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, 30 November 2013


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.

Constantia Uitsig

We came here on the day of my 30th birthday celebrations. This was a must visit winery for me on this special day. We enjoyed a wine tasting here and tasted the following wines:

MCC Blanc de Blanc Brut 2010 at R245 a bottle. Lovely fresh fruity flavours, slight yeast taste, off-dry, very pleasant. Nice.

Chardonnay Unwooded 2012 at R90 a bottle. Has a nutty nose, lovely stone fruit flavours on the palate, fresh, balanced wine, lovely lingering finish, like it. Medium body, tastes and smells wooded. Very fine wine.

Sauvignon Blanc 2012 at R90 a bottle. Green asparagus and capsicum taste. Quite sharp and acidic. Needs time to rest. The 2011 was settled nicely, was softer and not as green.

White Blend 2012 (65% Semillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc) at R140 a bottle. Very smooth, round, balanced. Semillon is wooded 7 months. Danie and I both liked this wine.

Semillon 2011. Upfront stone fruits and peaches with fresh finish. Quite a dry finish. The flavour doesn't linger. Quite an abrupt finish. Danie and I both liked it.

Constantia Red 2009 at R130 a bottle. Lovely on the nose and on the palate, smooth, little rough on the edges (let it sit for a year or so), little dry, pleasant, light-medium body.

As per my last visit the service was good, the wine was delicious and the prices this time were awesome as they had a special on!! We were able to buy some older vintages of each wine also which made the experience more interesting and exciting.

I still highly recommend visiting this winery. Be sure to book a table in advance at one of the restaurants so you can enjoy a meal while here!! 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Oak Valley

Today we decided to spend the day in Elgin visiting wine estates. The first place we visited was Oak Valley Estate.

This estate is really beautiful!! As you walk up from the car park you take in the beautiful tall trees, pool and then walk in to the tasting room.

I found the service a little cold here, but it was fine nonetheless.

We thoroughly enjoyed the views from the tasting room and spent a lot of time taking photos

We tasted the Sauvignon Blanc 2011, it had intense aromas on the nose with white peach and fresh grass and same on the palate. It had a green taste including capsicum, lemon, lime, and granny smith apples.

We also got to try the 2010. It was not as intense on the nose, was very sharp with lime tones, I didn't like it.

Chardonnay 2012 had a nice light oak nose. It was smooth, round-mouthed, slight honey, granny smith apple on the palate, it was nice. It was a little zesty on the finish.

White Blend was 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon. This was also green in style, smooth, had hints of capsicum. It had a round mouth feel. I didn't like this wine, it was ok.

Rose was 100% Shiraz, it had a sweet strawberry nose, gorgeous cherry colour, smooth, not a fan of the taste.

Pinot Noir 2012 I liked the nose, there was a little mocha, blackcurrents, dark cherry. Little dry, stem taste, and oak. Medium body. I liked this wine!!

Merlot Cabernet has 56% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc. It was in oak barrels for 18 months,  It had a gorgeous strong fruity, dark berry nose. It was medium - heavy in body. Nice taninns. It had a nice taste, it was a bold wine. I liked this wine. It is ready to drink now.

Shiraz 2011 spent 12 months in barrels, only 10% new oak. It had a nice berry, fruity nose. It was a little dry, light-medium body, probably needs time, dark chocolate taste, I liked it, it was nice.

I recommend visiting this wine estate when you visit Elgin. It has a nice setting, location, wine tasting and the wine was good (sadly just a little pricy).