Peak” Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Super Single Vineyards Mount Sutherland Syrah 2009
Vondeling Sweet Carolyn 2007

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Chardonnay Blind Wine Tasting

On the 3rd of May I held a Chardonnay Blind Wine Tasting event at the Cape Town Club, behind the Mount Nelson Hotel. The venue is beautiful all lit up at night, and the dining room hall is the perfect setting for this event.

We started the evening with String of Pearls Mouvedré (Rosé) MCC and Semillon MCC from Francois Lagarde. Both these MCC's were lovely and ideal as the arrival drink. With everyone coming straight from work, these refreshing, beautifully flavoured MCC's were just perfect.

The Cape Town Club provided the canapés for the guests on arrival. These were very tasty and a great way to start the night of wine tastings.

A total of 40 people attended this month’s event. Many were "not Chardonnay drinkers", but they came open minded and willing to try Chardonnay to see if perhaps they could be converted in to a Chardonnay drinker.

There were eleven Chardonnays to try on the night, which we tasted in two flights. We started with unwooded Chardonnays, and then went on to the lightly wooded Chardonnays, finishing with the wooded Chardonnays.

After trying all eleven wines, we did a vote on which wines were liked the most. #4 won the most votes with 26 votes, #6 came in 2nd with 25 votes and #11 placed 3rd with 22 votes. We tried wines ranging from R32.50 to R200 a bottle on the night, and #4 which won the most votes was Rooiberg Chardonnay at only R32.50 a bottle. Remember this is a blind wine tasting event, so the guests do not know where the wine is from or how much it is. Therefore this is a non-bias wine tasting event. #6 was Delaire and #11 was Uva Mira. It yet again goes to show, that price does not always determine the most liked wine.

This was another exciting night, full of surprises and a fun evening. These events are catered for novice to intermediate wine drinkers. So if you don't know the difference between a Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, or can't smell what the winemaker says you should smell, then you will fit in perfect with these events. They are fun, interactive and a great way to be exposed to different wine each month.

If you would like to be added to my database and possibly attend one of these blind wine tasting events, please email me on westerncapewineries@gmail.com.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Riebeek Kasteel Olive Festival

This was a very nice wine festival which I plan on going to again next year!!

We started at the main tent, where there were plenty of olives to try and several wineries had their wine there also.

This tent was quite busy and for some reason there was one line going round all the stalls, which was annoying if you didn’t want to try the olives and wanted to go straight to the wine tasting. Unlike at the wacky wine festival where people get some wine and move to the back of the line, everyone stayed at the table until they had tried all the wine. This meant that 4-5 people at a time could taste wine at a time.
We then left the marquee and walked along the street towards some of the wineries nearby. We stopped at a barn which had several stalls selling olives, wine, salami, spreads etc. I really liked the vibe at this place.

Next we went to the castle winery. This is an impressive building, with lovely views. There was a room to try the olives, but this was so busy. They really need a bigger room for this next time as it was very popular. The wine tasting room wasn’t as busy. I enjoyed doing a tasting here. They had only one white and the rest were red. The guy serving was very friendly and very informative.

Around the corner we went to Kloovenburg. This place had very nice wine, lots of food stalls, and a lovely area to enjoy a picnic. We bought some cheese at one of the stands for R60 and then enjoyed the spreads and other meat which we had bought at other stalls. This was a very popular winery to spend time at.

The last stop was Riebeek Cellars. They had live music, good wine and a really good vibe. I will be sure to come here earlier next time!!
We did a wine tasting here and I was impressed with the price of the wine. The wine ranges in price from R22 to R110 a bottle. Most are around R30 a bottle. I remember that I enjoyed the Montino Petillant Light.