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.

Monday, 27 April 2015

De Grendel - second visit

Recently we went to De Grendel for a wine tasting as I thought it was time for a re-visit.

This is still a favourite wine estate of mine and I will gladly visit this winery again and again and again. The setting is beautiful from the moment you arrive at the gate. You drive up a long driveway lined with tall trees, and when you get to the cellar you are greeted with a modern and beautiful tasting room with beautiful views.

This winery has a cellar, tasting room and restaurant. The tasting room has outdoor and indoor seating with amazing views of table mountain in the not so far distance. It really is beautiful. The service is very good here, they are attentive and knowledgable about the wine, providing informative tastings.

There are two tasting options here. You can choose to taste all the wines for R50 or you can taste three wines for R20. Only there is one slight catch, if not all wines are available for tasting, you still pay the full amount. Also, if you want to taste the MCC Brut and/or the Chardonnay Op die Berg you pay an extra R20 for each wine.

I was impressed to see the length of their opening hours. It is great that you can come and do a tasting here up until 7pm Monday - Saturday. This is later than most wineries stay open until. Something to keep in mind when you are planning a day visiting wineries in Durbanville. Or even if you decide to visit wineries further afield, you can always come back via De Grendel to Cape Town, or finish here for dinner after a day visiting wineries.

Tasting hours:
Monday - Saturday 9am – 7pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm

They offer cheese and charcuterie platters at the tasting room. I have had the cheese platter on a previous visit, sharing with two others and felt it was really good value for money and delicious! These platters are R110 each.

Ok, so I decided to taste all the wines including the MCC Brut. For the record, I didn't find one wine which I didn't like! Across the board the De Grendel wines were very nice but it was the Merlot, NLH and Pinot Noir which caught my attention. Here are my tasting notes:

MCC Brut 2013 is R165 a bottle. It was nice, biscuity, complex yet approachable.

Pinot Gris 2014 is R75 a bottle. This was nice, light, had hints of apple and peaches.

Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is R80 a bottle. This had a beautiful nose, pleasant and typical fruit flavours for a SB, fair acidity, was elegant and smooth.

Unfortunately the Koetshuis SB 2014 was sold out so we couldn't taste this. It is R110 a bottle.

Viognier 2014 is R75 a bottle. This had a lovely floral nose, i particularly picked up violets in the bouquet. It was a pleasant tasting wine and had a good mouth feel.

Rose 2014 is R55 a bottle. This had a lovely aroma, was dry and fresh on the palate, and had black forest flavours.

Pinot Noir 2012 - Op Die Berg is R160 a bottle. This had a lovely nose with blackcurrants, berries and cherries. It was a nice Pinot Noir. This was my third favourite wine from this tasting.

Merlot 2013 is R110 a bottle. This was beautiful, elegant, soft and had lovely flavour. It had good tannin structure and had a little dry finish to it. This was my favourite from today's tasting, I was really impressed!!

Shiraz 2013 is R125 a bottle. It was herbacious and had licorice on the nose, smooth and spicy/peppery on the palate.

Last but not least we tasted the Noble Late Harvest 2014 at R110 a bottle. I am a sucker for dessert wines and this really impressed me! This NLH is made from Sauvignon Blanc. It had a sweet aroma of peach, orange rind and marmalade, with some lemon and olive notes also coming through on the nose. This was another favourite of mine from this tasting.

I can highly recommend visiting this estate, they have beautiful views, good service, great wine and apparently they have a really top restaurant! I still need to come and dine here to find out for myself.

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