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, 4 August 2013


Today I had the day off so I decided to visit Anura to buy some cheese and while out that way I figured it was about time I visited Backsberg. So that is exactly what I did.

On Sundays Backsberg has a buffet lunch and live music. There were quite a few people there for this lunch.

The tasting room is currently being renovated so wine tastings are currently being done in the restaurant.

There were two ladies doing the wine tastings and what I found out during this tasting is that neither of them drank wine before working as tasting room assistants at Backsberg and neither of them know much about wine other than Backsberg wine.

Anyway, besides that, I was impressed by the range of wines and the value for money wine. Also, they told me that the 4 barrels at the entrance of the property represents the four generations of family ownership of this estate. This estate has been around since 1916. Back is the family owners Surname.

It costs R15 to taste 5 wines. There is such an extensive list so I decided to pay R30 to try 10 wines. I am glad I did this as there truly is some great wine there.

To be honest, I am not sure I would recommend you go out of your way to visit this estate on the experience, but I would recommend you visit this estate for the value for money wine!! If you are in this area be sure to visit Vrede en Lust, Plasir de Merle, La Motte, Babylonstoren, Glen Carlou and Anura (for the cheese). Simondium Rd truly is a road of many great wine estates!! You can spend the whole day on this road.

Wine notes:
Sparkling Brut MCC 2008 is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. R114 a bottle. It was pleasant, easy drinking, off dry, a little savoury, with a nice finish. I liked it.

Sauvignon Blanc 2013 R46 a bottle. Lovely tropical fruity aromas and taste, very fruity, nice, smooth, a little acidic/hits the chest a bit, very fresh, tones of lime.

Pinot Noir 2010 at R102 a bottle. The grapes come from Grabouw, Belgium and Durbanville. Spent 12 months in barrels. Lovely spicy & blackcurrent aromas. Smooth, not dry. Very pleasant. Nice round mouth feel. Nice.

Pinotage 2012 at R57 a bottle. 50% of the wine was matured for 12 months in barrels and 50% in stainless steel tanks. It was a little savoury on the nose, was very nice on the palate, smooth, light, off dry, with lovely berry/fruity flavours.

Merlot 2011 at R67 a bottle. 12 months in barrels. Medium bodied wine, nice fruity flavour, smooth, feels high in alcohol on the palate, has some "oomph"/guts to it. I liked this wine.

Barberra 2009 at R68 a bottle. Spent 12 months in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels. It was dark in colour, had a strong aroma, smelled a bit like toast, cassis and cedar. It was yum. Very nice fruity wine. Smooth with an interesting dark berry aftertaste. I liked it.

Elbar 2007 at R72 a bottle, spent 6 months in barrels, was blended and then spent another 6 months in barrels. It is a blend of 38% Malbec, 32% Mouvedre, 12% Sangiovese, 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Shiraz, 2% Zinfandel and 1% Viognier. This was light on the nose and palate. Soft and pleasant. It was ok.

Klein Babylonstoren 2007 is their flagship wine at R107 a bottle. It has 15 years aging potential. A blend of 50% Cabernet and 50% Merlot. 24 months new barrel. More serious red. Typical cabernet flavours coming through. Soft tannins yet still has structure. Very nice food wine. Heavier/serious red.

Special Late Harvest 2012 is a Viognier at R48 a bottle. It is 11.5% alcohol. It has lovely sweet fruity aroma, tones of honey and peaches, very smooth, soft, not too sweet or syrupy, quite light for a dessert wine. I liked it.

Pinneau 2010 at R83 a bottle (375ml) is made from Chenin Blanc grapes. It i s a fortified wine with brandy. I found the smell put me off because it smelled like brandy. It is 18% alcohol. It had an interesting taste on the palate. Unique flavours. I couldn't decide if I liked it or not. I think I was leaning towards not liking it because of the brandy.

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