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.



Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Fairview - second visit

Commercial yet a nice place to visit.

Today we went to Fairview to buy a few bottles of wine. While there we decided to do a wine and cheese tasting for R25 pp. I was really glad we visited this place a second time as we had a really pleasant experience. Thankfully it wasn't too busy when we got there.

When you do a tasting at Fairview you can choose 6 wines to try. They have quite an extensive list so again it can be hard to choose. However, if you know what kind of wine you like, then the staff can help you to choose wine you will likely enjoy.

We had a really good tasting with Samantha. She was really good at her job. She was enthusiastic, polite, pleasant, and friendly. The tasting was informative and she went out of her way to make sure we enjoyed our experience at Fairview.

I tasted the Fairview Darling Riesling (R45) it had a lovely white stone fruit aroma, had nice acidity and a full mouth feeling on the palate. It was off dry. It had a slight bitter/dried apricot finish. I liked this wine.

The Fairview Darling Sauvignon Blanc (R55) I found was a little green.

Fairview Darling Chenin Blanc (R50) was nice, fruity and light. I liked it.

Fairview Chardonnay (R70) was lightly wooded. Not much on the nose. Pleasant on the palate. Quite a fresh taste.

Fairview Viognier (R70) Has the typical peach and apricot nose of a Viognier but it was very faint. Pleasant on the palate but with a stone fruit finish.

Fairview Brut (R120) is a blend of Viognier, Grenache Noir and Grenache Blanc. It was quite fresh.

Fairview Oom Pagel Semillon (R80) was nice and smooth, creamy and very nice. Liked this wine.

Fairview Sangiovese (R75) This is an Italian varietal. It was a little dry for my liking, I got aniseed and wild berries on the nose and on the taste also. It was a light wine.

Fairview Mouvedre (R70) quite light in body, nice fruitiness and a little dry.

Fairview Caldera (R110) had a lovely smell, was smooth on the palate, light and tiny bit dry on the finish. I liked this wine.

The bottle I came to buy was the Nurok and we were really lucky to get a tasting of this also. This was smooth, a little creamy and had pleasant fruit flavours. I liked this wine.

Primo Pinotage (R150) Was light-med in body, dry, little coffee/choc taste.

La Capra Pinot Grigio (R220 for a case of 6) was pleasant and easy drinking.

Between the two of us, we got to taste a nice range of wine.

We then went through to the cheese tasting and got to try 6 different cheeses. We spent a nice amount of time in this area stocking up on preserves, bread, cheese etc.

A visit to Fairview is very pleasant but it is commercial and a lot of people visit this place. I have eaten here a few times and it is also very pleasant and reasonably priced.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Solms Delta



Solms Delta is a lovely place. There is a museum at the entrance, restaurant (Fyndraai) with indoor and outdoor seating, and a tasting area which is outside under the beautiful trees.The whole place has a very nice relaxing feeling.



Friends had told us that the picnic at Solms Delta is really good, so we finally made our way out there and saw for ourselves what they were talking about. We started off the day with a tasting first, so we knew which wine to buy to accompany our picnic.


We sat outside at a nice long table, under the trees. The guy who did the tasting with us was really nice and provided a very informative tasting. He mentioned that he was brought up on this estate, so it was cool to have him run through the wines with us as he was informative and could tell us the history of the wines and names.
Included in the price for a picnic, you can do a wine tasting. As we hadn't tasted the wine before, we decided to do the tasting before purchasing a few bottles to go with our picnic.


We tasted the Cape Jazz Shiraz NV bubbly (R58) first. It was pleasant, easy drinking, like grapetiser. Dry yet a little sweet on the finish.

Next we tried the Amalie 2012 (R110) which was fruity, balanced, smooth and dry. It was lovely. I liked this wine.

Vastrap 2012 (R53) had a typical Chenin Blanc smell. It tasted fresh and had hints of apple and pear on the palate. It had a fresh finish. It was ok.

Lekkerwijn 2012 (R67) was dry, had a lovely fresh yet fruity flavour. Flavours I picked up were melon, strawberry and lime. It spent 11 months in 2nd fill barrels. It was a nice wine.

Langram 2012 (R55) is a blend of Pinotage, Shiraz, Mouvedre and Touriga Nacional. On the nose I picked up vanilla and blackcurrent. It was fruity and soft on the palate. It was quite light for a red wine. Easy drinking. It was a little bit of a fruit bomb and a little dry on the finish.

Hiervandaan 2011 (R120) was a blend of Shiraz, Mouvedre, Grenache Noir and Carignan. This wine had a lovely aroma.

Gemoedsrus 2010 is a Shiraz fortified wine (R200).

Dik Delta Perry NV (R40) was interesting.

After we purchased a few bottles, we picked up our picnic baskets and made our way to the picnic area. It was a nice five minute walk to get there but they do offer tractor rides to get there and back also. I liked the walk as it was very scenic with the lovely gardens and ponds. We found a nice shaded area to have our picnic. Blankets were supplied which was great.


In the picnic we had biltong, cheese and crackers, ribs, chicken, salad and a dessert. It was more than enough for each couple. The place is so tranquil and relaxing that it is a perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon.


If you have children, then this is a nice option as there is plenty of grass area for them to run around and it is child friendly.

The one thing I want to add to this review is that you don't have to pre-pay for the picnic. You do have to book, but on the day, if the weather isn't ideal you can cancel your picnic and/or you can change your plans and eat at the restaurant instead. What I like about this is that there is a plan B if the weather doesn't play along.

I recommend a day out at Solms Delta.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Kaapzicht - tasting notes


Today I tasted two of Kaapzicht's wines at home.

Pinotage 2010 - Pungent fruity nose/Christmas fruit mince smell. Ripe fruity flavour, smooth, lingering finish, lovely. There is a smell and taste I can't recognise, it almost resembles Armaretto or almond and cherries. Maybe Christmas is so close it's affecting my thoughts/palate? I felt this wine had a strong alcohol feeling which also lingers. This is the only thing that puts me off this wine. It was a very smooth wine though!!

Estate Red Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 - also very smooth. Lighter in body to the Pinotage. Not as big in flavour either. It was a pleasant, easy drinking wine. I wasn't a fan of the finish though.
  

Monday, 16 December 2013

De Waal

After visiting De Morgenzon wine estate we decided to check out De Waal, and what a difference between the two.


When I rocked up to the building it reminded me of a town hall. There is a bell at the door which you have to ring to have the door unlocked.



You then walk up some stairs and finally get to the tasting room.


There was only one table in the room (two tables pushed together) and it was being used by a big group so we stood at the counter in the meantime.



The lady serving us was very polite and friendly. We had a very pleasant experience here.

A tasting excluding the premium wines is R20 and the tasting of all wines including the premium wines is R35. We decided to go for the tasting including all their wine.

The DeWaal Young Vines Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R45) had tropical fruity flavours, was balanced and pleasant.

DeWaal Viognier 2011 (R70) was pleasant and light.

DeWaal Young Vines Merlot 2010 (R55) was very pleasant, fruity, soft, smooth with a little dry finish.

I didn't like the DeWaal Young Vines Shiraz 2010 (R55).

DeWaal Pinotage 2010 (R60) was soft, fruity, pleasant and easy drinking. It was a little sweet.

DeWaal Merlot 2010 (R80) was lovely on the nose and palate. Too dry on the finish and it lingered.

DeWaal Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (R135) had an interesting herbacious nose and taste. It was a little dry on the finish. A good wine.

DeWaal Signal Rock 2008 (R135) was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This was lovely on the nose, a little dry on the finish, had a sweet fruity aroma and taste. A little bit of spice at the end. This was a favourite of mine.

De Waal CT De Waal Pinotage 2009 (R135) was a nice wine, with good structure, and a dry finish.

DeWaal Top of the Hill Pinotage 2011 (R245) had a beautiful favour and was smooth. This was my other favourite from this tasting.




Overall the experience was very nice. We each bought a few bottles of wine before heading out. The lady waives the tasting fee if you buy a few bottles which is great.

I have to say, I wouldn’t recommend one goes out of their way to visit this wine estate, but if you are visiting Jordan or De Morgenzon then you might as well drop in here for a tasting also.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Klein Roosboom

Today I dropped in to Klein Roosboom as I hadn't visited this place before except for at a Durbanville wine festival.


It is in a nice building with nice decor. The service was good and friendly. A tasting costs R15 for 5 wines or R25 for 9 wines. They waive this tasting fee on purchases of 6 bottles of wine or more.


I tried the Klein Roosboom Sauvignon Blanc 2011 at R50 a bottle. It was a lovely fresh, green, tropical SB. It was very pleasant with a little acidity on the finish. It was nice.


Then I tried the Bandana Blanc 2012 at R45 a botte. It was round, soft, a little acidic, pleasant. This was also nice.


Klein Roosboom Sauvignon Blanc 2013 at R75 a bottle. This was interesting. It was floral with interesting flavours. It was beautifully balanced with aniceed on the palate. I liked this wine.


Bandana 2013 at R50 a bottle (Chenin Blanc). It was fruity, acidic, and smooth on the palate. It was ok.


Merlot 2011 at R95 a bottle. It was fruity, smooth, and a little spicy. It was ok.


Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 at R75 a bottle. It was jammy on the nose, overipe on the palate, very soft for a Cab. It was very fruity. It was an interesting wine. It was ok.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 at R95 a bottle. Typical Cab Sauv on the nose. Aniceed and licorice finish. This is more what I expect from a Cab. This was ok.

Janet Shiraz 2011 at R90 a bottle. A little jammy on the nose. It was soft, medium bodied, fruit driven. This wine was ok.

My Way Red Blend (Cab/Merlot) 2011 at R95 had a fynbos nose and was a little more serious. This wine is limited at 200 boxes. This wine was ok.

This was a pleasant winery to visit however I wouldn't go out of my way to visit this winery. If you are visiting wineries in Durbanville however, then this is a nice place to check out.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Thelema

Today we went to Thelema for a wine tasting as we have tasted their wine at several wine festivals recently and each time I was really impressed by their wine. I therefore thought it was time to finally taste the entire range.


A tasting costs R25 and is waived on purchasing wine. The service was friendly at Thelema, there were three staff members on at the time, which was ideal for the amount of customers they had. There wasn't a moment that we felt like we were not being looked after.


The view from the tasting room is absolutely stunning!!


I recommend visiting this wine estate. It was a nice experience, they have great wine and a fantastic view!! If you are looking for a place to eat lunch before or after Thelema then I recommend Tokara Deli (the wine estate next door to Thelema) which has modern decor, pleasant experience, good service and very reasonably priced food. If you are looking for fine dining food then I recommend Delaire Graff or IndoChine (both at Delaire Graff Wine Estate across the road from Thelema and Tokara).

Here are a few photos from the lunch we had at Tokara Deli, we would definitely eat here again:





This wine area is absolutely a fantastic choice if you only have one day to visit wineries. I would definitely suggest visiting Tokara, Thelema and Delaire if you visit this area.

My tasting notes on the Thelema wines:

Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (R75) was very lovely. It had a nice tropical fruity aroma. It had a round mouth feeling. Quite a sharp/fresh taste, tropical fruity flavours and a nice long finish. I liked this wine.

Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (R70) was nice on the palate. More melon and grapefruit taste. Was pleasant, balanced and smooth. I liked this wine.

Sutherland Viognier/Roussanne 2010 (R90) the Viognier is quite prominant on the flavour, smell and feeling on the palate (round-mouth feel). The Roussanne adds an interesting taste and makes this wine overall interesting. Lovely long finish (stone fruit flavour dominates). I didn't like this wine.

Sutherland Chardonnay 2011 (R90) had quite a fresh taste on the palate and finish. Relatively light, doesn't seem very wood influenced. Too fresh a Chardonnay for my liking, its too light. It's nice but I thought this wine was ok.

Thelema Chardonnay 2012 (R110) huge difference between these two Chardonnays. More body and creaminess. Lovely flavour, feeling and finish. Stone fruit flavour dominates on the finish. I liked this wine.

Ed's Reserve Chardonnay 2012 (R110) more floral and spicy. Nice round mouth feel and smooth. Some taste comes through which I don't get; almost a mix of lime and stone fruits.

Sutherland' Shiraz Grenache Rose 2013 (R60) easy drinking rose. Off day. Pleasant. ok.

Sutherland Riesling 2011 (R65) quite  afresh/lime taste. Not so keen on this wine.

Thelema Riesling 2011 (R65) nice body and round mouth feel. I liked this wine. It was a little sweet on the side. Probably ideal with spicy food.

Thelema Muscat de Frontignan 2013 (R55) lighter than the Riesling. Sweet on the nose. Little sweet with a little citrus/acidity on the palate. This wine was ok.

Sutherland Pinot Noir 2012 (R110) had a lovely colour (deeper colour to other PN's). Nice fruit driven flavour. Very pleasant. Not too easy drinking. It was perfect, I liked it.

Sutherland Syrah 2009 (R100) smooth but spicy. Fruity. It was ok.

Thelema Shiraz 2010 (R130) Smooth, deep red fruit aroma. Medium body. Little dry. Prefer to the Sutherland. Was ok/nice.

Sutherland Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot 2009 (R100) Very intense and interesting nose. Also interesting on the palate. Almost fynbos characteristics? It was ok.

Thelema Merlot 2010 (R130) was very smooth, very fruit driven, medium in body, is a serious (ish) Merlot. I liked it.

Thelema Rabelais 2008 (R350) was smooth, fruity, had big flavours, medium body. Was nice. Received 5 stars with Platters.

Rhine Riesling Late Harvest 2009 (R75 for a 375ml bottle) was lovely on the nose, smooth, light-medium body, lovely fruitiness, I liked it, it was pleasant.

Overall I think the Thelema wines are great. I'm sure everyone in a group can find something they like here. My favourites were the Thelema Riesling and Rhine Riesling Late Harvest, which I bought a few bottles of.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Beau Constantia



Beau Constantia                                                                  

Today we went to Beau Constantia to check out this new winery and the views! It is a very nice modern building, tasting room and the views are lovely.


The tasting room is mostly made of glass, allowing you to enjoy the views while you do your tasting.

We decided to do the wine and food pairing. I have to admit it is quite expensive, but it is a fun way to try the wine. I saw on facebook that they change the canapes weekly using a different theme each time. This week the theme was mexican.

Canapes and wine tasting is R135 per person.


I do recommend visiting this winery, the wine is good, the service was fine, and the overall experience was nice.

My notes on the wine:


Sauvignon Blanc (and a touch of Viognier plus Semillon) at R75 a bottle.
It was dry, fresh, light tropical fruit flavours, citrus, little acidic. Ok
Viognier 2013 R130 a bottle. 5 months 30% new oak. Floral, fruity, pear with the food it was a bit acidic.
Pas de Nom Red 2011 (66% Petit Verdot 17% Malbec 17% Merlot) at R85 a bottle. Nice nose and taste. Dark berry and fruit flavours. Little dry with slight powdery tannins. Like. Quite  abold wine but not heavy in body.
Beau Constantia Lucca 2011 (63% Merlot 37% Cabernet Franc) at R190 a bottle. Lovely berry flavours. Soft yet the intense Cabernet Franc dominates in flavour and on the finish. Quite intense. Good wine. Lovely soft fruity nose. Best with food – it reduces the intensity  and you then get more of the soft fruit driven characteristics. 18 months French oak. 85% new oak. I like it.
Pas de Nom Rose 2013 (Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc) R60 a bottle 3 hours on the lees. Lovely colour, dry, little spicy finish with the matching food. Soft, smooth, like.
Beau Constantia Aidan 2011 (Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot) at R190 a bottle. 18 month French oak. Smooth, med-full body wine. Like.