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, 23 July 2013

Bilton - Wine Club

Today our valley wine club met at Bilton for a wine tasting. The Bilton building is a great size for big groups. They have plenty of parking to accommodate big groups also. The views on the drive up to Bilton are always stunning no matter if it is rain or shine. They have a lovely fireplace in the tasting room and plenty of heaters to warm the place up in winter. There is seating outside, so if you want to enjoy your tasting outside you can. This wine estate has a childrens playground and lawn area for children to play outside on, making it child friendly.

Moira was the host for the evening, she has a great understanding of wine and was able to host a well presented wine tasting with the Bilton wine. There were several stories that came with the wine at Bilton making for an interesting wine tasting.

Tonight we got to do a chocolate and wine tasting. I was looking forward to this as it was over two years ago since I last visited Bilton and also did a chocolate and wine tasting. You can see my last visit review on http://westerncapewineries.blogspot.com/2011/05/bilton-wines-helderberg-stellenbosch.html. It is funny to read my tasting notes then and compare them to what I have written now two years later.

We tasted the Bonnie Anne Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (R59 a bottle). It smelled green, fresh and citrus on the nose and on the palate you taste the same; I could taste lemon, lime and granny smith apple. It also seemed fizzy on the palate, like Co2 had been put in the bottle. I didn't like this wine. This wine was paired with white lime and crispy apple chocolate. I found the chocolate to be salty and didn't feel it matched so well.

The Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (R99 a bottle) was beautiful on the nose; it smelled smooth, spicy and earthy. It was a little dry/rough and fruity on the palate. I found this wine was not balanced. I didn't like this wine either. This wine was served with dark espresso chocolate. The wine tasted more intense in fruitiness and was smoother after the chocolate. I think this wine might be best served with food.

Merlot 2008 (R99 a bottle) had a strong fynbos and spicy aroma. It had great intense fruity and berry taste, it was smooth and very nice. I was very impressed with this wine, to the point that I purchased a case. I loved this wine. I gave a bottle of this wine to a friend and he let me know the other day that it was the best Merlot he had tasted!!This wine was served with Dark Cherry Malt chocolate. I loved the chocolate. It tasted like jelly (like the jelly in rocky road). I didn't like the chocolate with this wine. The chocolate seemed a bit salty.

Shiraz 2008 (R99 a bottle) had a dark berry smell on the nose, it smelled nice and had a slight sweet aroma. Pleasant on the palate, smooth, light and fruity. I liked it.

Pinotage 2009 (R99 a bottle) was very fruity, a little dry, a little rough on the palate. It had a strong smell. I didn't like the smell or taste of this wine.

The Matt Black 2009 at R79 a bottle I didn't like. It had very dark flavours and herby/earthy smell on the nose. It semmed complex, like it had licorice or even marmite tones? It seemed to have tones of mint on the palate also.

The Sir Percy 2008 had a nice cherry, fruity nose, was smooth on the palate, and had intense dark berry flavours. It was balanced and yet a little heavy. This wine was ok.

We got to taste the Viognier 2008 at R199 a bottle this had pungent stone fruit smells like that of peach and apricot. It was flat on the palate. It had a similar taste on the palate as it did on the nose. I didn't like this Viognier.

Sadly it seems I am not a fan of the wine at Bilton, however their Merlot 2008 is fantastic!! The chocolate and wine pairing is interesting and fun. If you go to Bilton then I recommend doing the chocolate and wine pairing. The service here is always good and you are always made to feel welcome. Please don't let my opinion of the wine put you off coming here. If you visit this region then I highly recommend visiting Haskell Vineyards, Rust en Vrede, Bilton, Alto, and Hidden Valley. They make for a great day out!!!

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